Disability and Citizenship | Higher Education and Closing Remarks || Radcliffe Institute

Disability and Citizenship | Higher Education and Closing Remarks || Radcliffe Institute


– Good morning. We have a wonderful panel for
you now on inclusive education. Your program indicates
inclusive higher education, but we’ve expanded a little bit. We’re also going to change
the format a little bit. We will begin with
Gopal Mitra from UNICEF. And all the biographies
are in your books, and so I won’t spend
time elaborating on them. But we’ll begin with Gopal,
who works with UNICEF, and specializes in refugee
children and other children in areas of post-conflict
and at-risk. We’ll then move along the
timeline to Andy Imparato. And Andy is with the Association
of University Centers on Disabilities. Although I still remember you
from AAPD, and the EOC, and et cetera. And Andy will talk about
college and university level. And then we’ll move
on to Lisa Iezzoni, who has been one of the
pioneering women and persons with disabilities in the medical
school and medical profession, and whose research often looks
at the role of caregivers and medical professionals
with disabilities. Following, their
talks of 15 minutes each, we will open up
the forum for questions because you’ve
been very patient. And well we’d like to do is
take several short questions– not elaborations or comments,
but short questions from you– two, three, four,
something like that. And we’ll have the
panel members respond to whatever various
aspects of those questions they feel suitable. So thank you for joining us. We decided to aim this
panel on education because typically when you
work with disabled people’s organizations and policymakers,
when we think about what it means to have citizenship,
they talk about education, and education as an opportunity. And that is not unique to
the disability community. Those of us who are
children of immigrants surely heard that the
rest of our lives. And the great Judith Shklar,
who wrote about citizenship, said it had to do with
education, employment, and voting. So we’re focusing
on the education. And as we go down the
timeline, beginning with Gopal, over to
Andy, over to Lisa, we could imagine
that if you were a child with a
disability growing up somewhere in the world,
these are stops along the line. And in each one of these stops,
there’s a fork in the road. And one fork leads
to empowerment, and opportunities, and
greater social inclusion, and the other fork leads to
exclusion, marginalization, and often poverty
and being left out. And having worked in
40-something countries, which sounds impressive until
you realize how many Judy and Charlotte have worked
in, I will tell you that the same rationales
that are put forward by school principals,
ministries of education, teachers, parents of children
without disabilities, adults and university students
without disabilities, for why those with disabilities
ought not to be included get repeated over and over again. If you could visually
imagine this, it’s almost like seeing a
film with the same script, but the faces and
the languages change. But the words are all the same– it wouldn’t be fair
to those individuals; we don’t have the
expertise to include them; disability accommodations,
as opposed to any others, cost money, and we don’t
have those resources. Or sometimes more
affirmatively, as in, we’ve tried disabled
people, it didn’t work8 or, we already have two blind
students, go somewhere else. How many do we have to take? That actually was told to me by
a college in the Philippines. So experientially, we see that. And I hear the same things
over and over again. Personally, it’s an area
that I feel very akin to, and that I work
very strongly in, for the reason that I have very
clear recollections of what it was like to have been a
14-year-old with a disability, returning from eight
months of rehabilitation, and being told by
my school, well, actually you’re not wanted. We can’t accommodate you. The reason being
that the building was divided into two parts,
with stairs in the middle. And it wasn’t until their
chief donor was contacted– and called up, and told
them, no more money unless you figure this out– that a light bulb went
on, and they said, well gosh, I guess we
could put all the classes on the side of the building
without the stairs. [LAUGHTER] Hm. And I have a clear recollection
of a guidance counselor coming to our house during
the end of high school, and telling my
parents and myself that I was unsuitable
for college work, and therefore I should
not apply to colleges. Or if I had to,
maybe it should be City of New York or
a community college. He also told that to every
college I applied to. I also have a clear recollection
of what it was like– and we’ll get to
this in a minute– to be here at the law
school, and be told that they were actually not going
to provide accommodations to basic needs. And I also have a very
clear recollection of what it was like to do a
PhD in a much older place, Cambridge University, where my
college, Gonville and Caius, bent over backwards to
make me feel included and part of the process. I lived in college when no
other graduate student did. They changed their
800-year-old charter. I continued to live in
college as a married person, although there were no other
married people in college, because they thought I would be
a good thing for me to remain there. They had some
background, having had this guy named Stephen Hawking. [LAUGHTER] But still, the lesson
to be drawn from it is institutions can be
welcoming and inclusive, or they can be excluding
and rather off-putting. But to end– before
our speakers– on a very positive
note, things change. Things change. And so I have a clear
recollection, again, of coming up to interview,
having been offered a place at Harvard Law
School, and also at that place further south, and meeting
with the dean of students, and being told, well,
there is one room you could have for three years. It’s the only dorm
room that actually has a ramp leading up into it. But there’s no kitchen
for you to use, and there’s no laundry
for you to access, and we’re not going to
change the bathrooms. We will give you a wooden seat– you know, one of those
big old wooden seats– to sit on in the shower. Do you know what it’s like
sitting on a wooden seat that’s been exposed to water? OK. [LAUGHTER] Now you get it. And during the winter, there
are tunnels underneath the law school so that our students
can be warm, and safe, and dry. But there’s no elevator
access to them. So you’ll go above ground,
through the snow and ice, barefoot, backwards, you know,
uphill, all that sort of stuff. And I said, well, that’s
not very welcoming, is it? And they told me
that four-letter word you never use on this campus. If you don’t like it,
you can go to Yale. But I didn’t. I stayed here because,
hearkening back to one of Judy’s remarks,
you need to be present. You need to let them
see that you’re here, and that you’re not
going to disappear. And during that time,
I broke the barrier. I became the first person
with a known disability to have been on the
Harvard Law Review– year 100. 100 years. So but no, fast-forward now. Fast-forward 15 years,
and I’ve come back on the other side of the
ledger, as a teacher. And I’m teaching
disability law in a room with about 55 students. And behind me,
outside the room– it’s in Hauser, if
you want to go look, is a painting of Oliver Wendell
Holmes, our allegedly greatest Supreme Court
Justice, who upheld involuntary sterilization
for people with disabilities on the grounds of three
generations of imbeciles are enough. And I’m opening up this class
by talking to my students about where we’ve come
from, where we’re going, and I tell them about what it
was like back in the old days when I went to law school. And they’re sitting there
and they’re looking at me as if I have three heads. Because these are students
who grew up with an ADA, with an Americans
with Disabilities Act. And they grew up–
thanks to these folks– with an Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act. And they’ve had people with
disabilities around them– in schools, and on buses,
and in movie theaters, and in restaurants. And they think it’s absolutely
bizarre that anyone would be excluded to that extent. And that is wonderful
and beautiful. So we should remember that
things change in time. Our first speaker, Gopal
Mitra, from UNICEF, will speak about more
of the K to 12 area, and about children with
disabilities who are refugees, and in areas of risk. Gopal, da. – Thank you, Michael. First of all, it’s
great to be here today. And I was listening to the
discussions in the morning. And I was just
thinking to myself that the breadth and
depth of the discussions that we have had, I
wonder if it would have been of this
depth and breadth even five or 10 years back. What we need to acknowledge,
and I think we are doing it, is that we have come a long way. We need to go a long way,
but we have come a long way. And it’s important to have that
feeling, and acknowledge it– tell ourselves that change is
possible, and we are making it, and we are going
to make more of it. A couple of years back,
a young girl in Uganda told me that hey, give me
good education, and be rest assured I will ensure my
inclusion and participation in the community. And that girl also
happened to be a refugee. So that’s what children
and young people feel. The issue of citizenship and
disability is wide-ranging. And I’ll focus on children
with disabilities, linking it to
citizenship, primarily from the point of
view of connectedness, a sense of belonging,
participating in the community, and equal opportunities,
which is essential to realize one’s potential. Let me start with
two general comments. I often hear people saying that
the children are the future. To me, children are
not only the future, they are very much the present. It’s not a cliche, but it’s
important to understand this, because it’s then you get into
your DNA, slowly and slowly, that of the centrality
of the agency and autonomy of children. And it has a direct bearing
to participate in citizenship, to everything that
we talk about. The children with disabilities
are very much the present. The second general point
that I want to make is children with disabilities
are, first and foremost, children, and have the same
rights as any other child. And if you see, a
majority of their needs are the same as
any other child– a safe and empowering
environment, access to education, health
service and health care, safe drinking water,
et cetera, et cetera. Some needs are
specific, like access to a specific technology,
rehabilitation, and so on. When I tell this to people,
they say, oh, it’s common sense. But I have seen so many
instances– and one of my favorite examples is,
after the tsunami in India in 2005, I was doing
some post-disaster work. And we go to a
house where there is a young girl who had
difficulty in walking, and used a wheelchair. And I asked her, after the
tsunami, what happened to you? Did someone ask you
about what you needed? She said, you know something? Immediately after
the tsunami, there were five relief agencies. They came to me, and they all
gave me one wheelchair each. [LAUGHTER] So I had five wheelchairs. But no one asked me, do I
want to go to the school that has just reopened? No one asked. So I mean, when we see
children with disabilities, we have to understand
that they are, first and foremost, children. And the
disability-specific needs are only a part of
the whole puzzle. Having said that, over
the last 10 years, as Charlotte has mentioned, we
have seen significant changes happening. 178 countries ratifying the CRP
at the United Nations in 2013. We have had the first high-level
meeting on disability. In July this year, in London,
we had the first disability summit. And not only in
disability-specific summits or events– even in mainstream summits, like
the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, the issue of
disability and inclusion of persons with disabilities
was one of the highlights. I had never seen so many
people with disabilities in a mainstream event. And after the closing
remarks of the summit, the Secretary General
of the United Nations remarked that in the summit,
that people with disabilities were center and front. And so we see that
things are changing. But the pace needs
to be accelerated. There are 1 billion
people in this world who have a disability, and we are
talking about huge numbers. And if you really want
to make a difference, we have to accelerate
the pace of this change. Now if you talk about the SDGs,
the Sustainable Development Goals that Charlotte
mentioned, for the first time, there are explicit and
specific references to persons with disabilities. Let me go to goal 4 of the SDGs. It talks about inclusive quality
education and lifelong learning for all. It does not mention almost all. So if you really want to
achieve the SDGs and goal 4, you cannot do it without
including full access to quality education as far as
children with disabilities are concerned. The latest data
shows that globally, more than half the
children with disabilities do not go to school. In many countries, the
rate is as high as 90%. In situations of
disasters, emergencies, armed conflict, the numbers
of children who do not access education is staggering. At the same time, we see that
countries are increasingly enacting laws, policies,
revising policies, enacting new ones. If you see the reporting
of the governments, of the state
parties, to the CRPD, to the Convention on the Rights
of Persons with Disabilities, you see that around
70% of countries have inclusive education as
a principal in their policy. We have data that shows that
if you do not include children with disabilities in school,
in education, 1% to 5% of GDP could be lost due to
lost potential income. We know that the SDGs cannot
be achieved if children with disabilities do
not go to school. And we know, given the numbers,
that inclusive education is the only way that
millions of children with disabilities
who are not in school can be provided education. So inclusive education
is not only a good thing to do from a normative
point of view. It’s the smartest thing to do. So while on one hand, we see
a whole range of policies being enacted by countries– I was in Kenya, in May, when
they launched the Integrated Education
Multi-Sectoral Policy– very, very progressive,
very strong. But what we see is there is a
gap between the policy intent and the capacity of
education systems to deliver inclusive education. And yes, we do mind the gap. So the question is, how
do we close this gap? How do we operationalize
inclusive education? There are a range of
actions being taken, and a range of areas which
require urgent action– the need for data and evidence
on children with disabilities, the need of flexible curriculum,
the need of building capacity, the capacity of the system of
human resources, particularly teachers, accessibility,
reasonable accommodation, assistive technology,
and a host of others. Let me focus on three
of these issues. First of all, let me reflect
briefly on the need for data. For children with
disabilities to count, they have to be counted. And believe me, we
have much less idea in low and
middle-income countries than we need to formulate
robust policies. We need to know how many
children with disabilities are there, how many of them are
in school, how they are faring in school, what is their
learning outcomes as compared to children without
disabilities, and so on. We do not have the data. That’s the bad news. But the good news is that we
now have robust tools which would enable us to measure
the seed, to track the seed, so that policies and
allocation of resources can be informed by that data. Many, many, many
countries have now started implementing the
standardized tools, data collection modules, which
will not only help nationally, but will also help us to
gather comparable data which will help us to measure
progress globally. So there is a lot of good
work happening on that front. The second point I
want to highlight is the issue of accessibility. How many of you see the OECD
data, and their estimates– OECD estimates that
a global investment of $6.3 trillion
dollars annually will be required if we want
to achieve the sustainable development goals– huge number. I don’t even know how many
zeros there are, seriously. In 2016, OECD’s overseas
development assistance comprised $42 billion dollars
on social infrastructure, $15 billion of it on
health and education. We know that if you
plan accessibility from the design stage, it
does not cost more than 1%. So another no-brainer. But if we see in
practice, while we see that increasingly
accessibility is factored in, there is a long way to go. And that’s one of the
easy and quick wins– easy to measure– which we have
to be constantly working on. Let me give you an
example why I am saying we have to constantly work on it. Last year, we sent a
survey to our colleagues, internal, easier
office accessible. Some of the responses
we got back– and these are colleagues which
are well-informed, working on development for a long time. Yes, our offices are accessible. We are located downtown. We have four bus
connections to the office. That is the conception
of accessibility to someone outside this room,
for a majority of people. So a lot of the
