The Commission’s Response to the Daily Universe Article June 6th, 2019:
It is unfortunate to see that the Daily Universe has decided to publish a misleading and false narrative. Despite this misinformation, we will continue to work with BYU to help current students and future students. Please view our prior statement on the Universe on May 25th here, and a comprehensive analysis of the article here. Kendra Muller is passionate about working to help accessibility any way she can and the portrayal that she has ulterior motives is completely false. She has helped with social media outreach and has been a guinea pig to test the Portal door device, like many other students in wheelchairs at BYU. She has helped Portal Entryways because she thinks it can be a huge benefit to disabled people, but is not rewarded with any commission for sales. The text from the report says: “BYU should actively seek ways to help its students by implementing different doors systems that students have specified. This includes Portal Entryways, or fob controlled doors, installed at Heritage Halls.” The Commission used Portal Entryways as an example of an accessible door system, because it was started by BYU students, tested by disabled students at BYU, and because administration was already familiar with it. We are very excited for any improvements BYU is making by integrating Kindoo to help its students. This was a product unknown to the Commission and any of the disabled community members we spoke with. The Commission is, of course, supportive of all BYU-led accessibility ideas that would benefit BYU students, including: Portal Entryways, SpeechCloud, and Accessible Maps by the BYU All Access Club, Gender Neutral bathrooms project, transportation to devotionals for those with mobility disabilities, and a recent renovation project to make the BYU Gym more accessible. The Commission has recommended that BYU test and implement accessibility improvements designed by BYU’s own students. The Commission stands by the statement that BYU has thus far “failed to do so.”
We refer anyone with questions to view our findings themselves. Our approach is to provide a platform for students with disabilities to give their experiences and provide a comprehensive database of these experiences so that recommendations can be implemented. The individual experiences of students are powerful and cannot be ignored. To completely disregard any of the student experiences is irresponsible. Each should be thoroughly considered and evaluated to determine what that experience teaches regarding inclusion efforts.
The Commission’s Response to the Salt Lake Tribune Article June 2nd, 2019:
On June 2nd, 2019 The Salt Lake Tribune published an article on the Equal Access and Disability Rights Commission and its goals for BYU. This article details the methodology of the Commission and the rights of disabled students. We applaud the efforts of the Tribune in providing a space for disabled voices. We urge all to research our the Commission's findings here. Our research is also triangulated by several other academic research articles published by BYU professors on accessibility at BYU. Find these complementary sources of research here.
The Commission’s Response to Brigham Young University:
We welcome the BYU administration and the Disability Standards Compliance Committee to respond to the Commission and work collaboratively with disabled students to start addressing feasible solutions. In the motto of the disability rights community, ‘Nothing About Us Without Us,’ we seek to work together. The Commission’s research hinges on a methodology of truth commissions, a widely-practiced technique of transitional justice. Truth Commissions are a valid research technique and do not require individual statements to use legal jargon in explanations of their experiences. Some exaggerations are to be expected. Small discrepancies do not override evidence from personal experiences of students. It is not reasonable to expect disabled students to speak as in a court of law. Our research is also triangulated by several other academic research articles published by BYU professors on accessibility at BYU. Find these complementary sources of research here.
While we have not yet received any response to our recommendations from BYU administration, the Disability Standards Compliance Committee, and the University Accessibility Center, we are grateful to the many BYU professors who have responded. Many professors have asked what they can do to facilitate a better experience for disabled students in their classrooms. These faculty have promptly taken positive steps and used our resources to create better inclusivity for their students. We thank all those who have done so and hope others will follow suit.
Commissions Response to The Daily Universe May 25th, 2019
On May 25th, 2019 The Daily Universe reached out to write an article on the Commission, after deleting two articles, one of Kendra Muller published April 17th and one of the Commission written and published April 25th respectively. The April 17th article is found here and was taken down unknowingly. It has now been republished as of 6/11/2019. The April 25th article was a fake published under the reporters name. She petitioned to have it taken down because she did not write the article and was never informed it would be released. She also changed her major because of this instance. We have saved both of these articles in a database for historical purposes. We encourage truthful and accurate reporting and hope for a representative perspective from the university journalism. While we have advocated for all BYU students that have created unique and helpful things including Portal Entryways door opener, accessible maps, and technology to enhance transcription services, they are not affiliated with the research. The Commission’s case study concerning BYU is completed and an article is unnecessary, we acknowledge the Daily Universe’s commitment to excellence in wanting to complete the unfinished article. The Commission’s research continues to provide a resource for BYU’s community of students and faculty. We look forward to engaging and reading the completed article.
Commission’s Response to Channel 2 April 26th, 2019
In the Channel 2 News story that ran on Friday, April 26th, 2019 at approximately 6pm, we acknowledge that there were some exaggerated statements made, however, we appreciate the work of Brian Mullahy in reporting on these important issues. The story began by saying that we “accuse” BYU, and we feel that language does not accurately characterize our intentions. We hope to work together with BYU, not pursue legal action or simply shame the university. We specifically acknowledge that a relatively high percentage of the handicap doors do indeed work, but we feel that improvements can still be made in this area. We apologize for any exaggerations that were present in student statements from our Final Report. The news may sensationalize these issues, but the facts remain that disabled students are unable to access restrooms, have been denied accommodations, refused parking passes, and left stranded in buildings during fire drills. We are glad to hear that BYU is open to suggestions on how to improve accessibility and will be expecting a reply from administrators soon.