From that time, we jump the story forward to the 1970s. Unfortunately, little documentation exists in University Archives to shed light on any policy changes or accommodations for special needs that may have existed in the in-between years.
|UNCG Disabilities Student Services |
These regulations became effective in 1977, and colleges and universities were provided with a compliance schedule that they had to prove they were meeting. Immediate compliance in terms of accessibility to programming was required. In response, Chancellor Ferguson named the Vice Chancellor for Administration – Charles D. Hounshell – as UNCG’s compliance officer, making him responsible for facilitating the school’s compliance with the Federal Rehabilitation Act. Soon thereafter, the University complied with another required part of the implementation of the law by issuing a memorandum to all faculty, staff, and students regarding the institution’s commitment to non-discrimination. The memo read: "The University of North Carolina at Greensboro reaffirms its policy not to discriminate on the basis of handicap in the programs or activities which it operates."
Accessibility of course content was a key component of compliance that had to be met by the start of the 1977-1978 school year. The law required schools to make reasonable accommodations to facilitate studying, working, and living activities on campus so that all people can participate in them fully. A 1979 brochure focused on "Services for Students with Special Needs" listed a number of campus services available to provide "equal opportunities for academic achievement to all students." Included is mention of "special services and equipment" available in Jackson Library, a "reader service" for visually impaired students, and "interpreting services" for hearing-impaired students..
Administrators also began examining physical accessibility on campus. In September 1977, Facilities Services requested an allocation of the capital improvement funds for the year to assist in the "removal of barriers for handicapped people." Major issues existed on campus that limited access to key services. Offices such as Academic Advising, Adult Student Services, the Cashier’s Office, and many campus administrators were located in a building which had "very deficient access to many handicapped people and no access for people in wheelchairs." This funding was key in order to comply with another aspect of the Federal Rehabilitation Act, which stated that, by June 1980, "reasonable" accommodations must be made to structures to ensure access to classrooms, dormitories, dining areas, student services offices, and other key areas of the university.
|Dr. Diane Cooper|
In 2013, the Office of Disability Services received approval for a name change to the Office of Accessibility Resources and Services (OARS). OARS continues to "provide, coordinate, and advocate for services which enable undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities to receive equal access to a college education and to all aspects of university life." In addition to providing adaptive technology, interpreter, note taker, alternative testing, and other services, OARS staff members work to broaden "disability awareness within the university community."