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Disability Support Services Changes to Disability and Accessibility Services

Changes are coming for one of Loyola’s most prominent student support networks.

As the new academic year begins at Loyola, what was once Disability Support Services has transitioned into Disability and Accessibility Services (DAS).

On Aug. 2, the office announced the change in their office via their Instagram account. Marcia Wiedefeld, the director of DAS, said this change was years in the making.

“Over the past five or so years, colleagues, students, and parents have voiced concern about the word ‘disability’ in our name because they felt like it deterred students from seeking accommodations,” said Wiedefeld. 

With the DAS office relocating from Newman Towers to Maryland Hall this semester, Wiedefeld said that the timing was ideal for the transition. 

“Over the years, we have researched and vetted new names, but DAS’s move to Maryland Hall 141 was the impetus that spurred the change. Our move to a new, prominent space on campus presented the perfect opportunity to rebrand the new office with a new name.”

The office sought and received feedback from both current and former students, as well as administrators and faculty. As a result, the office concluded that the change in name would better reflect their role on campus, as well as their goal of making Loyola more universally accessible.

“We hope that adding the word ‘accessibility’ will highlight the importance of creating inclusive and accessible courses, spaces, and programs within our community,” said Wiedefeld.

According to the DAS page on Loyola’s website, the office aims to provide services that allow students with disabilities equal opportunity on Loyola’s campus by eliminating physical, programmatic, attitudinal, or electronic barriers that may be in a student’s way. After consulting with a student, DAS discerns and provides appropriate support and modifications so that they can fully experience life at Loyola.  

With the change in name, Wiedefeld hopes that more students will be comfortable reaching out to the office and utilizing their services.

“We plan to continue educating the Loyola community about how they can make facilities, electronic documents, and events accessible for everyone. Hopefully, more students will come talk to us about the accommodation review process.” 

According to Wiedefeld, the ultimate goal of the change to DAS is to increase awareness and usher in better access and more inclusion within the Loyola community.

“Disability is a valued identity group under the umbrella of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Including accessibility in our name is a commitment that the University is proactively and responsively meeting our students’ diverse needs and improving their experiences with access and inclusion at Loyola,” said Wiedefeld.

To learn more about Disability and Accessibility Services and how the office may help you, email [email protected] or visit the DAS office at their new location in Maryland Hall 141.

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