Disability Services relocates and welcomes a new director

By Savannah Lewis

Over the summer, the Office of Disability Services (ODS) experienced two major changes — a new location and a new director.

ODS has moved locations from the first floor of Berkman Hall to Rhodes West 210.

 Emails were sent out by ODS to the 832 students who are currently utilizing the services, including students enrolled in partnership programs like Lakeland and Lorain Community Colleges, according to Grace Clifford, the new director. They have also informed the faculty who have worked with them previously. 

“If they are an instructor that we have worked with before, we have sent out email communications that way,” Clifford said. “At pretty much all the orientation events, ASC 101 events we went to, the first thing I talked about was ‘hey, we’re moving,’ or once we did move, ‘we moved.’”

However, most of the faculty and student body were not informed by ODS themselves. It was Career Services that sent out the exact same email on Aug. 20, Aug. 23 and Aug. 27 welcoming ODS as their new neighbor.  

The Cauldron conducted a poll including one question intended to see if students were aware of the change. Out of 57 students, seven were able to correctly identify where ODS is currently located. 

“Even though they sent 100 emails, I have no idea,” stated one of the students who took the poll, in response to the question about the office’s location. 

While there were some students who were able to name the new location of ODS in the poll, less than half of the students who filled it out could explain where Rhodes West was located. 

Along with students, some professors are not aware of the change. Students have noticed that some of the syllabi that they have received have the old location of the office listed. Students have also reported professors explicitly saying the incorrect location. 

While Clifford did address informing students who currently use ODS, she did not explain how they plan to let students who may not currently utilize the services know of the changes. 

With the change, there is concern from some that it may not be the most accessible location.

However, Clifford currently doesn’t see the location change as an issue to accessibility. 

“One of the things I was looking at was it would be important to know if there were accessibility issues even if we hadn’t moved, because testing services provides testing for students with disabilities who are registered with ODS,” Clifford said. “So if there is a mobility impairment that can’t get to testing services, that’s just as much of an issue as if they couldn’t have gotten to disability services.” 

Clifford has taken on the director position for ODS as well as testing services. Prior to this position, Clifford worked as the associate director of disability services at Case Western Reserve University for six years. She took an interest in the position due to prior connections to Cleveland State.

“Most of my family are actually Cleveland State alumni.” Clifford explained. “My parents met carpooling here, so I’ve been familiar with the institution and the work it’s done for a number of years.” 

One of Clifford’s goals as the new director is to help reduce the stress on students as well as faculty. 

“I want to make sure the right information is getting out there and that individuals feel like it is a straightforward process to connect with office to register and see us as a resource,” Clifford said.