An exhibit detailing disability history takes visitors through time.

“Building a Barrier-Free Campus: The History of Accessibility at UT Arlington” chronicles contributions faculty and alumni like Joseph Rowe, John Dycus, Sam Provence and Jim Hayes have made to the disability community , beginning in the mid-1960s through today. Currently, the exhibit is on display in Central Library’s sixth floor parlor room.

The exhibit consists of pictures and written histories of important people and events, like the formation of the Movin’ Mavs wheelchair basketball team in 1976 and English graduate student Andy Beck, whose death while crossing Cooper Street led to discussions about pedestrian safety.

“UTA has really led in disability rights,” exhibit curator Sarah Rose said.

Adaptive sports are part of disability rights as well, the disability studies minor director said. Some with disabilities wouldn’t have gone to college, or even thought about attending, without the opportunity adaptive sports offers.

Some students with physical disabilities don’t register for accommodations from The Office for Students with Disabilities because the campus is very accessible already, Rose said.

The library’s Special Collections and Archives are collections of Texas history, and disability history is another aspect of that, special collections department head Brenda McClurkin said.

Rose’s students are continuing to grow the collection with oral history through audio and transcripts, McClurkin said, and encouraging those they interview to contribute their papers on the subject.

Disability history isn’t taught , said Trevor Engel, disability studies minor assistant and fellow curator. It’s important for people to learn that history.

“Disabled people are the largest minority,” Rose said. “It’s 20 percent of the population, and it’s the only one people can join, or will join if you live long enough.”

An event celebrating the 40th anniversaries of the Movin’ Mavs Wheelchair Basketball Program and independent living provider Helping Restore Ability will happen noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday in the Central Library’s sixth floor parlor room.

Doug Garner, Movin’ Mavs head coach, will speak on the growth of adaptive sports and how it fits into equal opportunity and integration.

Vicki Niedermayer, CEO of Helping Restore Ability, is speaking at the event about her organization’s work to deinstitutionalize state schools, nursing homes and other work for people with disabilities’ rights.

There are plans to digitize the exhibit and make it available online by Oct. 30, Rose said.

“Building a Barrier-Free Campus” will be on display until Jan. 31, 2017 and is sponsored by the disability studies minor program, the Office for Students with Disabilities, Movin’ Mavs Adapted Sports and Campus Recreation, UTA Libraries, Helping Restore Ability, Department of Political Science, Department of History and the College of Liberal Arts Festival of Ideas Global Research Institute.


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