ASD members consider a split

By Melanie Klein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 17, 1996

It has been six days since the controversial approval of the director of ASUA's disability advocacy group, and as of yet, members have not met their new director.

The Undergraduate Senate unanimously approved Ann Fowler, psychology sophomore, as the director of the Association of Students with Disabilities at Wednesday's meeting.

As of yesterday afternoon, neither members of the organization nor Fowler had spoken to or attempted to make contact with each other.

"Ann has yet to contact me or other disabled students or even come into CeDRR," said Brian McCracken, family studies sophomore and former ASD director. CeDRR, the Center for Disability Related Resources, provides accommodations for 1,088 UA students.

John Olson, graduate student in computer engineering and former ASD assistant director, added, "I would have hoped she would have contacted someone by now; that is one of the responsibilities of the director."

Fowler said she plans to contact the former director and assistant director of ASD by the end of the week.

"I think it is important to get to know the members of ASD and to extend the olive branch," she said.

In response to the delay of contacting members early on, she said she was and is planning a budget for the organization and is searching out ASUA resources that can be used to benefit the organization.

"I would first like to get on a personal level with the members and find out what they accomplished last year and things they did not accomplish that they wanted to," Fowler said.

Olson said, "I would like to see what she has to say and hear her ideas. I think that would be the right thing to do."

Fowler said her goal for the disabled community on campus is to become integrated, not segregated.

ASD members, however, are looking at the possibility of creating another disabled students' organization.

Olson said the ASD is meeting either Thursday or Friday to discuss whether current members want to form a separate organization or make peace with the current one.

McCracken said, "We are not trying to make war within the disabled community, but we're not going to let anyone walk in and take over."

Olson said, "We are frustrated with ASUA's actions. We have nothing against her (Fowler)."

Olson added that he could not speak for the whole organization, but he personally would be willing to forgo ASUA funding to have the director that ASD members recommended.

Both Olson and McCracken, among other ASD members, recommended Eric Olson, an optical engineering sophomore, be the director.

Mindy McCollum, ASUA vice president of programs and services, said, "As a club, ASD will not have the same kind of recognition as an ASUA organization with a director."

ASD members disapproved of Fowler's appointment as director because she had not been a member of the organization. There were also concerns about that fact that she has only recently been disabled.

McCollum said she recommended Fowler because she had new and creative ideas for the organization. She also said she was concerned with the way ASD spent its budget last year.

McCollum said they spent $690 on food, while ASD's members insisted it was was only about half that figure.

Fowler, who lost the use of her legs in a car accident a year and a half ago, said, "I'm not taking this personally. I have no problems working with them (ASD members)."

She said she is not going to let this discourage her. "Christopher Reeve is a newly-disabled person, and no one told him to stay at home because he was too new at this.

"Look at what I have been through already in my life. There is nothing that I can't take on," she said.

"I think it is important to get to know the members of ASD and to extend the olive branch.

Ann Fowler

psychology sophomore and newly-appointed director of the Association of Students with Disabilities

"The director's job is not to plan parties. If they want to separate from ASUA, student fee money will no longer fund them."

Mindy McCollum

Associated Students vice president for programs and Services

"We are not trying to make war within the disabled community, but we are not going to let people walk in and take over."

Brian McCracken

family studies sophomore and former director of the Association of Students with Disabilities