Administration and staff speak of disability resources and student affairs

By Sadye Mascia

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The “see tomorrow” Speaker Series on Thursday in the UK Athletics Association Auditorium of the W.T. Young Library sparked the discussion of disability resources and student affairs on campus.

The panel, “Putting Students First,” consisted of Robert Mock, vice president for Student Affairs, Jake Karnes, director of the Disability Resource Center, Rhonda Henry, interim director of Violence Intervention and Prevention, and Denise Simpson, director of the Office of Student Conduct.

Mock kicked off the presentation by giving background on exactly what Student Affairs provides for the university.

“We do whatever we can in our division to create an environment outside of the classroom where students can be engaged appropriately,” Mock said.

Jake Karnes spoke about resources offered for students with disabilities on campus. Nearly 1,400 students use the resources per semester for a variety of different disabilities, Karnes said.

The largest group involved in the program is the 38 percent of students suffering with Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder.

Some of the accommodations for these students could entail low-distraction exam locations and extended time for exams, Karnes said.

Compared to most colleges, UK has a strong program that serves a large amount of students, Karnes said, despite having one staff member for every 275 students.

Simpson stressed the importance of providing students with these resources.

“We really focus on student learning through individual growth, as well as accountability of behavior,” Simpson said.

Simpson said that the purpose of the Office of Student Conduct is to encourage students to be successful and make decisions that will help them thrive at the university.

“We have really great students at UK, and sometimes they make poor decisions,” Simpson said. ”It’s our responsibility to help students make good decisions.”

Lastly, Rhonda Henry, interim director of Violence Intervention and Prevention, spoke about the outlets available for students and faculty who may encounter interpersonal violence or compromising situations and need assistance.

“Our hope is that they can find their own piece in this movement,” Henry said.