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Editorial: Disabled students deserve real ASUA support

Arizona Daily Wildcat,
February 22, 2000
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In ASUA amendment to account for students with disabilities at student government-funded events actually does little to benefit handicapped students.

The amendment to ASUA bylaws passed unanimously Wednesday and will take effect on April 1, 2000. It states that clubs must try to accommodate all UA students regardless of age, sex, gender orientation, religious or political association, or disability.

According to ASUA Executive Vice President Ben Graff, the amendment is "only for awareness." Clubs will not be denied funding if they do not accomodate all handicapped students.

But an amendment that merely promotes "awareness" and actually accomplishes little is essentially useless. Some ASUA senators were concerned that clubs would be denied funding when in reality it is not practical for them to accomodate the handicapped at their events.

Initially the amendment was presented as a strict addition to the bylaws. It would require a club to prove to the ASUA Appropriations Board officials that it is doing everything it can to include the handicapped.

After senators expressed concern over certain clubs being unfairly denied funding, Graff made clear that the amendment is intended to merely make clubs "aware" that they ought to be accommodating the handicapped.

The amendment says clubs ought to "strive" to do everything they can to accommodate handicapped students.

Such an amendment does nothing except elucidate the fact that society ought to do more to include the handicapped. ASUA does not have to pass an amendment to make this clear.

Instead, ASUA ought to distinctly state that campus organizations that can help the handicapped must do so in order to ensure funding from ASUA, and those who clearly cannot, namely athletic organizations, should not have to.

It ought to be sure to carefully explain and present valid proof as to why any club should not have to include the handicapped.

Organizations who can accommodate handicapped students do have a responsibility to do so. In fact, it should not even have to be addressed by ASUA for campus groups to do this. However, clubs are more likely to include the handicapped if ASUA funding requires them to.

If ASUA wants to productively benefit handicapped students on the UA campus, it will pass a proactive amendment that does more than state the obvious.

As Graff stated, "I have no intention in making things harder for the clubs," Graff said. "I only want to make things fair for the entire student body."

The best way to make everything fair for the entire student body is not merely to require clubs to be "aware" of their reponsibility to include the handicapped, but to require clubs to act on this responsibility by making their ASUA funding depend on it.

If ASUA truly wants things to be fair for the entire student body, it will pass an amendment that actually accomplishes something.

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