speakers previously were talking about the need
for building awareness, the need for constantly
highlighting, even at the cost of
being repetitive, the importance of some
of these key issues. And we can’t do enough of it. The third point is assistive
technology and innovation. – Two minutes, Gopal. – Oh, two minutes. OK. 10% of children
with disabilities in low-income countries have
access to assistive technology. Now it is again a no-brainer. If you want children
with disabilities to be in classrooms, and to
participate, and to learn, we need to provide
assistive technology. Without that, we cannot
operationalize inclusive education. The good thing is
that globally, we see a lot of efforts
that are happening to change the scenario. During the Global
Disability Summit, a new global partnership
on assistive technology was launched, which aims to
provide 500 million people with disabilities with
assistive technology by 2030. Big ambition, but we need
to have such ambitions if we want to see significant change. I think I have one minute. Let me touch on
situations of risk. We are facing the largest
displacement of people after Second World War. 70 million people around the
world face displacement today. And if you apply a figure of
15% of them being disabled, it’s a staggering 10 million. Refugees, and
especially children with disabilities
who are refugees, we have seen policies
of host countries do not give them equal
access to basic rights such as an education. And this needs to change. I was in the Zaatari
refugee camp last month. And in a school of
2,000 children, one of the amazing
things I saw, they had 160 children
with disabilities. So there are pockets
of good work happening. And one of the children
told me– and I’ll end with this remark. A young disabled person,
a Syrian refugee, he told me that, I do
not want to miss school. I come to school regularly. I said, why? He said, one day I am going
to go back to my country, and I want to be qualified
to rebuild my country. That’s what young people
with disabilities feel. And I think it encompasses
a lot of things that we’re talking about
related to citizenship. So there’s a long way to go. We have come a long way. We cannot do it alone. And joint action by everybody
in this room and beyond is required to transform these
islands of good practices into oceans of good practices
so that millions of children with disabilities will
have the opportunity to realize their potential. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] – Andy. – So first let me just
thank Michael and Cheri, and the folks at the Radcliffe
Institute for inviting me, and for hosting what
I think has really been an extraordinary day. And I’m really happy to be here. I started doing
disability work in Boston. I don’t think it was
in my official bio, but I worked at the
Disability Law Center here in Boston at the
beginning of my career. And I just wanted to
start by acknowledging some of the local
disability leaders who were important mentors
for me as a young lawyer with bipolar disorder who was
dealing with a new diagnosis, and we’re very encouraging of
me to be out with my disability, including people like Bill
Henning, who at the time was at the Cape
Organization for the Rights of the Disabled, and
Paul Spooner, a really important national leader
in the independent living movement, Judy Chamberlain,
who had been one of the most important leaders in
what, at the time, they were calling the
psychiatric survivor movement, advocating for human
rights for people with psychiatric disabilities. And then after I
came to Washington, I had more mentors
from Massachusetts, like Christine Griffin, and
Fred Fay, and Charlie Carr, or Charlie “Cah,” as he says. [LAUGHTER] So I feel like this is
where I got started. I know a lot of
people to see Berkeley as the home of the
disability rights movement. But for me, it’s Boston. And I’m very grateful. – We’re number 2 in
terms of our CIL. – Yes. [APPLAUSE] And I’m very grateful
to have been exposed to a way of thinking about
disability at a time where I was dealing with
disability that affected my energy and my self-esteem. And it really helped
me to be around people that could model
for me how to be a proud out person with a
non-visible disability, what that looked like. So now I’ve been in
Washington for 25 years, for better or for worse. I’m delighted to be at the
Association of University Centers on
Disabilities, which is a national network of
federally-funded centers for excellence in disabilities. We have at least one in
every state and territory. The leaders from one of
the two centers in Boston are here today. Tom Sannicandro is the
director of the Institute for Community
Inclusion, which is one of our biggest
university centers for excellence in the country. Tom is kind of a
model for citizenship, so I want to brag
on him for a minute. Tom was a special
education lawyer, had a child with a
developmental disability, became a state legislator,
got a PhD at Brandeis while he was a state
legislator, decided he wanted to do something
else, and now he’s in academia. But he really kind of comes
at disability and policy from a number of
different perspectives. And I feel like we
need more of that. We need more people
with lived experience who are willing to go
into public service, and move around within service
to try to elevate these issues. And then the last thing
that I just wanted to say is, because I represent
a network of folks who operate in higher
education settings, a lot of people don’t
really know what we do. They think we represent the
disabled student services offices on campuses,
which we don’t. Think of us as like
many think tanks– if you add all their budgets
together, it’s a $650 million dollar network. And I think of it
as a $650 million research and development arm
for the disability field, where one of the things
that we develop is people. So we train professionals,
we train family leaders, we train self-advocate leaders. And that’s, I think,
an important way to keep the values of the
disability movement fresh, and to have a constant effort
to expose a new generation of leaders to those values. And part of those values really
do relate to citizenship. So because we were asked to
talk about higher education, disability, and
citizenship, I thought it might be helpful to talk a
little bit about the purpose of higher education. And this is something
that I think is being debated
a lot right now. Higher education is changing. And I was a humanities
major in college, and I specialized in
Italian Renaissance culture. The president of my
college, Bart Giamatti, encouraged us in freshman year
to find something that we love, and study it, and not worry
about how we were going to use it after we graduated. And I took that seriously. I fell in love– [LAUGHTER] I fell in love with the
period 1506 to 1526, in Rome. So I’m jealous that
Charlotte got to go to Rome. But I think there are people
in higher education that are trying to make the
case for liberal arts, and for people
studying things that don’t necessarily
directly translate into a job or a career. And there’s a woman
at the Association of American Colleges
and Universities, named Bethany Zecher
Sutton, who is leading an effort for them called
Liberal Education and America’s Promise. And as I understand
it, part of the effort is to help make the case
for liberal arts education in an era where higher
education is very expensive, and where it’s changing. And she said, in a piece that
she wrote in June of 2016– the piece is called “Higher
Education’s Public Purpose”– she said, “the larger
purpose of higher education, beyond preparation
for employment, is to connect students
with real-world problems, and getting them engaged in
creative and collaborative problem-solving.” And I think, if you think
about a lot of the issues that we’ve talked
about today, these are real-world
problems that will be faced by every country in the
world for the rest of our lives and beyond. And we have an
opportunity, while people are getting their higher
education, to expose them to these problems, and to give
them skills that will help them address some of these problems. And they will be exposed
in a much deeper way if they have students, faculty,
and staff on their campuses who are visible and proud
people with disabilities. So I think there’s a direct
connection between the mission of higher education
and the imperative to have people with
disabilities represented in every constituency
on a campus, including the alumni
and the donors. Another thing that she
talked about in her article that I thought was
thought-provoking, she talked about key
skills or learning outcomes that are important
