I am writing in response to the Oct. 22 story published in The Daily Californian, “Shutdown of Recreational Sports Facility’s No Limits program leaves disabled students with ‘new limits.’ ”
Providing recreational sports opportunities to all of our students is of paramount importance to our mission, and this absolutely includes students with disabilities. We have been disappointed to see several inaccuracies in The Daily Californian’s coverage, including the misconception that the former No Limits, or NL, program was somehow intentionally “shut down.”
As we shared with the story authors, the Wellness Fund only provided seed money for NL, but not for continued operations. It’s important to recognize that in fall 2018, after the initial one-year NL grant funding concluded and was replaced with the two-year Inclusive Recreation program grant funding, which concluded in 2019, we pursued the Fitness and Wellness Opportunity Fund, or FWOF. This fund provides programs and services to students with disabilities, which is why we pivoted this year to a focus on FWOF services.
It was also disheartening to see recreational sports portrayed as not providing continued services for students with disabilities. While FWOF differs from its NL predecessor, FWOF still offers specialized personal training for students with disabilities. That commitment has never changed. The grant funding for the FWOF ensures that our programs and activities are accessible to students, including those with disabilities. Specifically, FWOF enables all students an opportunity to participate in recreational sports fee-based programs or activities at no cost, which could include personal training sessions for a student with disabilities. Recreational sports is committed to working with students with disabilities to offset barriers to their participation in our programs.
We have proactively outreached to students with disabilities, as well as other underserved communities, to raise awareness of FWOF. Unfortunately, there is a website quoted in your story — created by a former NL trainer — containing inaccurate and misleading information. This is not an official campus website, nor does it speak for our Recreational Sports programs. We strongly advise students with disabilities to reach out to Rec Sports directly, as we can provide accurate information and, most importantly, help students receive fee offsets and access our many opportunities.
As we move forward, we are excited to announce that we submitted a grant proposal to the Wellness Fund Committee for an Inclusive Recreation program that, if approved and funded, will allow us to further develop and expand accessible programming for students with disabilities, including fully covered (i.e., no fees, free to student) personal training very similar to the former NL program. We welcome student advocacy and support for this grant proposal so that Rec Sports may continue to provide fully covered personal training for students with disabilities in the coming year.
Brigitte Lossing is the director of recreational sports at UC Berkeley.