Disability Awareness Month at UC Berkeley

Dear Campus Community, 

Nationally, it is Disabled Empowerment in Higher Education Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month. College campus communities are welcomed to join daily events - chats, talks, workshops, and ‘bonus events’ on everything related to disability and the higher education experience. A screen-reader calendar in long-form has a listing of all the DEHEM events and you can search Twitter for events using #DisabledInHigherEd. The Division of Equity & Inclusion is celebrating disability this month, with disabled student features, stories, information, and events on the Diversity webpageAt the state level, we are celebrating the passage of Senator Maria Durazo’s SB 639. This law, co-sponsored by Disability Rights California, will phase out subminimum wage employment for disabled Californians. Locally, Berkeley alumnus Dr. Joshua A. Miele has won a MacArthur Foundation fellowship for his “pragmatic inventions that help Blind people navigate the physical and digital world.” Blind since the age of four, Dr. Miele stated in an interview with Berkeleyside that “I am incredibly proud to be part of a long legacy of blind leaders who come from and call Berkeley their home...Berkeley is the city of the blind.”

The UCB Disability Community is Growing

Thirty percent of campus now report having a disability. More than 8,100 students report having a disability, though only half as many have registered with our Disabled Students’ Program to receive educational accommodations in their academic program. Of these registered DSP students, over one-third (35%) are BIPOC, despite this group making up only 22% of the student population.

Remote Learning and Teaching in the return to Campus

We have received numerous questions regarding people with disabilities and remote learning and working. The above link will take you to general information about your right to request remote working or learning as a disability accommodation. If you believe your rights have been violated, you may file an ‘issue of concern’ or a formal grievance with the Office of Disability Access & Compliance

You can also see numbers related to requests for remote learning and outcomes. 

Campus and UC System Developments

Disability Community Cultural Center. The center opening was delayed by COVID-19, but will now take place this winter with a grand opening event in the Spring. The director of the center is Ann Wai-Yee Kwong.

Emergency Evacuation Planning for DSP Students. Request a planning consult via access@berkeley.edu. For those who would like to work on emergency evacuation planning on their own, please feel free to access our document entitled UC Berkeley Emergency Planning & Evacuation for Disabled People

UCOP Systemwide Advisory Work Group on Students with Disabilities. UCOP is forming this entity to review existing system-wide policies and practices, and the lived experience of UC disabled students.

Disability Awareness Month Events on Campus

The Association for Disability Awareness, Disabled Students’ Program, and Office for Disability Access & Compliance are hosting several events during October. Keep checking our growing roster of events, continually updated, on the Program Events Calendar


Dania Matos
Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion

Marc Fisher
Vice Chancellor for Administration

Ella Callow 
Director, Office of Disability Access & Compliance; ADA/ Section 504 Compliance Officer

Karen Nielson
Executive Director, Disabled Students Program