for people to develop as part of higher education. And in the list, she
included critical thinking, problem solving, working
with diverse teams, ethical reasoning,
and communicating, and that if you
have these skills, you’re not just going
to be a good employee, but you’re going to
be a good citizen. And if go back to the
founding of our country, some of our founders were
very concerned about what kind of citizens we were going
to mold as a country. And we left out huge
populations when we were thinking about our citizenry. And then our country,
in an iterative process, has tried to bring more and
more people into citizenships. But it’s not a linear process. And as was mentioned
on the earlier panel, we’re living through an
era right now, in the US and around the world, where
people are getting defined out of citizenship, getting
defined out of the in groups. And there is a need for
us to be vigilant, and be clear about what
are our core values. And one of the ways we
develop those core values is in higher education. So I believe that
higher education is the solution to
some of the problems that we’re facing as a world. But it won’t be an effective
solution if it’s not inclusive. And the word, inclusive, in
a higher education context, has come to mean a lot
of different things. But one thing that we haven’t
talked a lot about yet, so I wanted to bring
it up, is including students with
intellectual disabilities in higher education. And this is something that
our center at UMass Boston has been a national leader on. They have a website called
Think College, which is really about opening up
higher education opportunities for populations of
students that historically have not had much access to higher
education, certainly outside of a community college context. And I’ll never
forget it– you know, I’ve been traveling around the
country visiting our centers. And when I visited the center
at the University of Arizona, which has probably
one of the best, if not the best disabled
student services offices in the
country, the person who ran that office was
uncomfortable with opening up higher ed at the
University of Arizona to students with
intellectual disabilities. And she was a woman with
a physical disability who had been a very important leader
in the disability movement, and in inclusive
higher ed more broadly, but not including students
with intellectual disabilities. And her perspective
was, if people don’t have the skills to
get into this university, why would we create
a program for them? That was a hard thing for
her to wrap her head around. And I think she was– in some way, she was testing me. It wasn’t a firm position. But I do think that’s
one of our challenges. You think about Harvard
as kind of an epitome– elite institution
within higher ed. Is Harvard ready to
have a law professor with an intellectual disability? Is Harvard ready
to have a fellow here at the Radcliffe
Institute with an intellectual disability? And if not, why? And I guess what I’m finding– at AUCD, I’m
working more closely with the leaders of the
intellectual disability committee than I have
in other positions. What I’m finding is,
very often, working alongside somebody with
an intellectual disability is going to give you skills– or teaching in a
classroom with somebody with intellectual
disability is going to give you skills that
will enable you to reach a much broader
population, independent of disability status. Recently, the hearing we talked
about in the Supreme Court earlier, the hearing the
confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh, one of the witnesses
that was selected by Senator Feinstein was a woman with an
intellectual disability, Liz Weintraub, who I think was
the most compelling witness in the Kavanaugh hearing. And I’ll give you an
example of why she was the most compelling witness. When her panel was
done, Senator Feinstein commended her, which
was not surprising, and then Senator Ted
Cruz commended her for her testimony. And for those of you that
don’t follow this closely, Ted Cruz was not a
fan of her message, but he was impressed
with her as a messenger. And he was impressed
with her broader message. He just didn’t like
the part about not confirming Judge Kavanaugh. But why did Liz testify? Why was she selected? This was not an accident, and
this was not an easy thing to happen. She was selected because Judge
Kavanaugh, as a DC Circuit judge, had written
an opinion that said that women with
intellectual disabilities who were under the care of
the District of Columbia could have health care
decisions made about their lives without them being consulted,
and that that did not raise concerns for the panel. He was writing on
behalf of a panel. And when Liz became
aware of this case, she decided that
she needed to be focused on trying to stop him
from coming onto the Supreme Court. I firmly believe that we
could have had experts on intellectual disabilities. We could have had
law professors who were experts on
the history of how people with intellectual
disabilities been treated by
the Supreme Court, including Buck v Bell, the case
that was referenced by Michael. But I think, in
this case, it was more compelling to hear
from a 53-year-old woman with an intellectual disability
who could talk about what it’s like to have other people
make decisions for you, and her own
experience with that. And that’s really, to
me, the job of a witness, is to break through
the noise, and try to reach the senators in a way
that could change the way they think about an issue. And I feel like Liz had a huge
impact with her testimony– and on this issue which is much
bigger than Judge Kavanaugh. The issue of
self-determination for people with intellectual
disabilities is much bigger than Judge Kavanaugh. One of the things that
I learned yesterday, when I visited our
center in Boston– how am I doing on time? – Two. – Two, OK. One of the things that I– am I supposed to be
looking at something? I don’t see that. [LAUGHTER] – There’s a clock up there. – Where is it? Oh, there it is. I see. One of the things
that I learned is that one of the best
outcomes for students with intellectual disabilities
who experience inclusive higher education
is improvements in their own self-determination. So if they spend time on
a campus with their peers, with and without
disabilities, and they see what self-determination
looks like for a 20-year-old
on a college campus, they’re more likely to exercise
self-determination when they’re not on that campus. And I think that’s a very
interesting thing for us to think about. There’s definitely a benefit
to the other students. At Vanderbilt,
they have a program called Next Steps,
where there are six undergrads
without disabilities who are supporting
the undergrads with intellectual disabilities. And many of them
say that was one of the most important
positive experiences they had as a Vanderbilt student, was
participating in that program, and learning how
to support a peer with an intellectual disability. So I think that there’s
a lot of opportunity for us to kind of redefine
the higher education space, redefine what an elite
institution means in the 21st century,
redefine the mission, or kind of get back to the
original mission of higher education. I think one of our
challenges is the way we think about accessibility
and accommodations. On most campuses, the disabled
student services office is not an empowered office. The person who runs
that office typically does not have a lot of clout. They’re not a tenured
faculty member, who tend to be the people that
matter the most on a college campus. So I think it’s really worth
thinking about re-imagining how we create accessibility,
and universal design, and inclusion on
college campuses. And I believe one of
the things we need to do is start thinking about
disability cultural centers on campuses, and not about
disabled student services. And having the
services be embedded in a much broader and richer
tapestry of academic mission, and other things
that are going on in the arts, sports,
all the different ways that people with disabilities
can interact with a college campus. So I’m out of time. I’m looking forward
to the questions. But I do want to just close with
a quote from Martin Luther King that I think is very relevant
for today and the period we’re living through. And I think it’s a good
challenge as we think about the future of higher ed. He said that “human progress
is neither automatic nor inevitable,” that “even a
superficial look at history reveals that no
social advance rolls in on the wheels
of inevitability.” He said, “every step
towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice,
suffering, and struggle, the tireless exertions
