The University Faculty Senate Committee on Disabilities Issues
The City University of New York

Enabling Access to Excellence

What's Happening at CUNY?

Some of our students

Reasonable Accommodations
CUNY Procedures for Requesting / Implementing Reasonable Accomodations: A comprehensive piece for Faculty, Staff, Students, Visitors, etc.

Students: CUNY's Office of Student Affairs now publishes the CUNY guide Reasonable Accommodations: A Faculty Guide to Teaching Students with Disabilities.  The Third Edition (2001) is available in pdf format on Baruch's web site at . We have copied it from that site so that it  resides on our site as well at  This guide was published and updated in the past (the first publication was in 1988) by the Professional Staff Congress / CUNY, in cooperation with the CUNY Committee on Student Disability Issues.

Faculty and Staff: The University Faculty Senate passed a resolution in May 2002 with recommendations related to Faculty / Staff Reasonable Accommodations; a copy of the resolution as taken from the UFS meeting minutes at is posted on this site.  The Disabilities Issues Committee's Focus Group Report addressed a number of related issues, especially in the section of the report on Employment. 

Web Sites and Technology Accessibility
Information technology creates extraordinary opportunity to promote people with disabilities' full participation in all aspects of CUNY life.   However, IT also has the unprecedented potential to create a "digital divide" that leaves the University's more than 11,000 students, faculty, and staff with disabilities behind.

This web site is an outgrowth of a continuing partnership between the CUNY University Faculty Senate (UFS) and CUNY Office of Computing and Information Services (CUNY/CIS).  It began in conjuntion with our first co-sponsored conference in Spring 2001 as an effort to help CUNY faculty, staff and students become aware of technology access issues for people with disabilities, and to address them together.  CUNY has developed and posted a Statement on Accessibility on the University's web site, and a link to it is at the bottom of many CUNY web pages.

Some campuses have begun to incorporate accessibility issues into all of their general technology training programs and into their planning.

Campus Services, Centers, Library Access and Other Resources
Each CUNY campus has an Office for Students With Disabilities or Office of Special Services for Students With Disabilities, providing a variety of services and resources.

We have prepared a broader list of a variety of campus resources for people with disabilities.  See the campus services links that we located on the web
.  Some campuses also have major assistive technology centers.  These include:

Baruch College's Computer Center For Visually Impaired People (CCVIP) -
The Computer Center for Visually Impaired People (CCVIP), established in 1978 at Baruch College, CUNY, was one of the first organizations to use computers to help equalize opportunities for people with severe visual impairments. For almost a quarter century, CCVIP has used computers equipped with the latest assistive technology: speech synthesizers, print enlargement, and braille printers - to help visually impaired people achieve their educational, professional and personal goals. The Center is part of Baruch's division of Continuing and Professional Studies, and as such makes its resources available to the community at large as well as to CUNY. 

From an August 2004 press release by NYS Attorney General Elliot Spitzer at entitled "SPITZER AGREEMENT TO MAKE WEB SITES ACCESSIBLE TO THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED": "...The Attorney General also extended his thanks to the American Foundation for the Blind, for its invaluable assistance, as well as to the Baruch College Computer Center for Visually Impaired People..."

Among their other many projects is the Talking Kiosk at Penn Station.  From the CCVIP website:Baruch's Talking Kiosk - Penn Station

Baruch College Computer Center for Visually Impaired People launched the country's first permanent way-finding kiosk in New York City's Penn Station July 1999. This Talking Kiosk  was funded by Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and is now permanently located in the LIRR terminal, adjacent to the waiting room, on the Seventh Avenue or east side of the station, lower level.

CUNY Assistive Technology Services (CATS) -  and  :
Queens College hosts the CUNY Assistive Technology Services (CATS) Project.  Located in the Rosenthal Library Room 313, CATS serves as a University resource for assessment and training to address assistive technology needs.  Among the adaptive technologies available through CATS are computers with screen readers and enlargers; voice recognition systems; Braille translation software and Braille printers; text reading systems; closed circuit televisions; alternative input devices; and software for students with learning disabilities.  Contact CATS by phone at 718-997-3775 or email at .

