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MIT Creates Ad Hoc Committee to Address Compliance with ADA

By Daniel C. Stevenson
News Editor

Director of Special Services Stephen D. Immerman has formed an ad hoc committee to design and implement a strategy to improve MIT's services for disabled persons.

The committee will probably recommend the formation of an Institute oversight committee to be responsible for all disabilities-related priorities, Immerman said. The committee members, who will be "broadly representative of the community," will probably be appointed by President Charles M. Vest, Immerman said.

The committee is also working to develop a job description for a disabilities services coordinator, Immerman said.

The committee, which was planned over the summer, will work specifically to comply with the provisions of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

In a March letter to Senior Vice President William R. Dickson '56, former Undergraduate Association Vice President Anne S. Tsao '94 said that the disability services at MIT may not be in compliance with the ADA ["Institute Is Failing to Comply with Federal Disability Rules," Apr. 8].

A search committee to fill the coordinator position will probably be created by the end of the month, Immerman said. Dickson and Vice President for Human Resources Joan F. Rice must first approve the creation of the new position, he said.

At least one student will be on the search committee, Immerman said. "We expect the coordinator to be significantly involved in student issues."

Another committee project is a database to match providers of services with disabled persons who need the services, Immerman said.

Work continues on buildings

Access-related construction projects began over the summer, including a new ramp in Building 14, eight new elevator cabs, entrance modifications, and telephone booth and bathroom modifications in the "main group" of buildings, according to Roy E. Ward, ADA projects coordinator for Physical Plant. The main group is comprised of Buildings 1 to 14.

Currently, the Institute is "in the process of replacing the door hardware on all of the entry doors to Athena clusters and administrative offices" in high traffic areas in the main group, Ward wrote in a Physical Plant document.

The changes include "replacing knob hardware with lever hardware, providing door closers with reduced resistance to allow easier opening, and lowering the computer keyboards to a height accessible to a person in a wheelchair," Ward said.