and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” And I apologize to
the interpreters– “without persistent
effort”– this part is so relevant for today. “Without persistent
effort, time itself becomes an ally of the
insurgent and primitive forces of irrational emotionalism
and social destruction.” He said, “this is no time
for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous
and positive action.” Thank you. [APPLAUSE] – Thank you. This has been an
amazing session. And I am the last person, which
is the unenviable position. I’ve been asked to speak
about medical education. And I want to start
with the good news. And the good news
starts with Cheri. When I first met
Cheri, I was just stunned by her kind of
composure and self-confidence. And I said, Cheri,
did you ever think that there was a impediment
to you becoming a doctor? And she said, no. I was like, whoa. Because when I started
Harvard Medical School– September 8th, 1980– I’d had four years of
shadowy, on again, off again symptoms that turned
out, as I learned during my first semester
at Harvard Medical School, to be multiple sclerosis. I don’t have time to go
into the details of what it was like for those four years. Just assume it wasn’t good. And at the end, when I
was going to be trying to apply for an
internship or residency to become either a primary
care doctor or an oncologist, I was told that the medical
school, in their wisdom, had decided not to write
a letter of recommendation for me to apply for an
internship or residency. So even though I
completed my M.D. degree, did all the coursework,
all the clerkships, I never was able to go on
for the postgraduate training that you need to become a
licensed practicing physician. So I never practiced medicine. So the good news
is that post-ADA, I don’t think that this would
happen to another student. I think we’re safe there. But the bad news is that
people with disabilities are neither represented in the
practicing medical profession or in the medical
student body the way that they are in the population. So when you speak to
people about this, they’ll invariably
say to me, well, I know so-and-so who’s
at medical school who has a disability, as if that
poster child is supposed to show me that people
with disabilities are represented
in medical school. The current estimates
are shadowy. We don’t really know for sure,
but we think that about 2.7% of medical students report
some sort of disability. And what are the
types of disabilities? Meeks and Hercer,
in 2016, did a study that suggests that
ADHD is about 1/3 of the disability reported
by medical students; learning disability, about 1/5;
psychological disability, about 1/5; chronic health
problems, about 13%; and then vision, mobility,
deaf or hard of hearing, about 2% or 3% each. OK, so I’d like to make three
points in my talk today. And the first is that
medical training is kind of an apprenticeship model. You have these
little embryo doctors that are these medical
students, and they follow around the
big, grown-up doctors. And that’s basically how they
learn how to become a doctor. Now all doctors
have sworn an oath to benefit patients
and do no harm. So the first question
always raised about a person with a
disability becoming a doctor is whether they
will harm a patient. Now doctors are also
closely regulated by boards of medicine or
some other state body, and those require that
a doctor be licensed, and that these licenses
are periodically renewed to continue to practice. The norm is
therefore, if you want to avoid losing your license, to
not admit any weakness at all, because weaknesses could
risk your medical license and your ability to practice. And we know from studies that
medical licensure boards do not actually practice in a way
that complies with the ADA. And so people are
really truly at threat of losing their medical
licenses inappropriately if they admit some
sort of weakness. I’m aware of a recent survey– I will not tell you of exactly
who, but of about 1,000 Harvard Medical faculty,
about various factors. And about 550 of them
responded to the survey, and only a handful
said that they had any sort of disability. Now we know that
that’s not accurate. We know that more than a
handful of those 550 doctors had some sort of disability. Why were they so
terrified of admitting it? It was a confidential survey. Why couldn’t they
respond honestly? Now we do know that
there is some recognition that there are a lot of
doctors with disabilities. We know that serious mental
illness, for example, is a disabling
condition that doctors have much more than
the general population. Data released in 2018
showed that doctors have the highest suicide
rate of any profession– 28 to 40 per 100,000
doctors per year will commit suicide, compared
with 12.3 per 100,000 persons in the general population. We know that 28% of
doctors-in-training, residents, experience major depression
during their training, compared with a
general population rate of about 7% to 8%. But doctors are afraid
to admit mental illness. They’re afraid to
seek treatment. There is tremendous
stigmatization about this that persists
today, and that I’ve witnessed among my colleagues
in talking about other people with mental illness. Now remember that
earlier I mentioned that one of the leading
disability types reported among the 2.7%
of medical students who have disabilities, ADHD
and learning disabilities. Well obviously, a
reasonable accommodation for those students is going
to be giving them more time– critical accommodation,
giving them extra time to complete an exam. But for the practicing physician
today, if you talk to them, the thing that they
do not have is time. They’ve got time
pressures, they’ve got demands to
see more patients, especially in fields
like primary care. They have low
per-visit payments. And so to remain
financially viable, they have to see a huge
volume of patients. Doctors are burning out
at extraordinary rates, and leaving the field. OK, so second point– medicine is a cognitive field. However, it’s got an intensely
physical aspect to it. Diagnoses are made through
looking closely at patients, watching them, listening
to their stories, communicating with them. So vision, hearing, and
communication are key. Physicians have to
physically touch patients. They have a physical intimacy
with patients’ bodies. They are expected to feel
them in private places. So thus mobility, and the sense
of touch, and manual dexterity are key abilities. Medical schools have
long established what are called
technical standards– actions and approaches by
which students must demonstrate a competency, proficiency
to be able to graduate from medical school. So a student with a disability
relating to vision, hearing, communication, mobility,
hand dexterity, or touch may not be able to meet
these technical standards without accommodations. However, the ADA puts limits
on what are considered reasonable accommodations. Accommodation requests are
not considered reasonable if they would fundamentally
alter the curriculum, which in medical school includes
the technical standards. So there have been court cases
that have looked at this. And obviously, in the ADA, as
always, each individual case is going to be
considered separately. There is a lot of
individual circumstances. And so there are not
any systematic answers from the courts about
what constitutes reasonable accommodations
for the technical standards. But we do know that different
medical schools have different technical standards. And there are two main types
of technical standards. One are called the Organic
Technical Standards, which is where a
medical student has to be able to perform
all the technical tests without any accommodations,
even a technical accommodation. They have to do everything
organically, themselves, with their own
body as it exists. The other approach is
Functional Technical Standards, which focuses on the
outcome of being perform a technical task,
which could include having an accommodation,
an assistive technology. Suffice it to say that
there are changes undergoing in what technical standards
should be for medical schools. This is a vigorous debate. And a major question is whether
a medical school student is equivalent to a stem cell. In other words, there
a pluripotent cell that is going to differentiate
into all different types of doctors– oncologists, hematologists,
surgeons, et cetera. Does everybody have
to be able to do every single technical task? Obviously, different specialties
require different skills. But for the
practicing physicians, concerns about safety are also
raised for medical students. And so there have
been some court cases about whether medical
students with disabilities present safety
