Preventing Systemic Discrimination of Persons with Disabilities:  How You Can Initiate the First Steps

When/Where: 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm, Tues., April 9 and Wed., April 10, Room 462 Walter C. Langsam Library

Join UC Libraries for two workshops aimed at educating and promoting change and empathy related to the systemic discrimination of persons with disabilities – “Preventing Systemic Discrimination of Persons with Disabilities: How You Can Initiate the First Steps.” Matthew Sauer, assistant director of accessibility resources at UC Clermont College, will facilitate hands-on activities and develop individual stories to give attendees a foundation in the systematic discrimination of persons with disabilities and challenge them to determine what transformations and next steps they will take for themselves. The result of the workshops will be to envision a strategy for building a culture of inclusion at the university and in UC Libraries with the hope that the feedback from these sessions will lead to annual events regarding the impact of eliminating systemic intolerance in favor of equity. 

Overview of the sessions:

The first session will be divided between a history of discrimination against persons with disability in the United States to demonstrate the social construct of this concept of disability, which will lead us into a discussion of the nature and perception of disability in American society. Attendees will begin to explore the reality that we are all disabled over the arc of our life and how we might recognize this and respond to it.

The second session will continue this discussion as attendees look at how individual stories can help people see the built environment and ablest assumptions keep people from fully confronting and dismantling disability discrimination at our university using the library as a starting point.

RSVP requested. Lunch will be provided both days.

The workshops are funded by a mini grant from the UC Libraries RESPECT (Racial Equity Support Programming to Educate the Community Team). The committee sought proposals from UC Libraries faculty and staff for programming designed for the University of Cincinnati and its community that explicitly addresses the role that systemic racism plays within society.

Biographical information about Dr. Sauer:

I began my independent disability advocacy work in 1979 when I helped the disabled students at Wright State University take over the administration building and close the University to protest a new inaccessible apartment complex that was going to be built on campus. “People with disabilities do not wish to live independently” is what we were told. I began working at the disabilities services in 1980 and innovative program that assessed people coming into the University with disabilities as to their accommodation needs for success.

In 1994 I became involved in making sacred spaces in Ohio more accessible, working as a consultant with the inclusion network and helped guide United Way of Cincinnati in this area. During this time I was a public speaker on issues around disability throughout Southern Ohio. In 2001 began my work at the University of Cincinnati in the disability services office, began serving as member and chair of the Ohio persons with disability Council/opportunities for Ohioans with disability Council, Social Security advisory board on work incentives for persons with disability, therapeutic foster care board and other community organizations. The history of disability in American has been one of my research topics informing my teaching as an adjunct professor of history with a PhD in history. I currently consult with a number of organizations and assist individuals with disabilities to develop their own advocacy careers, graduate education and employment success in addition to being the assistant director of accessibility resources at Clermont College, adjunct professor of history and an instructor of mental health first aid.