Student Disability Services changes name, moves to DeWeese Health Center

Matthew White

Student Disability Services has a new name and a new home.

Once housed in the Michael Swartz Center, the department, now called Student Accessibility Services, has been moved to the DeWeese Health Center.

Mollie Miller, adaptive technology coordinator for SAS, said the name change was made to reflect the real function of the SAS office.

“Student Accessibility is, and always has been, about access,” she said.

Miller said the change in location was a logical move.

“Mary Reeves, who became our director at the beginning of Fall Semester 2005, is also the director of the University Health Services,” she said. “Moving to the DeWeese Health Center made sense so that both departments would be easily accessible to her.”

Miller added that moving to the DeWeese Health Center would allow for more space to serve students, something SAS desperately needed.

Erin Royse, senior deaf education major, said she visits the office at the beginning of each semester to receive an accommodation letter for her professors, so they know what her needs are and how to meet them.

Royse said she appreciates the new office.

“I love the new office, not only because of the space within, but because of its location. Being a student that lives on campus, I prefer to have SAS’s office near the dorms, versus across campus and out of the way.”

The name “Student Disability Services” never really bothered her, Royse said.

“When the name change happened, I started to think about it and realized that the new name was much more politically correct,” she said. “Yes, I have a hearing loss, but that doesn’t stop me from accomplishing day-to-day activities. It’s nice to know there’s a service on campus to help me access a better education.”

Royse had a number of ideas to make the campus more deaf-friendly, such as providing interpreters at campus-wide events, offering a class about deaf culture for non-major students, having a deaf awareness day and making sure interpreters are capable of matching the deaf student’s language abilities.

Miller said new services would be offered in both the spring and fall semesters.

“As a result of our move to the DeWeese Health Center, we will have an adaptive technology lab that will be fully functional within a couple of weeks,” she said.

Additionally, Miller mentioned SAS will be piloting a peer-mentoring program in the spring.

“We want to make sure our students are aware of new and existing technologies that could enhance their academic progress,” Miller said about the new lab. “In addition, we are in the discussion stages of collaborating with other departments on campus to improve services offered to our students, but it is too early to detail the possible outcomes of these discussions.”

Miller said her goals for this academic year include analyzing SAS’s current services, improving the services as they gain information from surveys, communicating with students through a Web site,, and educating students on new and existing technologies.

Contact student affairs reporter Matthew White at [email protected].