risks to patients. And one recent case found that
providing an ASL interpreter to a medical student would
not cause safety risk to the patient, as had been
claimed by that student’s medical school. So the third and final point– this is what my research is
actually about, is about health care disparities for
people with disabilities. And we do know that
people with disabilities experience a lot of disparities
in the care that they get, although this differs
by the type of care and by the type of disability. But we do know that today’s
doctors are being trained by the very doctors that
are out there giving care that is rife with disparities. And so faculty are often unaware
of disability disparities, and totally uninformed
about how to address them. And in addition,
medical students may be being trained
in settings that are not uniformly accessible
to persons with disabilities. While ADA addresses access
for persons with disability to physical spaces,
it does not address the content of those spaces. So for example, it
does not address whether an exam table,
a diagnostic imaging machine, a mammogram
machine is accessible. You might not know, but in fact,
Section 4203 of the Affordable Care Act required that the US
Access Board, in combination with the Food and
Drug Administration, come up with standards for
medical diagnostic equipment, including exam tables, weight
scales, and diagnostic imaging technologies. These standards were
published in January of 2017– underline that date. The next step was for
the Department of Justice to scoping review to determine
how widely disseminated these accessible technologies
had to be available. On December 26th of 2017,
the Department of Justice, under Jeff Sessions, decided
not to do the scoping review. And so we currently do
not have any standards about how widely available
accessible medical technologies need to be. So the final point
I want to make is, might having more medical
students with disabilities make physicians and students
around them more aware of issues relating
to disabilities? Might having more medical
students with disabilities help chip away at these
disability disparities? Now the answer to both
questions might be yes, although there’s no
empirical evidence to back that speculation. But the way that
medical schools work, this could put medical
students with disability into an awkward
position of having the lowest person in
a very rigid hierarchy confront the highest person. So much of medical students’
rating by the faculty is subjective. Could this hurt evaluations
of medical students, and thus hurt their
chances for getting into those selective
residency training programs? Plus, medical students
with one disability type may not necessarily understand
the experiences of persons with other disability types. So expecting medical students to
be aware across all disability types is unfair, and puts
too much pressure on them. Plus, it singles out the
student with a disability as having different expectations
opposed on them than are applied to other students. And so I have two minutes
and four seconds left. And so I’m going to end with a
final story which is not really a story about me. It’s actually more a story about
the late Dr. Charlie McCabe. Charlie McCabe was about to be– well, he was, actually,
appointed God. I work at the Massachusetts
General Hospital. And back in the early 1980s, the
Massachusetts General Hospital, which is man’s
greatest hospital, had appointed Dr.
Charlie McCabe to be their chief surgical resident,
and that was, at that time, akin to being appointed God. At that time, Dr.
McCabe was suddenly diagnosed with
multiple sclerosis, and he was unable to go on to
be the chief surgical resident. But what he did was he became
an emergency room doctor, and a teacher, and a beloved
person at the medical school. He died an earlier death
than he should have. But after I had gotten that
statement from my advisor at Harvard Medical School,
that they weren’t going to write a letter
for me, I decided to go to ask Charlie
McCabe what I should do. Should I push, should I
try as much as I possibly could to try to become
a practicing doctor, to get that letter
of recommendation out of the medical school? I never talked about what
Charlie McCabe’s response was until I got permission from
him, because it was really a story about him. And I asked him– what I didn’t know
was it was going to be about three
weeks before he died. But I asked his permission. And so about three
weeks before he died, he gave me permission
to tell the story. When I asked him, should
I push, should I try, should I get them to try
to get them to give me this letter of recommendation? He said, Lisa, if you
have anything else you can do in life, try
to do something else, because they will
never, ever believe that you can be a practicing
physician with a disability. And I say that because
that’s obviously what his experience had been. And so he was telling me
that from his experience, as somebody who had been
almost appointed God, that he wasn’t going to
be able to succeed there. So although we’ve got the
ADA that’s protecting us, I am not entirely sure that
those attitudes have yet gone away in the medical profession. [APPLAUSE] – So we’re going to ask
our volunteers to get ready with those microphones. Individuals from
the audience, we’ve left you time for
short questions. We’d like to take two,
three, four, a bunch of them, for the panel. Raise your hand, or some other
way, and we’ll get to you. – OK, so my name is John. I’m a fellow at the
Radcliffe Institute, and my work mainly
concerns disability, sexuality, reproductive health. I think I’d like to pick
on the point about data. I guess one of the starting
points about citizenship is actually sort of being
counted in the first place. And if you look there around,
a lot of low-income countries, specifically in
Africa, there’s a lot of self-censorship,
family censorship, and community-level censorship. So I mean, it’s something
I’m trying to think about. How do we– because there are
no incentives for families to disclose that they have
persons with disabilities. At least in the US, at least
the conversation I’m hearing, there are a lot of incentives. There are lot of benefits. There’s a welfare system
that people can say, well, there’s some
incentive to disclose that I have some disability. In a place like Ghana, there’s
really not much incentive. So my question is, how do we
get around this censorship, to get to actually count
people in the first place, as a starting point? – Wonderful. Can we take another
couple of short questions. And please, again, introduce
yourselves when speaking. – Hello, my name
is Colin Killick, deputy director of
Disability Policy Consortium. Thank you all so much. I wanted you to come
back to something Andy said about the
disability cultural centers at universities. I wanted to ask the
panel collectively to talk about the connection
between treating disability seriously as a subject
of academic inquiry, and making students
with disabilities feel welcome in universities. – OK, terrific. No? OK. – Oh, wait, sorry. – Hello, I’m Elizabeth Dean
Clara, public health physician. Thank you to Michael
and Cheri Blauwet for this excellent
conference we’ve had today. My concern, based on what we’ve
both heard in the morning, and certainly on
your panel, is, given that we have champions of
disability policy, the need for studies, that the
absence of a recognized curriculum at the
Harvard Kennedy School sends a very different message,
since the Kennedy School is known for its excellence– or promoting excellence and
leadership in this country and around the world. And I’m concerned about
the message that sends. I know that Professor
Stein has a course there, but that otherwise students
who have this interest need to seek it out at the
other graduate schools. And so that’s not
only a concern, but how do you
see that changing? Or are there other
universities that do have a model that recognizes
the need for leadership in this field? – OK, terrific. And can we take one more, and
then let the panel respond. – Hi, my name’s
Melanie McLaughlin. I am a teaching fellow at
the Ed school with Dr. Hare, and I’m a parent of
a fourth grader– 10-year-old– with intellectual
and developmental disabilities. Thank you all for
the conference today. It was very, very informative. And one of the most
important things I think I’m walking
away with today is the idea of
disability identity. And I have a fourth
grader that I really need to empower, and to
teach disability identity. And I’m looking to where we
do that in our American school system and in our educational
system, because that’s not what we’re experiencing on