An article was published on page 3 of the Winter 1998 issue of CUNY Matters, entitled "BROOKLYN’S GOLDSTEIN CENTER: Assistive Resources For Disabled Students."  The issue is on the web at , and the article is available here on our CUNY Access site in an html version at

The CUNY web site has a new page under the CUNY Jobs heading with links to many CUNY resources as well as to other resources.

CUNY Matters Article - June 2004, page 8
The June 2004 Issue of CUNY Matters included a half-page article and picture highlighting an event we co-sponsored with Baruch's CCVIP in April 2004 for CUNY Disability Awareness Month, as well as our website and other related activities.  An html version of the article is at . The pdf version is at
On the same page of  this issue of CUNY Matters  is an article entitled "CUNYTECH Unveils Career Manual for Students with Disabilities."

Comprehensive Focus Group Report
On December 16, 2003, The University Faculty Senate Committee on Disabilities Issues held a Focus Group to assist with the University's preparation of the disabilities issues section of CUNY's Regents Master Plan.  The cross-campus group of participants explored a wide range of topics and made many recommendations for that report as well as for the enhancement of CUNY policies and procedures. Categories addressed included: Facilities, Curricula, Technology, Employment, and Policy. Each section of the report details: Barriers, Recommended CUNY Actions, and Recommended State Actions. The complete report of that focus group is available here. Select [HTML format] or [PDF Format].  The Committee offers its thanks to Executive Vice Chancellor Louise Mirrer for her assistance in organizing this focus group and for her active participation in the process by which the group identified key access issues at CUNY.  

The following major conferences and related programs have been sponsored by the University Faculty Senate Committee on Disabilities Issues. All have utilized cross-campus groups of faculty and staff as presenters.

A Disability Awareness Celebration, at Baruch College April 22, 2004 - Information, handout and pictures at
As part of CUNY's Disability Awareness Month - April 2004, The University Faculty Senate cosponsored this Disability Awareness Celebration  with Baruch's Computer Center for Visually Impaired People (CCVIP) and the CUNY Office of University Relations, at Baruch College.  "...CCVIP announced a new accessibility partnership with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. As part of this celebration, we also highlighted our focus group report and exemplary programs, faculty and staff research initiatives with a disability focus..."

Ramping the "Digital Divide": Accessible IT for People with Disabilities - November 2002 -
This 45 minute Concurrent Session was part of the CUNY Information and Instructional Technology Conference - November 15, 2002.  The session was sponsored by the UFS.  The post-conference materials and listing of the day's events are on the web at .

Enabling Access to Excellence: The Disability Challenge - May 2001 -
This May 2001 CUNY Conference was a full day program devoted to technology accessibility.  It was co-sponsored by the University Faculty Senate (UFS) and CUNY/CIS, with the strong support and participation of Vice Chancellor Sherry Brabham.

More related conferences and conference sessions are listed in the listings of conferences, research, grants and other work on this site.

Requirements and Courses 
At some CUNY campuses, some students who are fluent in American Sign Language may be able to use that fluency to meet the foreign language requirement.  At those schools, the Academic Advisement Office and the Special Services Office will probably be the places to get  detailed information about procedures that must be followed for evaluation of ASL fluency for this purpose.

We have begun to develop a listing of disabilities studies and related courses offered within the University.  See the listing of courses and programs  we have identified so far.

Faculty Research
We have begun to develop a listing of faculty who have received grants
for disability-related research, in order to highlight possible resources on different aspects of disabilities and disabilities studies.  We started with information available on  the CUNY Research Foundation's web site, and the listing currently posted is the result of a series of web-based searches of grants done on that site.  To do some additional searching yourself, see one of the searches we did at  To search for another keyword from that page, select "New Search" from the bottom of the page.  See the listings of conferences, research, grants and other work we have identified so far.

Summary of Projects of The UFS Committee on Disabilities Issues

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