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CAE to begin renovation aimed to create safe space for students with disabilities

The Center for Accessible Education will undergo renovations that are set to be done by the end of spring quarter at the latest to make the space more accessible with funds from the undergraduate student government and the office of Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Monroe Gorden Jr.. (Justin Jung/Daily Bruin)

By Justin Jung

Feb. 19, 2020 12:57 a.m.

The UCLA Center for Accessible Education will be renovated by the end of spring quarter, with the aim of creating a community space for students with disabilities.

The CAE helps students with qualifying disabilities acquire academic accommodations. These accommodations may include separate testing administered by a CAE proctor or breaks during exams. The CAE also facilitates note-taking services for students with disabilities, such as peer note sharing or electronic note taking. The planned renovation intends to expand the center to also serve as a community safe space for students with disabilities.

The Undergraduate Students Association Council and the office of Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Monroe Gorden Jr. will fund the renovations via a $30,000 allocation and $5,000 contribution, respectively.

Part of the USAC allocation, which is $8,000 more than the estimated renovation costs, will be set aside for a programming budget and a contingency fund for unforeseen costs, said USAC Facilities Commissioner and fourth-year political science student Lily Shaw. Some examples of potential costs may include equipment failures or additional taxes, Shaw said.

The funding will cover a number of renovations at the CAE. These include the replacement of carpet with wood floors, repainting the walls and new furniture compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, said Katie Sutton, a second-year psychology student and the lead project director and interior designer, in an emailed statement. The renovated CAE will supply snacks safe for students with diabetes as well as stress-relieving strategies for students who have anxiety, Sutton said.

“We will be using psychological research with respect to color, lighting, and spacing to increase productivity yet create a calming atmoshpere,” Sutton said.

The renovations are currently not set to interrupt CAE service and the center plans to operate normally, said Maria Blandizzi, dean of students and interim CAE director, in an emailed statement. This will be achieved by working around CAE hours and during spring break, and private discussions will remain in closed offices during the renovations, Sutton added.

Students with disabilities do not currently have a community space, Shaw said.

These renovations will create a safe community space for students with disabilities, said Sutton, who is also a staff member of the USAC Facilities Commission. The center will plan programs once the renovations are expected to be complete with hopes of bringing together students with disabilities, Sutton added.

“In the future, this will allow the CAE to provide even more service for those who use it because information will be organized so they can quickly and efficiently find what they need, and the psychological affects of the coloring and spacing will encourage productivity,” Sutton said.

Shaw also said the vacant CAE director role has made progress on the renovations difficult.

The previous director, Nickey Woods, transitioned to a new role as the assistant dean for diversity, inclusion and admissions in UCLA’s graduate division earlier this year. UCLA is preparing to launch a search for a new CAE director, Blandizzi said.

The renovations will help the center grow and become a resource for students with disabilities, Shaw said.

“We think this is a really great starting place,” Shaw said.

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Justin Jung | City and crime editor
Jung is the 2021-2022 assistant News editor for the city and crime beat and was previously the assistant Enterprise editor. He is also a photographer and Copy contributor for the Daily Bruin. Jung is a third-year global studies and geography student.
Jung is the 2021-2022 assistant News editor for the city and crime beat and was previously the assistant Enterprise editor. He is also a photographer and Copy contributor for the Daily Bruin. Jung is a third-year global studies and geography student.
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