the ground floor of our school systems across the country. And so giving us the tools for
empowerment for our children so that we are raising a next
generation of leaders, I think, is very important. How can we do that? – You’re also a great filmmaker. So thank you. – Lisa, can we start with you? Any or all– – You know something? I feel like, from
my perspective, I have so little to add. Because as I’ve kind of said,
the medical school training is just so different. So the only thing I would say
to Colleen about being welcoming to students is that you actually
have accessible equipment in the places where you have
to do your standardized patient training, so that
if you actually have a student
with a disability, that they can actually do
the kind of physical exam on that student. That wasn’t necessarily
the case at Harvard Medical School until fairly recently. – So I’ll take a couple. Gopal, I assume you’re
going to talk about data. And I can chime in if necessary. But I guess I want to focus
on Harvard for a minute, because there were
different questions related to the Kennedy School
and other aspects. To the extent that Harvard wants
to be the best in the world, or the best in
the United States, I think Harvard has
to decide that being the best in disability
studies and being the best and preparing people for a world
where 1/5 of the population experiences a disability is a
decision that has to get made at a very leadership
level, and it needs to have resources behind it. And if you’re
looking for a model, there are plenty of
other institutions of higher education
that are exponentially better than Harvard. I’ll just give one example. Wright State
University– probably not as wealthy as Harvard. I’m not sure anybody is. But they have a campus
where all the buildings are connected underground. They have a niche
program there where they train people in how
to manage personal care attendants, when
they’re going to need to have personal care
attendants, that they manage as adults. And the bathrooms off the halls
in the tunnels underground, which are all
wheelchair accessible, are staffed by personal care
attendants in the bathrooms. So they’re kind of at
a level of thinking about that aspect
of accessibility that certainly
Harvard is not at, and most institutions
of higher ed. Both of my children, toured
the top liberal arts colleges in the country. And when I went with them,
I asked all the college tour people, what’s it like
for students with disabilities here? When I was at Williams, the
rising junior at Williams said, if I was in a wheelchair,
I would not come here. And this is a very
wealthy institution. We went to Amherst, which
was kind of the same college, and we got a completely
different answer at Amherst. So I think the leaders at
elite institutions of higher education feel like
they do not have to be a leader in disability. They don’t have to be a
leader in disability studies, they don’t have to be a leader
in faculty with disabilities, they don’t have to
be a leader in staff, they don’t have to be
a leader in students. And as long as
they feel that way, we’re going to have a problem
in terms of second class citizenship. And we can look at every
other constituency that was treated as a
second class citizen, and all of these institutions. And the strategies
that work for them are the strategies
that ultimately are going to work for
people with disabilities. We need to make it
an issue when we talk about diversity of faculty. We need to make it an issue
we talk about diversity of the student body. And we need to embarrass– it’s
basically political organizing on campus. We need to embarrass the
leadership of the institution so they’re motivated to change. [APPLAUSE] – I’ll just reflect briefly
on the question of data. I think that’s one of the
fundamental questions. And I think it goes beyond
the technical aspects of data collection. You see, there’s so much stigma
still attached to disability, to the conception, to
persons with disabilities. And we have seen many,
many, many instances where parents hide their children. And you can’t blame the parents. It’s because of the
stigma that they hide. I mean, one need not justify
it, one need not condone it. But we have to address the
stigma and discrimination related to disability. We have had instances where– I mean, I have been involved
with the community-based rehabilitation program in 2003,
in an urban setting in Mumbai. We did a door-to-door
survey to find out how many children and young
people with disabilities were there. And it was just a handful. We thought, come
on, this does not confirm existing statistics
prevalence rate that we have. We said, nonetheless,
let’s start the program. We started, and in that
same neighborhood locality, people started coming forward
when they saw that there were services, as you said. So it’s a combination
of factors. We have to have services
initiated, even if they are basic, even if they’re limited. We have to
simultaneously address stigma and discrimination. There are a lot of ways it’s
being done all over the world. I want to narrate an
interesting incident. I was in the Rohingya
refugee camp in Bangladesh. It’s the largest refugee
camp in the world, where about a million people
facing persecution in Myanmar poured inside Bangladesh
in a matter of months. So you can imagine the
pressure on services. So I was in a temporary
learning space. And among 60 children, there was
only one child with disability. So I asked the
facilitator, why is there only one child with disability? She told me that it’s very,
very dire, the situation. We have not been able
to have a survey. We have not been able to
use disability questions. Maybe we will be able to do
it in the next three months. But I am qualified to teach
children with disabilities. I’ve undergone a course. So if they are
here, we can do it. I said, OK, let’s
ask the children. So I ask the children,
hey, do you know, around where you live– small shelter or tent– do you know of children who
have difficulty in seeing, or hearing, or communicating? Do you know of such children
around where you live? And out of the 60 children
that were there, 42 of them raised their hands. So I mean, there are
creative ways to do it. We need to be creative. We need to have actions
at multiple levels. And often the lack
of data is just symptomatic of a much, much
bigger issue, which we also need to address simultaneously. Thank you. – I just want to
come back to one of the other questions
around disability and cultural identity. I think it’s worth recognizing
that a lot of college students develop a deeper sense of
their multiple identities while they’re in college. That’s part of college. My son is a gender studies
major at Pomona College. And he’s exploring
his queer identity as part of his academic
focus, but it’s a big part of having that
opportunity in higher education to have a deeper sense, not
just of your own identity, but other identities–
oppression, privilege, all of the ways that
identities play out in society. So yes, we need to do a better
job of integrating disability and cultural identity into
these broader conversations, and recognizing that there
are fields gender studies that might actually be helpful in
thinking about how to do that in an interdisciplinary way. And I also just
want to acknowledge that there are lots
of people like me that acquire a
mental illness that will be with them for
the rest of their lives while they’re in college
or graduate school. So we should have
a strategy for what happens when our students
acquire depression or any number of things for the
first time while they’re here. What is our strategy to respond? What is our strategy to
interact with the family, and the kind of circles of
support around those students? And I think, to a large degree,
we’re still in the Dark Ages on that. It seems like lots of
institutions of higher ed want to isolate the student,
assess how big of a risk they are, and then extract
them from the campus until they get their mental
health under control. And that is not a very
humane or healing way to deal with mental illness
on a college campus. – And to end on a positive
note, in partial response to Elizabeth, everything
is a work in progress, and I won’t speak directly
to the Case School, because there is a lot
of background on it. But we are seeing
the schools move forward incrementally sometimes,
and with larger bounds other times. So just to speak to– I do teach at the
Case School, but just to speak to the law
school, in 15 years, we’ve gone from having one
course on disability to now also having a disabled veterans
clinic, a special education clinic, the housing clinic
