As part of #DisabilityAwarenessMonth, the PCL hosted “Building a Barrier-Free Campus” from October 11 – 23, a photo exhibit which explores how UT Arlington became a model accessible campus for students with disabilities starting in the mid 1960s, a time when disabled students had no right to attend K-12 schools or colleges.
The exhibit is part of the first disability history archive in the Southwest – the Texas Disability History Collection (TDHC), one of a handful of dedicated repositories in the country. The larger archive includes personal papers, records, maps, reports, audio and video recordings, oral histories, and photographs.
Since the late 1960’s UT Arlington has led the nation in helping students with disabilities. In 1968, undergraduate students established the Handicapped Students Association, one of the first organizations of students with disabilities in the U.S. This group is responsible for lobbying the campus administration to make the campus accessible ahead of federal mandates. UT Arlington also offered the nation’s first full athletic scholarship in adapted sports.
Today the university is home to two of the top wheelchair basketball teams in the country. UT Arlingont is also the first disability studies minor in the south. Photos of the exhibit can be viewed via Flickr or via the digital exhibit experience through the UT Arlington library.