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University leaders tour University of Missouri-Columbia campus in wheelchairs

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John Fougere

October 13, 2015

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe along with MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, MU Provost Garnett Stokes, leaders of the MU Disability Center and students, took a tour of MU’s campus in wheelchairs to shed light on the importance of accessibility and inclusion for individuals with disabilities.

Wolfe was challenged, in June, during a memorial service held for past UM System President Elson Floyd to take this tour. MU Associate Professor Jerry Hitzhusen noted that, to his knowledge, Floyd was the only able-bodied president to have toured the campus in a wheelchair. Hitzhusen then challenged Wolfe to do the same.

“As leader of our four-campus university, I understand the importance of making each person – all faculty, staff and students – as comfortable as possible while they’re on any of our campuses,” Wolfe said. “Not just from a physical standpoint, but also from a technological point-of-view, our campuses are doing what we can to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity and access to pursue an education.”

The tour was aligned in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990. ADA prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities and transportation.  Following the tour, a ceremony was held in recognition of Celebrate Ability Week, an annual event on the MU campus that highlights the valuable contributions and diverse skills people with disabilities bring to the campus and to society.

“Today, I’m grateful for this opportunity – to see this beautiful campus from a different perspective is enlightening and something I would encourage others to do,” Wolfe said. “Diversity, in all facets, is an issue the university takes seriously as we strive to foster safe and respectful environments on our campuses.”

Under Wolfe’s leadership, the UM System has strengthened its capacity to comply with Title IX laws which cover all forms of discrimination. For more information on the university’s EEO policy, visit http://www.umsystem.edu/ums/rules/collected_rules/personnel/ch320/320.010_Equal_Employment_Opportunity_Policy.