thinks about disability as part of the fair
housing, the benefits clinic thinks about disability, there
are mental health awareness dates. And what’s really nice now,
besides the programming that is between centers, is now
I will see programming which definitely relates
to disability, and nobody bothered
reaching out to me because we didn’t need to have
Stein there for disability. And that’s great. That’s an evolution. And that’s exactly
what you want to see. So when I first came to Harvard,
the person who ran the law school, who was a Southie with
a notebook– no computer– told me in very wise terms,
“Harvard always gets it right. You may not live to see
it, but eventually they’ll get it right.” And that’s what
we’re hoping for. We are out of time
for this panel. So please join me in thanking
the lovely panelists. [APPLAUSE] Next, we have our closing
remarks from the Judy. And I would also as
my co-chair, Cheri, if she would come up so that
we can thank Judy afterwards. – So this has been a
very impressive morning. And I think, for me,
outside of thanking everyone who has
put this together and the fantastic work that
the presenters put into this, I’m looking at the
issue of next steps. I don’t work at Harvard. I have no authority
over anything. So I’m just going to give
what some of my thoughts are. [LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE] Kind of take what you
want and leave the rest. And I hope you can all
add into that also. I mean, when you
look at Harvard– I went to Brooklyn
College and to Berkeley. And I was really excited. I was at the School
of Public Health. And the year I was
there, we beat Harvard. Berkeley was first,
and Harvard was second. When I look at Berkeley and
Harvard at that period of time, Berkeley was growing an
ever-powerful disability community on campus, and a
disabled students office which was deeply becoming integrated
into working with the campus. So while Harvard is
a very old campus, Berkeley also is an old campus. And issues of accessibility
over the years have really diminished
at Berkeley, because from the physical
accessibility perspective, things have gotten better. When I went to the
School of Public Health, there were no
accessible bathrooms. I had to literally go
across the entire campus to the disabled students
office to go to the bathroom. Now obviously, Harvard and
Berkeley– that kind of tension when you’re a student is great. But Harvard is a leader,
not just domestically, but internationally. And I think– Andy was referencing this– Harvard really wants
to be seen as a leader in the area of inclusion
of disabled people into the university. And now I’m not just
talking about the issue of students and faculty
although that’s really critical. From a pedagogical perspective,
Harvard needs to be a leader. And in being a leader, it
needs to be a convener. And so this type of meeting
today, I think, is fantastic. There are many meetings
that go on like this. To me, I think what
we need to also be seeing is
disability, not just as a separate area
for discourse, but where disability
is being integrated across the work that’s going
on, in convenings like this, and being creative, and looking
at other kinds of convenings that can happen that are not
just also based at Harvard, but where you are
bringing universities from around the United States
and outside of the United States who are really doing
some of the critical work on looking at what needs to
happen and what is happening, looking at promising
practices, and looking at– I think that’s where
we’re at right now. We’re at promising practices. I also feel that the
disability community– students, alumni, faculty– have
to become much more demanding. The reality is, diversity on
many of our university campuses is not happening because the
leadership of the universities woke up one morning
and said, wow, we recognize we are not
diverse like our society, and we are going
to step forward, and we are going
to lead the way. That is not what has happened. And so the absence of the
voices of disabled people, really, I think,
needs to move forward. We need– you know,
there’s complexities, because on the college campuses,
students come and they go. When you get accepted to
Harvard or any university, your goal, being
there, is to learn. Your goal is to graduate. Your goal is to be
able to move forward. And yes, you’re
involved in helping– some people are involved
in helping to set up committees and do work. But those come and go. And when you talk to
people on college campuses, the issue of disabled students
groups coming and going is an issue. Which is why I don’t think
it’s the disabled students themselves that should be
the sole bearers of what’s going on. We’ve talked today about the
number of disabled individuals who don’t disclose. That is true for alumni. And I think it’s
really important to look at alumni, like
Harvard, and really look at who are
some of the donors who have relationships
to disability themselves, or others in their family. And to begin to get the
discourse of what Harvard, as an institution,
wants to be doing to play a leadership role. Getting senior people
within the institution to be talking about the
importance of diversity, including disability in
diversity, is very important. This should not be an issue
that’s really so sidelined. So I hope that one
outcome of today’s meeting is obviously a working
group that would allow this to move forward. But I really also
think there needs to be a meeting with the
leadership of the university, with the board of directors
and the board of trustees to really address
the issue of why is the absence of disability
still so prevalent. And yes, you’re all
doing fantastic work. But one doesn’t want
to have to worry about, when a Tom Hare retires,
what’s going to happen? When a Michael Stein retires,
what’s going to happen? Now both Michael and
Cheri are going to be here for a number of years. But on a serious note, Harvard,
as a leader in other areas, is seen and known as
a leader because it puts its time, and
commitment, and money forward. Harvard needs to step up. The president of
the Ford Foundation, in the last couple of years,
as Ford has been moving forward on integrating
disability into its work, they are setting up a council
for directors of foundations. It was convening in July,
where heads of foundations were invited. The meeting was called for by
Darren Walker, the president. And they’re moving
forward in that area. That is a real issue
and sign of commitment, when the head of a foundation
like the Ford Foundation is stepping forward
and saying, not only we know that we haven’t
done what we need to do, and this is what we
are beginning to do, but we also want to engage a
broader community of donors in this discussion. So I really think, at the end of
the day, this convening today, to be meaningful,
and to really reward the people who took the time and
energy to bring this forward, legacy is what we need
to be able to talk about. So in a three to five
year period of time, what are the goals
and objectives that should be coming
out of this meeting? Nothing changes quickly. Universities don’t
change quickly. We know that. But a public display from the
leadership of the institution combined with meetings
and discussions with both students,
faculty, and alumni, to look at where you are,
where you need to go, and how you want to get there,
and being proactive about it, playing a role like the
Ford Foundation is doing, that’s where I think
Harvard needs to go. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] – So with that, our program
is coming to a close. Thank you, Judy. Oh, you’re welcome. Are you speaking? Nobody else is saying anything? – No, we’re done. [LAUGHTER] Why would we– that was the
highest note that we could on, the call to action, which I
think everybody in this room takes very seriously. So we can’t thank you enough
for providing those closing remarks very poignantly. We know that people
probably have places to be. And our formal
program has ended. Again, please– I
hope it’s OK for me to say this on
behalf of Radcliffe. Please continue to network. Please get to know one
another, and talk– exchange information. I think the quote came out
earlier with regard to– – Together, we’ll
move forward farther.” So let’s hopefully use this
as a legacy in that regard. – And let’s all join in
the moment in thanking our speakers, panelists,
staff, the Radcliffe Institute, our ASL translators, people
doing CART, we don’t see– that’s going out on streaming– all the volunteers, and everyone
else who have enabled today’s event to occur. So please join us. Wonderful, thank you. [MUSIC PLAYING] [APPLAUSE]

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