A Disability Cultural Center would be a university-funded administrative office serving as the central hub for resources and programs on disability as diversity. The Disability Cultural Center would be managed by a full-time staff director and other paid staff, such as a graduate student assistant. Initially, the Disability Cultural Center would be opened with a director at minimum, followed by the addition of other staff in future years. Eventually, the Disability Cultural Center would also be able to host student workers funded through federal work-study grants.
Relationship to Other Offices
The Disability Cultural Center would be housed initially under Student Affairs, and would operate parallel to the LGBTQ Center, the Women’s Center, and the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access (CMEA). In the long term, we support the creation of a central Office on Diversity and Inclusion (or the expansion of the Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity) to serve as the umbrella structure for all of Georgetown’s administrative diversity centers.
Funding for the Disability Cultural Center would need to include allocations for a.) staff salaries (initially only a director’s salary), b.) programming, c.) marketing/publicity, and d.) incidentals/overhead expenses. The funding model would mirror those of the LGBTQ Center and Women’s Center.
The Disability Cultural Center could be placed in Leavey Student Center after the next major renovations, in order to occupy space in the same building as the other diversity centers. Alternatively, the Disability Cultural Center could be housed in either the new Healy Student Center or the New South Student Center after the completion of construction.
Distinction from Disability Support Services
Like other universities in the U.S., Georgetown is required to have a disability support office responsible for providing and facilitating accommodations for students with disabilities. (This is the Academic Resource Center.) Georgetown also has a designated person responsible for addressing American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance across campus. (This is Rosemary Kilkenny, Vice President for Institutional Diversity & Equity.) A Disability Cultural Center is different from a disability support office because its focus is on diversity and community engagement. This is a broader scope and purpose. A Disability Cultural Center is not responsible for providing housing or academic accommodations for students, though a Disability Cultural Center’s staff could help to provide guidance and support in making access to accommodations easier for Hoyas with disabilities. A Disability Cultural Center can partner with the Academic Resource Center, but will also be in a unique position to work with the other diversity-focused centers—the Women’s Center, the LGBTQ Resource Center, the Center for Social Justice, and the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access—to promote diversity of all kinds across Georgetown. Currently, there is no administrative-level office recognizing disability as diversity.