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UCLA Plans Upgrading of Facilities for Handicapped

March 05, 1987|BARBARA BAIRD | Times Staff Writer

In response to complaints that UCLA has provided the handicapped inadequate access to its buildings and academic programs, changes are being made to make the campus more available to the disabled, officials said this week.

"This is a major effort on the part of the university to make the campus more accessible," said spokeswoman Shell S. Amegah.

The university is implementing improvements suggested by a task force appointed by Chancellor Charles E. Young, she said.

Campus Protest

Young established the UCLA Disability Compliance Task Force in June after the California Assn. of the Physically Handicapped staged a protest on campus to express its "extreme dissatisfaction" with UCLA's policies and facilities for the disabled.

At the time of the protest, association members complained that UCLA had failed to provide a "compliance officer" to oversee programs for the disabled, as mandated by federal law.

Jane Small, president of the association's West Los Angeles chapter, said that at the time of the June protest, UCLA had 141 disabled students out of an enrollment of 32,000.

After the demonstration, Young appointed an official to oversee programs for the disabled and set up the task force representing faculty, students, staff, alumni and the community. Its purpose was "to make UCLA as barrier-free as possible, within the constraints of our geography and to provide outreach and support services which are fully responsive to the needs of disabled individuals," Young said.

The task force report calls for a number of significant organizational and architectural changes, some of which already are being implemented, officials said. The suggestions include:

Establishment of special outreach programs to recruit disabled students from Los Angeles County high schools and community colleges.

Installation of telecommunications devices for the deaf and Braille instruction plates on campus emergency telephones.

Modification of more than 100 elevators in buildings throughout campus.

Purchase of a new van for use by the Office for Students with Disabilities.

Painting curbs for handicapped parking.

Update and completion of building directories with handicapped access information.

Other changes will include construction of permanent ramps for the disabled on Bruin Walk, a major campus walkway, disabled staff and faculty outreach programs and instructional support for the disabled.

A recently released survey of UCLA buildings recommended that improvements be made to provide greater handicapped access to parking lots, swimming pools and 105 buildings on campus. The survey, made public in January, was conducted by the UCLA architecture and engineering departments and consultants CHT Associates of Sacramento.

The task force will review the survey soon and will incorporate into the university's long-range plans the survey's recommendations and those of another advisory group, the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on the Disabled, officials said.

The cost of implementing the recommendations has not been determined, according to university officials. Funding will come from UCLA departmental budgets and long-range funding sources include the state capital outlay program, the campus maintenance budget and other university resources, officials said.

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