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Dr. Young is it true only 12 students in wheelchairs attend Rutgers?

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    Dr. Young is it true only 12 students in wheelchairs attend Rutgers?

    I finally managed to get a meeting with 2 faculty/administration personnel from Rutgers this week, involved with the recreation program. They heard what I had to say and where very interested. One of the officials at the meeting was previously involved in adaptive sports at the pre-college level in New Jersey, so he knows there are enough to get a program going. At the meeting he admitted he thought there were only 12 student's out of over 40,000 that are enrolled that use wheelchairs. It got him thinking as to why this is so. This causes more concern than just wheelchair sports. Are those figures anywhere near accurate? I, myself, could not believe that. When I asked him if anyone was working on adaptive sports as a possibility at Rutgers he said no. He said he was never approached before by anyone from the University. Is Rutgers that unaccessible a university that out of over forty thousand students only 12 are in wheelchairs? Seems like a big deficiency that needs to be addressed, even more so than adaptive sports.

    #2
    Isn't that an alarming percentage?

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      #3
      BigBob, thanks and sorry but I did not see this. If you have a chance, let's talk about this. This is good that you have met somebody who is concerned. Rutgers is an accessible university. Howevver, when I asked for data, nobody knew. The current VPSA is a good man and I think will listen. Perhaps this is an opportunity. Let's see what we can do to leverage this situation. Wise.

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        #4
        Bob, how is it a deficiency? I attended a university of approx 16,000+ students & guess how many students used wheelchairs for full-time mobility the entire time while I was there?

        One.

        There were two other students w/ serious enough mobility impairments that they sometimes used either a w/c or a scooter, but neither were 100% dependent on them to get around.

        Would I say there was a deficiency there? No, how could I? Not enough people had serious physical disabilities? Please; you can't set a quota on that. The campus isn't accessible? It certainly is.

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          #5
          Let's see what we can do to leverage this situation. Wise.
          Thanks, But, I can handle it myself [img]/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif[/img]
          I rather you be busy in your lab, where you can do the most good.

          The one thing that impressed me is this guy who would be responsible for putting the program together was never contacted by any of the people I contacted. Seems they were more concerned about their risk assessment of not offering a program than looking into the feasibility of one. When I mentioned that they both nodded [img]/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif[/img]

          BTW, if Rutgers had an adaptive sports program they could have been invited to attend the Rally for the Cure or even the March on Washington.

          [This message was edited by BigB on 02-25-05 at 08:30 AM.]

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            #6
            Originally posted by scott pruett:

            Bob, how is it a deficiency? I attended a university of approx 16,000+ students & guess how many students used wheelchairs for full-time mobility the entire time while I was there?

            _One._

            There were two other students w/ serious enough mobility impairments that they sometimes used either a w/c or a scooter, but neither were 100% dependent on them to get around.

            Would I say there was a deficiency there? No, how could I? Not enough people had serious physical disabilities? Please; you can't set a quota on that. The campus isn't accessible? It certainly is.
            well, yes you can set a quota on it, been done for blacks, women, etc.

            but the real concern is, why, outta 16,000 students, there would only be 1 w/c user. that makes no sense.

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              #7
              Originally posted by cass:

              well, yes you can set a quota on it, been done for blacks, women, etc.

              but the real concern is, why, outta 16,000 students, there would only be 1 w/c user. that makes no sense.
              do you propose the school try to recruit disabled people or something? I don't think this is a comparable statistic to that of ethnic minorities and gender quotas. Our demographic is too broad I think. Also, the thing preventing disabled enrollment is usually based on the individual rather than the institution. i'm interested to know where the opinions lie here. we have 2 people here out of about 4,000 but also before the 2 of us I would venture to say they have probably only had a few among the thousands of students coming through.
              Godspeed...
              freewheelchairmission.org

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                #8
                I attended a large state university with 20,000+ students. I'd say there were around 10 people in chairs during my years there. And the campus was very accessible.

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                  #9
                  I attended Hofstra. A pretty friendly gimp school. Just because students use a chair they aren't athlete material.


                  There were @ 20 w/c users. Some with very severe limited motor movements. Most were not SCI and were born with some birth issue.
                  Get involved in politics as if your life depended on it, because it does. -- Justin Dart

                  I shall not tolerate ignorance or hate speech on this site.

