I'm pasting a Letter to the Editor that Nick Holzthum, Steve Kuusisto, and I composed to submit to the Daily Orange below. Please comment if you're interested in adding your name to the list of signers. Also, I'm of course interested in hearing any feedback you might have. Thanks!
"As a result of THE General Body’s activism last fall, particularly the student occupation of Crouse-Hinds Hall, the University is currently in the midst of a search for an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) coordinator. The ADA Coordinator is responsible for ensuring compliance with the law and, perhaps more importantly, for ensuring that the appropriate structures and processes are in place to foster a climate of inclusivity for students, staff, and faculty with diverse abilities on campus. The final three candidates have now been announced, and we want to insist on the importance and significance of hiring a candidate who identifies as disabled.
We are not making an essentialist claim that because someone has a disability he or she is necessarily more qualified than a non-disabled candidate. However, hiring a disabled ADA coordinator would undoubtedly make a powerful and influential statement about the University’s commitment to combatting the structural oppression of individuals with disabilities. The unemployment rate of highly qualified, readily employable people with disabilities is 60-90 percent. Thus, there are indisputably people with disabilities who are qualified to fill the position of ADA coordinator. We feel the University has a responsibility to seek out those candidates and to make it clear to qualified people with disabilities that SU is invested in fighting ableism not just with words but through action.
Furthermore, we believe a disabled ADA coordinator would be more inclined to connect with students, faculty, and staff who have disabilities. We strongly believe an ADA Coordinator with a disability will prove better suited to find culturally appropriate and informed solutions to obstacles faced by disabled members of the Syracuse University community than a candidate who has not personally experienced disability-based discrimination."