Physical education professor calls for disability student advocacy group

Published by adviser, Author: Kevin Squires - Assistant News Editor, Date: November 14, 2013
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Students with disabilities are not getting all the help they need at Slippery Rock University. At least they aren’t according to Dr. Marybeth Miller, 59, associate professor of physical education and member of the President’s Commission for Disability Issues. Miller called for the formation of student-run advocacy group for students with disabilities on campus during the Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SGA) during their regular senate meeting Monday. The meeting was called to order at 8:55 p.m.

“What we, what Slippery Rock does not have that I think is part of the equation is a student run, student supported group,” Miller said. She explained that there is only so much the faculty and staff can provide, explaining that in a meeting of the President’s Commission for Disability Issues last spring, it was discussed that those students who identified as having disabilities felt isolated and that they did not have support beyond the Office of Students with Disabilities.

“Who do people your age listen to the most? Your peers. So you advocate, you empower each other and you help those, even by support, that may need support,” Miller said. “I think there is a need here in Slippery Rock.”

Miller implored that the senate become active in the formation of an advocacy group and requested that anyone interested in starting a task contact her. She also stated that in the works will be a day-long expo symposium on disability next fall and expressed interest in the involvement in the commission’s involvement for the leadership conference SGA is planning for the spring.

In other news, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was approved to be sent to the Council of Trustees for final approval at their meeting on Dec. 13.

“This MOU will document the relationship between the University and the Student Government Association and it will represent the complete agreement between the parties, superseding any prior written or oral agreement,” Wendy Leitera, SGA Inc. Business Manager, explained. The MOU spells out exactly what roles Student Government Association has in regards to the University and what the University’s roles are for the Student Government Association.

“The way that we conduct our business will not change. It’s just documenting the relationship that already exists between the University and the Student Government Association,” Leitera said.

The one point of interest Leitera felt needed discussed with regards to the MOU was that any lawsuit brought on the University as a result of an SGA event would hold SGA legally responsible for defending the University.

“We do have insurance for this purpose. There is no reciprocation from the University,” Leitera said. “There may be things that we’re not a hundred percent satisfied within this document; however it is a good sound document.”

The SRU Longboard Association was approved as a recognized group.

Vanessa Dufford was elected to the position of commuter senator and Matthew Scott was named “liter” of the week for his constant enthusiasm and attendance at so many SGA events. The “liter” of the week receives a decorative water bottle from the executive board in recognition of their contribution to the Student Government Association.

Finally, in an unexpected twist, President Clements gave the Pepé le Plank award to SGA Advisor Brad Kovaleski. The plank is normally awarded to a student senator. Clements recognized Kovaleski for his willingness to take on the responsibilities associated with his position as SGA Advisor and for his help solving problems. “Thank you very much for this high offer. I appreciate it,” Kovaleski said.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:03 p.m. The next meeting will take place in the theater of the Robert M. Smith Student Center on Nov. 25 at 8:45 p.m.

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