USM Transforms Office of Disability Accommodations into Accessibility Services for Students


Fri. 07/15/2022 – 09:39 | By: Van Arnold

In an effort to better serve and support students, the Office for Disability Accommodations at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) has changed its name to Student Accessibility Services (SAS).

SAS Deputy Director Susie Murphy points out that the change was intended to better represent the office’s mission while helping to de-stigmatize disabilities and promote greater accessibility to campus resources.

“We asked our students what they thought about a name change because it was important to us that they were part of this decision-making process,” Murphy said. “We surveyed students registered with our office giving them the opportunity to express their opinion and vote.”

Students were presented with several name change options and were allowed to write one suggestion not listed.

“We also gave them the option of keeping the Office for Disability Accommodations name. The majority vote was to change our name to Student Accessibility Services,” Murphy said.

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) is USM’s designated office to verify student eligibility for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). SAS works with eligible enrolled students on an individual basis to provide classrooms and accommodations specific to their disability.

Currently, USM has approximately 700 students enrolled with SAS. The office covers disabilities such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, hearing impairment, visual impairment, chronic medical conditions, learning disabilities, mobility impairments, temporary disabilities and pregnancy under of title IX.

Murphy notes that the name change will better benefit students and the University, as SAS works to promote and facilitate access through awareness, training, collaborative partnerships and proactive solutions on Hattiesburg and Gulf Park campuses.

“We strive to de-stigmatize disability and work to see it seen as part of diversity,” she said. “We have the opportunity to work with different organizations and departments to raise awareness and resolve access issues. We want to change misperceptions about disabilities and remove barriers through raising awareness and improving access. »

To learn more about USM Student Accessibility Services, call 601.266.5024 or visit: https://www.usm.edu/student-accessibility-services/index.php.


About the University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is a comprehensive public research institution offering transformative programs at campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as than online. Founded in 1910, USM is one of 146 universities nationwide to earn the “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, and its strong research enterprise includes experts in ocean science and engineering, polymer science and engineering, and major event safety and security, among others. USM is also one of 39 institutions in the country accredited in the fields of theatre, art and design, dance and music. As an economic engine, USM generates an annual economic impact of more than $663 million across the state. USM is home to a diverse student body of more than 14,000, representing more than 70 countries, all 50 states, and every county in Mississippi. USM students have received four Truman Fellowships and 37 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships, while leading Mississippi with 27 Goldwater Fellowships, an honor that recognizes the next generation of great ts research scientists. Home to the Golden Eagles, USM competes in 17 Division I sports sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). For more information, visit usm.edu.

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