The Faculty Coalition for Disability Rights at UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Chancellor’s response to Parent Coalition Letter

UC Berkeley Chancellor Dirks and Vice-Chancellor Nasir wrote a response to the Parent Coalition letter regarding the DSRP closure.

chancellor-vc-nasir-response-letter-to-ucb-parent-coalition-for-student-disability-rights-10-18-16

 

 


Text of letter as extracted from PDF enclosed below.

 

Nicholas B. Dirks

C 11ANCEI. LOR

P1!01’llSSOR 01′ I I!S’I’Ol!Y

PROl’RSSOI! OF

A NTIII!OI’OI .OGY

Dear UC Berkeley Parent Coalition for Student Disability Rights:

200 Cali fornia I I all :ft15oo

13crkclcy, CA 94720 1500

510 642-7464

510 643-5499 FAX

chanccllor@bc rkclcy.cdu

October 18, 2016

Thank you for sharing your concerns about the announcement of the discontinuation of the WAIV

program. Unfortunately, media reports on the subject have contained incomplete and, in some cases,

incorrect information about the scope of disability services that the campus has offered in the past and

will continue to offer in the future. We regret the confusion and concerns generated by recent coverage

and write now to provide you with comprehensive, factual information.

Here is a summary of the situation:

The Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) contract, signed in Fall 2015, specified the types of services and

the duration of the services that were to be provided to clients, including our students who were served

by the program. The Personal Vocational Social Adjustment (PVSA) services prescribed by the

DOR/Workability IV- or WAIV – contract were limited to providing short-term skills training, including

workplace interactions, information on how to request job accommodations, and self-advocacy skills.

DOR counselors had to provide written authorization for each training, and the trainings were limited to

one to four months. This program was serving only about 60 disabled students- about three percent of

the total disabled student population.

This work had been funded through a federal matching grant. The Campus determined that the recent

changes in federal regulations and the limitations of the grant were no longer in alignment with the

growth of our campus’ disability population and the range of disability needs. However, the campus fully

recognizes the value of these services, and is therefore developing a more robust program that is capable

of delivering these and many other services for an increased number of students with disabilities.

Specifically, the new Disabled Student Program (DSP) Director and the Vice Chancellor for Equity and

Inclusion are re-envisioning the DSP service model to meet students’ needs for more dynamic and

efficient services. This new service model includes:

• The assignment of a DSP specialist, who has experience and training in working with students on

the autism spectrum and others who need support, to immediately begin providing support and

services to those 60 students who were PVSA clients. This specialist will continue the weekly

social skills group and offer workshops on self-advocacy, self-care, professional etiquette and

attire, and more;

• Hiring a new career services professional who is also a disability specialist. This new professional

will work in Career Services office and will provide related employment skills training to Disabled

Students Program (DSP) students, including those who were served under WAIV. We intend to

have this position filled by January 2017;

• Working with the Center for Independent Living to provide services for DSP students on campus

including independent living skills and travel training;

• Providing assistive technology consults to students who would like to use this service as a part of

their disability management. DSP also has a new grant to conduct outreach to newly admitted

students to help them connect sooner with DSP services and staff;

• Engaging a national consultant from College Autism Spectrum to provide training to staff, evaluate

our current services and offer guidance in the creation and implementation of other services that

might be needed.

Next fall, as a part of the New Student Orientation, DSP will offer an orientation specifically geared to help

students with disabilities transition into the Cal environment. The orientation will include connecting

students to community and government resources to help them successfully transition to university life

and highlight instruction on self-advocacy and working with professors.

We are proud that the Disability Rights Movement was born and cultivated here in the city of Berkeley

and on the Cal Campus. We are committed to continuing our legacy of recognizing disability as an

important dimension of diversity, empowering our students with disabilities, and serving them in greater

and more effective ways.

We believe strongly that your demands will be represented in the new model of planned services.

Karen Nielson, the new DSP Director, is available to talk about these services and she welcomes your

feedback and partnership as we move forward to break new ground for persons with disabilities at

Berkeley.

Na’ilah asir

Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion

Cc: Carol Christ, Interim Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost

Nils Gilman, Associate Chancellor and Chief of Staff to the Chancellor

Khira Griscavage, Associate Chancellor and Campus Chief Ethics, Risk & Compliance Officer

Mia Settles-Tidwell, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion

Fabrizio Meijia, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Equity & Success

Karen Nakumura, Robert & Colleen Haas Distinguished Chair of Disability Studies & Professor of

Anthropology

Karen Nielson, Director of Disabled Students Program

Derek Coates, Disability Compliance Officer