Disabled Students gain government representation as SGA recognizes Disabled Student Union as a bureau

disabledStudent Senate Chambers | Samuel Larreal, PantherNOW

Samuel Larreal | Staff Writer

The Disabled Student Union was recognized as an official bureau within the Student Government on Nov. 27, giving the student organization access to more funding and capacity to help disabled students at FIU. 

Passing a senate vote 28 to 1 with two abstentions, a new bill recognized the Disabled Student Union, a registered student organization established in July this year, as a Student Government Association bureau. This bill will allow the DSU to access SGA funds starting on the upcoming student senate.

SGA funding would allow the Disabled Student Union to hold large-scale events and community-centered initiatives that could help disabled students in ways the Disability Resource Center cannot, according to bill co-sponsor Kaily LaChapelle. 

The new Bureau would also give disabled students official student government representation, something that, according to bill co-sponsor Hua Hui Vogel, the student body urgently needs. 

“An SGA bureau is part of SGA, hence it is more reflective of the student body, a body that is very underrepresented,” said the senator for the College of Engineering & Computing Hua Hui Vogel in an interview with PantherNOW. 

“Accessibility is not just a disability issue but rather a collective issue that benefits everyone,” Vogel said. According to the senator, some of the most pressing issues for disabled students are elevators, inaccessible classrooms, and chronic underfunding of the Disability Resource Center. 

Senate President Kaily LaChapelle, who is also a member and co-founder of the Disabled Student Union, says that accessibility is often an overseen issue at FIU. They have also said they have worked with disabled initiatives and advocacy for almost three years at FIU.

“When I started volunteering to help the DSU I found out FIU had so many problems,” said LaChapelle during the last senate meeting. “This campus not being ADA accessible means that those with mobility impairments getting around this campus is very hard.”

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