UC Berkeley named Ella Callow its new Americans with Disabilities Act/Section 504 compliance officer. Her first day was Oct. 17.
A press release from the office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration stated that the ADA/Section 504 compliance officer works with campus administration to ensure that UC Berkeley acts in compliance with state, federal and university disability laws and procedures. They also act as a resource to those who believe they are not receiving appropriate accommodations for their disability or feel they are being treated in a discriminatory manner, according to the UC Berkeley Compliance Services website.
Callow is a UC Berkeley alumna. She received her bachelor’s degree in Native American studies and social welfare and her law degree from Berkeley Law. Callow came to the job of ADA/Section 504 compliance officer with more than 10 years of experience, which has included time as a litigation consultant for the Disability Rights Section in the U.S. Department of Justice and as the disability services specialist for the city of Berkeley.
“I can speak the language of compliance and access, and I’m also schooled in Bay Area disabilities policy,” Callow said. “I understand the value of disability in my own life and in others’.”
Callow added that she thinks the job is a “perfect fit” for her.
For Callow, her new role is a social justice endeavor, putting her in a position to improve diversity and equity by encouraging inclusion for those with disabilities.
“I went to school here, and I know that as a campus community, we embrace diversity,” Callow said. “And I want to reinforce a cultural truth that disability is another type of diversity. Achieving this does not have to be a mysterious process.”
Callow said she will achieve this by introducing and supporting specific actions that offer better training and improve the responsiveness of campus programs to individuals who need support. She added that she wants to work to facilitate collaboration between the campus community and her office.
According to Callow, the commitment to diversity and inclusion she has witnessed at UC Berkeley is one of its greatest strengths and will drive her to work as hard as she can to live up to those standards and continue the legacy set before her.
“A challenge is that it’s such a unique place with such a unique history around disability and education,” Callow said. “You’re not held to any standard but your own, and here, that’s a very high standard.”