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ASG appoints disability advocate

Reeves hopes to place more benches around the campus, braille numbers on number plates in Upham Hall and get involved with the second phase of Armstrong

By Lilya Nguyen, For The Miami Student

The more than 800 students at Miami registered with a disability now have an official representative in Associated Student Government (ASG).

The student senate voted unanimously Nov. 10 to approve Student Body President Joey Parizek's appointment of sophomore Rachel Reeves to become the Director of Student Disability Advocacy.

Reeves is studying Diplomacy and Global Politics and serves as secretary for Etheridge Hall. She is also an active member of many student organizations at Miami, like the Student Disability Advocacy Council, Model UN and College Democrats. She said these organizations give her an opportunity to hear a broad range of issues and concerns from some of the most underrepresented populations on Oxford's campus.

"I know there are a lot of problems and each individual requires specific accommodations, but I will try my best to solve as many problems as I can," Reeves said.

Reeves will be working with three to four senators from ASG to work on various issues. By the end of her first tenure, May 2016, Reeves hopes to convince the university to place more benches around the campus, braille numbers on number plates in Upham Hall and get involved with the second phase of Armstrong to install proper signage to help students navigate the building.

She also hopes to work with the Office of Disabilities Services to add an educational component for the students to learn more about different types of disabilities. Reeves said many students know about the office and its presence on this campus, but don't fully utilize the resources it offers.

"Our society as a whole is very ignorant towards the disability community, but I think Miami has done a decent job, especially through Disability Studies, in addressing this issue and helping make Miami more accessible to all," Maggard said. "That being said, there is still a lot that can be improved."

According to ASG by-laws, Student Body President has the power to appoint up to five directors at his discretion to serve as head of policy priorities. Parizek hopes that Reeve's passion for disability advocacy combined with ASG resources will bring progress to Miami.

"By the end of the school year, I hope to show solidarity with a minority group on campus and provide them with a voice. I want them to know that they are being heard," Parizek said. "I expect to see the priorities of the university shift more in line with the interests of our students with disabilities on campus and proactive measures being taken to support their success at Miami."

Reeves would like to use her role as Director of Student Disability Advocacy to consult and improve upon the existing university facilities based on her own experience at Miami. As a student with a disability herself, Reeves understands the importance of having accessible resources to accommodate all needs for students on this campus.

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Reeves met with the state legislature earlier this year and spoke about the issues that students with disabilities are facing every day at Miami. Parizek believes Reeves is a qualified candidate for the position.

"A lot of issues Rachel is addressing are near to her heart," Parizek said. "She will do a great job."

Reeves looks forward to suggestions and comments from students and staff so she can better serve the community.

"To be a voice of disability advocacy on this campus I need help from other people that are not like me," Reeves said. "They can add their own voice to it."