The Access Center recognizes that it is important, now more than ever, to outwardly and tangibly show our commitment to WSU students. Words of solidarity are not enough. Action is needed, and we are committed to ensuring that we are an office that serves all students with disabilities, and especially those who identify as students of color and other marginalized identities.
We take this time to recognize that despite the fact we are an office that values and prioritizes diversity in the work we do to ensure students with disabilities have an equal opportunity at WSU, we are no less likely to unknowingly perpetuate bias in our efforts as any office with similar goals. To address this, our staff have been meeting to reflect on how we can respond in a way that is meaningful.
To this end, we have tasked ourselves to research common areas of bias in disability service offices regarding race and other marginalized identities. A complete review of our policies with respect to this research will be undertaken and potential changes put forth. We will then invite our students of color and other marginalized identities to engage in a collaborative discussion to review what we have found and our proposed solutions. We hope they will assist us in identifying areas we may have missed in our initial review. Our intent is not to place on them the unreasonable expectation of speaking for their identity group, but to gain their input on our proposals to address these barriers.
We hope to begin a series of productive meetings with WSU students of color and other identities throughout the 2020-2021 year, with the intention of drafting and implementing changes to our policies.
We are also committed to reviewing our office operations every year in partnership with the WSU student body. Inclusion is not something you do once but is an ongoing effort that requires intention and mindfulness year-round. We will post our progress toward these initiatives on the Access Center website.
If you have any suggestions on where we should first focus our efforts or wish to participate in our initial review -- whether you are a student, staff, instructor, or community member -- please contact us. We welcome your assistance and support.