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Group unites students with disabilities

The Advocates for Carolina meet in the Union Monday afternoon to discuss how to make themselves and their disabilities more visible on campus.
The Advocates for Carolina meet in the Union Monday afternoon to discuss how to make themselves and their disabilities more visible on campus.

One group of UNC students feels that its voice has gone unheard — but the new student organization Advocates for Carolina seeks to remedy that problem.

The group, started by junior Katie Savage, aims to bring students with disabilities together and give them a voice on campus.

Savage, who has a prosthetic leg, came up with the idea for the group in August. It met for the first time this semester.

Savage said she was surprised by the lack of representation for students with disabilities when she transferred to UNC in the fall.

“I asked student services if there was any group on campus for students with disabilities,” she said.

When she learned there was not, she set out to create the group herself.

The group welcomes any student who feels that he or she can benefit from the group.

“It’s not just for students with disabilities — it’s for students who are impacted as well,” Savage said.

Junior Kevin Currin, a member of the group who is blind, said there are many problems on campus that could be easily fixed.

Currin said he feels that the campus has facets that make daily life difficult for the visually impaired. Accessibility to CCI printing and dining halls has been difficult, he said.

Members of the group also expressed concern about the lack of training for faculty on addressing the needs of students with disabilities.

Junior Joey Bozik, a member who is in a wheelchair, said teachers need to balance the fact that he has a disability with the fact that he still deserves equal treatment.

Bozik said he also needs to learn how to do the same.

“I need to learn how to balance that I want you to respect me as an individual — don’t treat me like I’m handicapped,” Bozik said. “But keep in mind that I am in a wheelchair.”

Sophomore Sarah Burnett, a member of the group who is dyslexic, said professors need to become more knowledgeable in helping disabled students learn subject material.

“We’re hoping we can have professors become more learning-accessible,” Burnett said, adding that while Currin needs to hear something to learn it, she needs to read it.

Savage said the group has its work cut out for itself in the years to come.

“We’re hoping to get more people involved,” she said.

“Disability is something that no longer can be silent at Carolina.”

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