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New task forces assess strengths, make plans for more improvements

December 08, 2008

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Celestino Limas, Dean of Students in the College of Arts and Sciences, leads both of President Hochstettler’s newly formed task forces to address accessibility and substance use at Lewis & Clark.  The following update begins a series of monthly progress reports from Dean Limas.

Task Force on Accessibility

In addition to leading the completion of an elevator that connects all four floors of the Manor House, the Task Force on Accessibility is working hard to improve accessibility on all three campuses.

Last month, Dean Limas created the following subcommittees to examine accessibility, highlight improvements that have been made, and develop a plan for ensuring the campus is accessible:
•    IT/Web/Library (co-chaired by Morgan Grether, web content system manager, and Dan Terrio, chief technology officer)
•    Campus Education/Universal Design (chaired by Shavette McGhee, acting director, office of multicultural affairs)
•    Common Services Buildings/Residence Halls (chaired by Larry Atchison, facilities manager)
•    Academic Buildings (chaired by Larry Atchison)
•    Campus Grounds (chaired by Larry Atchison)
•    Off-Campus Programs (chaired by Erik Fast, director of corporate and foundation relations)
•    Resources (chaired by Celestino Limas)

“We’re looking at everything from digital to physical improvements,” Dean Limas said. “From building in filters that allow web pages to be viewed in different languages, to preparing our community members for good off campus experiences by looking at sites in Portland as well as overseas programs. The subcommittees will look at broad issues for now, and we’ll talk about prioritizing them in January.”

In order to begin assessing  compliance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA), Larry Atchison submitted a capital project request for an architect to perform an assessment of the Fir Acres and Law School campuses. A similar study was performed in the summer of 2007 on South Campus and all associated buildings. A report was completed with recommendations for ADA improvements by the statute’s priority level rating system and by location.

“When we create a learning opportunity on campus, what are we doing to make certain that it is accessible to everyone?” Dean Limas said. “There’s a difference between being in compliance with the ADA and doing what’s right and what’s ethical. ”

The task force plans to create a website that will serve as a repository for ideas with a tip line for community sharing by students, employees, and the Lewis & Clark community at large.

The next meeting for the Task Force on Accessibility is schedule for December 16.

Task Force on Substance Use and Abuse

The Task Force on Substance Use and Abuse, co-chaired by Dean Limas and Coordinator of Health Promotion and Wellness Melissa Osmond, is working to improve the way student drug use is assessed by the current Student Code of Conduct and Community Standards Process.

The following subcommittees met last week to begin their assessment work:
•    Peer/Institutional education efforts (chaired by Michael Ford, associate vice president for Campus Life)
•    Student Judicial Processes (chaired by Jenn Crowder, administrative coordinator for Campus Living)
•    Smoking (chaired by Chelene Glankler, graduate student)
•    Compliance with DFSCA (chaired by John Hancock, associate dean of students)
•    Campus policies (21 and over to consume in private, etc.) (chaired by Kris Codron, associate director of Human Resources)
•    Town & Gown (chaired by Winston Jones, special assistant to the dean of students)

“We’re looking at the process for evaluating substance policy violators, and the ways they can learn from their mistakes,” Dean Limas said. “We can be creative with these sanctions and still have an impact.”

In addition to the usual alcohol, drug, and tobacco use, Dean Limas has identified an increase in student’s prescription drug use. In some cases, students are trading their prescriptions, and using pharmaceuticals as study aides. The task force will also examine the risks associated with caffeine and energy drinks.

“It’s important to recognize the difference between substance use and abuse,” Dean Limas said. “We applaud the students that use wisely.”

The next meeting for the Task Force on Substance Use and Abuse is scheduled for January 29, 2009.