About a year ago, when the Disability Services Program staff were beginning to realize that students were hesitating to seek their services because of the stigma of the word “disability” in the title, they decided to do something about it.
“We surveyed our students and asked them what name they would prefer and gave them the option of coming up with their own,” says Frances Moy, SAS Coordinator. “Then after taking into consideration their choices and our choices, we came up with Student Accessibility Services. It was focused on ‘students’ and indicated that anything they needed was ‘accessible’ to them.”
Frances and her staff were amazed at the result. “The response was overwhelming by both the Merritt community and the students,” she says. “One student said she was excited to hear about the change because she had been hesitant to say she received disability services in front of the class or even to her instructor.” Also, says Frances, the new name is the same as at Cal State East Bay and other colleges so it will be easy to find when students transfer.
Watch for the SAS pens and post-it note pads with the new name on it and also for the colorful new brochure available soon!