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                    #10
                    I think what this points out is that the Universities that aren't pro-active, and shelf any adaptive programs until they are forced into it, have very few students in wheelchairs. By being pro-active the U of Illinois is able to get over 120 high school students just from Illinois alone, to attend a summer camp and eventually attend the University. Even students in wheelchairs that do not participate in any adaptive sports are much more likely to attend a University that has them, as they won't feel so singled out, and that University has shown a desire to welcome them, has more knowledge of the situation, and probably because of the larger number of wheelchair students, would have an expanded DRC(disability Resource Center). My son when in High School was the only student in a wheelchair, and all the faculty was able to do was scratch their heads.
                    It was nice when he went to college the University he attends did not have to go through a learning experience of how to deal with his disability, and rather my son learned from their experience.

                    [This message was edited by BigB on 02-25-05 at 09:21 AM.]

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by Liz321:

                      Just because students use a chair they aren't athlete material.
                      Despite being obsessively Cure oriented as many of you know and Jason as a quad unable to participate, I feel there should be equal opportunity at recreation for all. That would include wheelchair sports programs at most major schools. I put that on par with accessibility issues.

                      ~ People acting together as a group can accomplish things which no individual acting alone could ever hope to bring about. - Franklin D. Roosevelt ~ www.CureParalysisNow.org

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                        #12
                        I want to support BigB in his argument. We know that there are at least 250,000 American citizens who are in wheelchairs and many of them are college age. The fact that Rutgers, the third largest university in the United States with over 50,000 students, has less than 0.01% of its student body in wheelchairs is not okay. It means that people who are in wheelchairs are not going to college or do not apply to Rutgers. In New Jersey alone, I don't know how many people of college age are in wheelchairs. But, I would hazard a guess that there are more than 12. I want to say, however, that they simply may not know how many students at Rutgers are in wheelchairs. I also want to point out that we must think not only about people in wheelchairs but disabilities of all sorts. While wheelchairs are an emblem of a particular type of disability, we must include all disabilities. So, if there is anything that I can do to help, BigB, please know that you have my support. My highest priority is of course research in the laboratory and getting clinical trials going. However, I also believe, as many of you know, that we must feed and take care of the brain. In every posting that I have made about what people should do, I have emphasized that they must not neglect their education. There is a very high correlation between quality of life after spinal cord injury and education. Rutgers is a wonderful university and it is a shame that more people with disabilities are not taking advantage of what it is offering.

                        Wise.

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                          #13
                          I spent about ten years altogether as a student at a large research I university, and now I'm teaching at a community college. I must say, I never noticed students in wheelchairs when I was a student (although I had one professor who was in a power chair due to MS). Now, it's a rare day that I don't walk past three or four wheelchair users on my way to class! I cannot be 100% certain that it isn't because I notice this more now, but I mean it's a LOT. The handicapped parking spaces (and there are many) are always full, and I see vans.

                          I've been pondering this ever since I noticed. Another thing that is quite noticeable is the seemingly higher percentage of students of color. I don't think anyone needs to look any further than that to see how much it takes in family resources, time and $$ commitment, to send someone to college. Or maybe just in the confidence that the student can be successful. Being economically or otherwise disadvantaged clearly changes your choices, if not your options.

                          I have no idea if there are wheelchair sports or anything like that at either school, although there is a disability services center at both, and for the first time, I have disabled students in my classes (none in chairs though). I never had to deal with disability services in five semesters of teaching (as a grad student) at the research I university. Nor was I ever aware of disabled students alongside me as a student, although it might not be obvious.

                          It's been a real eye opener!

                          *************
                          AB wife of T8 complete para
                          *************
                          AB wife of T8 complete para

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                            #14
                            I went to a very small college and there was 8 students who used w/cs out of about 1000, but it was very diverse
                            - Moody

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by Moody:

                              I went to a very small college and there was 8 students who used w/cs out of about 1000, but it was very diverse
                              That is amazing - what school? My son went to a small New England College with a diverse group of students and he was the only one in a w/c out of about 2,000 students for the entire four years (high school in NJ too). Even though the school was not 100% accessible, neither is life. It was a wonderful experience for him and the administration did their best (and did stretch their budget) to accommodate his needs. He used the pool, the weight room, his racer in nice weather, and participated in many activities. The University of Illinois at Urbanna is really unique, but every school can't support a w/c basketball team let alone find 5 students in w/c's who want to compete. In my opinion he went to College to learn, to grow socially, and find some life-long athletic activities to continue after school. Also, every "disabled student" is NOT in a w/c.
                              Congrats to BigB for making great progress and for opening our eyes, but perhaps the answer is not only w/c sports, but adaptive recreation for all. Bigb, next ask for 10% of the Football Team Budget.
                              Carl

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