Campus resources provide support to students
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 12:09
Student fees and tuition cover a variety of resources on campus to encourage involvement and academic success. From study tips and free math tutoring to advocate programs for students with disabilities, Utah State University offers help to all students who seek it.
The Disability Resource Center is located in Room 103 of the University Inn and serves 900 students as of this semester. The center helps students with documented disabilities with their classes.
“We are here to make sure students with disabilities have equal access to their education,” said Diane Baum, director of the DRC.
Baum has worked for the university in the DRC for 31 years, and said she’s seen the center grow from assisting 47 students who were deaf or hard of hearing to currently working with the 900 who are enrolled.
In 1981, when Baum first arrived at Utah State University, her budget for giving services was $13,000, which was the same as her salary as a half-time worker for the school year. Since then she has lobbied and worked with other schools to receive funding for the program. Most of the money to support the DRC comes from the state legislature, with a small portion coming from the computer fees on campus. All services are available to students with disabilities.
“It’s against the law to make students with disabilities pay for our services,” she said. “Everyone uses the computer labs on campus, and we have a computer lab with specific technology for students with disabilities.”
The DRC serves students with any sort of documented disability, including mental illnesses, learning disabilities, sensory impairments such as low vision, blindness and hearing loss, physical limitations such as back injuries, medical conditions such as diabetes, organ transplants and multiple sclerosis.
Baum said students with disabilities need to fill out an application and make an appointment to meet with a staff member.
“We have them meet with someone so we can understand the resources they’ll need,” she said.
The DRC is currently functioning because of governmental mandates and programs, Baum said. In 1973, legislation was put into effect which set an expectation for colleges and universities to provide equal access to all students.
“I got here in ‘81, and we survived on donations and money from the state,” Baum said.
When the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, higher standards were set for higher education institutions.