Baruch can do more for students with disabilities

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Amanda Salazar

In general, it’s not uncommon for CUNY to attempt to do something good for its students and then come up short of what they promised.

However, in the case of representing their disabled students, CUNY is definitely trying, and they’re not doing poorly, but there’s more that can be done.

Every CUNY school has an Office of Disability Services that works to accommodate and support disabled students both academically and career-wise. All campuses have wheelchair and walker accessible entrances and CUNY oversees a few programs created specifically to aid disabled students.

CUNY Leads and Project REACH provide support to “neurodiverse” students and try to better the campus and academic experiences of these students as a whole1, while CUNY Assistive Technology Services supplies disabled students with the technologies they may need to succeed, such as a tactile text to braille convertor.

“CUNY is deeply committed to ensuring equal access and opportunity for students with disabilities through innovative support programs, grounded in nationally regarded best practices in postsecondary disability services which support the academic success and personal development of students with disabilities,” as stated on the Disability Services page of CUNY’s website. 

Additionally, campus Offices of Services for Students with Disabilities are voter registration sites, where students can receive information on and register to vote.

While this all is great and absolutely imperative to students’ success in college, support for disabled students can be taken ever further.

One school did exactly that — Hostos Community College in the Bronx. 

Hostos is the only CUNY to have a wheelchair basketball team, which allows their physically-disabled students to participate in a team sport that they would have otherwise been barred from joining.

It was headed up by student Destini Mitchell-Murray, who uses a wheelchair due to a car accident she was in as a child, Stephanie Cabán-González, the president of the CUNY Coalition for Students with Disabilities
at Hostos and Raymond Pérez, the college’s Accessibility Resource Center director.

The coach is former National Wheelchair Basketball Association player Ryan Martin, who uses a wheelchair due to his spina bifida.

This is a great opportunity for the students of Hostos, and it would be beneficial for more disability-inclusive teams to be formed on CUNY campuses, including Baruch College. 

Students who previously would not have been allowed to do anything more than just practice with students of the school’s official team can now have a team all for themselves and play competitively.

“Hostos was instrumental in launching the vision of a wheelchair basketball program with the first clinic held in August of 2018,” Martin was quoted as saying in a CUNY article.