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ADA 30: Celebrating 30 years of the ADA


Posted: July 26, 2020

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a landmark civil rights legislation signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush. The law prohibits discrimination based on disability and ensures individuals with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone in all areas of public life. Since its passage, several strides have been made towards improving access in many areas, including, but not limited to, education, transportation, architecture, and employment. We are grateful to all members of the UT and broader community who work tirelessly to remove barriers in their respective fields and look forward to our continued work towards a more inclusive society.

SDS is partnering with several departments on a series of events and programs to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the ADA. Please stay tuned for more information.

Upcoming Events


Why Representation Matters: Disability in the News and Media Entertainment

Date: November 9, 2020
Time: 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Location: Virtual

Media play a significant role in shaping how underrepresented communities are perceived. Join Dr. Catherine Luther—professor and director of the UT’s School of Journalism—Student Disability Services, and the FUTURE Program for a discussion on the role of media in today’s society and the need for inclusion and representation of people with disabilities in newsrooms and media entertainment. Attendees are encouraged to watch the film CinemAbility: The Art of Inclusion prior to the event from October 25-November 8.

Click to Register

Dr. Catherine Luther Profile picCatherine Luther (PhD, University of Minnesota) is a professor and the director of UT’s School of Journalism & Electronic Media.  Her research areas include media representations of social groups, global communication, and disinformation in digital media. She has won numerous awards including the Television Academy Foundation Fellow award, the National Association of Television Program Executives Educational Foundation Fellow award, and the UTK Notable Woman Award. Prior to entering into higher education, she was a television news producer for Japanese and American television. She is currently working on the third edition of her co-authored book titled Diversity in U.S. Mass Media.


Past Events


The Black Panthers, The Butterfly Brigade, and The United Farm Workers of America: Their Role in the Disability Rights Movement”

Date: October 6, 2020 I Time: 5:30 – 7:30 pm I Location: Virtual

The Section 504 sit-in, a watershed moment for disability rights, is the longest occupation of a federal building in United States history.  Its success was due to a broad coalition of civil rights organizations.  Join us in collaboration with the Office of Equity and Diversity as we explore how African American, LGBTQ, and Latinx civil rights organizations were instrumental in the success of the sit-in.  Paul Grossman, former Chief Regional Attorney for the Office for Civil Rights, will lead us through the backstory of this historic event in our nation’s civil rights legacy.

Interested in learning more about the Disability Rights Movement before the event? Check out the film Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution, which is available to stream on Netflix and for free on YouTube.

View the Recording

Paul Grossman is a college drop-out who subsequently earned his JD, with highest Photo of Paul Grossmanhonors at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Paul had similar academic success studying Philosophy of Law at Oxford University, England.  Paul is currently a member of the California Bar.

In addition to the law, Paul has been a lifelong participant in and student of American civil rights history. Paul began working on Black Lives Matter issues with the Oakland, California Police Department, over 40 years ago.

Paul’s legal career began with pursuing school desegregation in Clarksville Montgomery County, Tennessee.  During his career, Paul has addressed race, sex, national origin, and disability discrimination in every kind private and public educational setting. For over 30 years, Paul served as the Chief Regional Attorney for the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in San Francisco. Paul directed OCR’s internal disability law training for over 20 years. Paul has recently retired from 22 years of teaching Disability Law at Hastings College of Law, University of California.

Paul is a much sought-after keynote speaker at education and law conferences, including the National Association of ADA Coordinators (NAADAC), the Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), AHEAD of California, Hastings College of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law, Stanford and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Through AHEAD Paul has trained over 1000 disabled student access directors and campus counsel. Paul also regularly provides legal and best practice advice to universities including Stanford University and the California Community College System with over 100 campuses and 2 million students.

Through AHEAD and Carolina Academic Press, Paul publishes and annually updates, The Law of Disability Discrimination for Higher Education Professionals. 

Paul is an individual with multiple disabilities including dyslexia, diabetes, and stage one cancer.  These disabilities, Paul’s teaching experiences, during which he developed a robust set of “universal design” practices, and his participation in the unfolding intersectional civil rights in America enable to him to provide every audience with unique insights into the opportunities presented for teaching and retaining to graduation all students when educating students with disabilities in America’s colleges and universities.