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Departmental Accessibility Resource Coordinators

What's in a Name?

A “bottom-up and top down approach” calls for Departmental Accessibility Resource Coordinators (DARC) being visible in every campus department. Hence, the word Departmental is key to the acronym. Some of our ACCESS-ed Partners, who served as inspiration in the development of this concept, have utilized this concept for several years. 

At the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and at UW - LaCrosse, the term for these representatives was and remains AARC, which stands for Access and Accommodation Resource Coordinators.  It was in the advent of the ADA that these AARC representatives were chosen or appointed on their respective campuses. Their purpose was to be a resource to their department regarding individualized accommodations, which became mandated with the passing of ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

It is hoped that in the years to come, campuses will choose to move in the direction of greater accessibility through the use of universal design in student services, instruction, information media and technology, and in physical access.

It took me several years of struggling with the heavy door to my building, sometimes having to wait until a person stronger came along, to realize that the door was an accessibility problem, not only for me, but for others as well. And I did not notice, until one of my students pointed it out, that the lack of signs that could be read from a distance at my university forced people with mobility impairments to expend a lot of energy unnecessarily, searching for rooms and offices. Although I have encountered this difficulty myself on days when walking was exhausting to me, I interpreted it, automatically, as a problem arising from my illness (as I did with the door), rather than as a problem arising from the built environment having been created for too narrow a range of people and situations.

Susan Wendell, author of
The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability