UC Berkeley’s Office of Disability Access and Compliance, or ODAC, has been in service for one year as of January to meet the needs of the campus’s disabled community.
A campuswide email — co-signed by Vice Chancellor of Administration Marc Fisher and Ella Callow, Disability Access and Compliance director — was sent Feb. 12 to update the campus community on the ODAC’s first full year of operations.
“This is an exciting new phase for Berkeley, as we build on our rich history in disability access and compliance to become a place that truly invites every member of our community to participate fully in the campus experience,” Fisher and Callow said in the email.
The ODAC was created in 2018 to improve access and compliance resources in an effort to support disabled individuals on campus. Now, the ODAC is fully equipped to provide the community with physical environment programming, policy guidance and facilitated access to websites and electronics.
With the support of campus partners, the ODAC launched a new, up-to-date website, directed about $1 million toward increasing disability compliance in buildings and construction projects, provided American Sign Language and captioning services for campus events and advocated for important causes pertaining to the disability community on campus.
On Jan. 23, the ODAC launched Access 2020, a campus evaluation service mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act that oversees comprehensive audits to find deficits in UC Berkeley’s disability compliance. The audits will help guide the office to sustain disability compliance and inclusion on campus, according to the email.
Not all students are pleased with the work the office has done in its first year.
“I do think the work they’re doing is great,” said ASUC Senator Liam Will. “I do wish that for future changes, they would have more student input, especially since there’s other issues students are pushing for because for example, having a reduced course load limits students to be part of the dean’s honor roll.”
Will also said while he feels the office has done great work for the disabled community, there has been a small disconnect between students and staff and wants more communication between the two parties in the future.
The ODAC will initiate an events calendar in an effort to ensure that campus events will be accessible to the disabled community, as well as to determine ways the office can provide support, according to the email. Additionally, the office will start a lending library that will provide access to adaptive software and a website audit to help improve campus websites’ accessibility.
“With an inaugural year successfully completed, Access 2020 in full swing, and a carefully curated selection of new service offerings, ODAC is positioned to be an increasingly valuable resource for our campus community in the coming year,” Fisher and Callow said in the email.