Center for Inclusive Excellence to hold workshops throughout spring semester

Written By Erin Yudt, Editor-Elect

The Center for Inclusive Excellence (CIE) will be holding monthly workshops this semester in their “Access in Action” series, discussing topics of disability politics, identity and advocacy.


According to the Center for Inclusive Excellence website, “these four, once-a-month workshops will make connections between history, social constructs, civil rights, and activism that can frame and inform our disability allyship presently. Together, we will realize we are all good enough to make impacts now (and moving forward) towards the more active inclusion of disability communities’ influence on campus. Successful completion of workshops will award individual badges. Participants who complete the series and tasks will receive a first-edition certificate.”


“These sessions are a result of continued accessibility talks as to how we can help faculty, staff and students on campus in honoring and recognizing those with disabilities,” Sarah Perrier, director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence, said. “We’re starting broad then working toward more specific topics.”


The sessions will be held in a hybrid format. Interested participants can meet in-person in Academic Hall 307. All sessions will be hosted by Cole Eskridge, director of accessibility services, and the CIE. 


Parrier says that the goal of these sessions is to “minimize the barriers between authority and students.”


“I always tell people that my job is to help people feel like they belong here,” Perrier said. “Access does not just help those who are disabled but everyone around them. We want to plan ahead of time so that they [those with disabilities] are not an afterthought because they are not. We want to be as inclusive as possible so all students can be set up for success equally.” 


Last academic year, the office was separate from accessibility services in the Center for Student Success under the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI). OEI had three main components: student accommodations, compliance with the law, which covers the Title IX Office, and diversity training and events. The university announced last spring that the office, previously located on the first floor of the Student Center, would be dispersed back to its original locations. Disability services went back to its original office location of the Center for Student Success.


Julianne Bailey, a sophomore legal studies major, is “confused” about the CIE office. 


“What does CIE do?” Bailey said. “I think these workshops are great, but it just made more sense when we had the Office of Equity and Inclusion. I think they did a great job about advocacy on campus.”


Kassady Burke, a sophomore legal studies major, agrees. 


“I have not seen much for diversity trainings,” Burke said. “But I think the campus community is great overall about being kind to everyone, so these workshops just add support.”


Their first workshop entitled  “Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Cultural History and Historic Impacts of Ableism” was postponed and will be rescheduled. 

The next session “Recognition, at last? The (Ongoing) Fight for Civil Rights” will be held on Monday, February 13 from 4:20 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. All sessions will be held at this time. The third session “Nothing About Us, Without Us: Disability Identity and Justice” will be held on Monday, March 13. The fourth and final session “Disability Solidarity: Allyship Action Planning” will be held on Monday, April 3. You can register for the sessions on their page on the university website.