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Upcoming Events


Perspectives from the Autism Community

Date: April 14, 2021  I   Time: 4:00-5:00 pm  I  Location: Virtual

If you’ve met one person with autism… you’ve met one person with autism. The autism spectrum is wide and encompasses a vast array of unique, diverse, and amazing individuals, each with their own distinct set of skills, challenges, and abilities. Please join Advocates for Autism, the FUTURE program, and Student Disability Services in celebrating Autism Acceptance Month by attending our panel discussion on Wednesday, April 14th, from 4:00-5:00 pm EST as we seek to understand and explore the many views, perspectives and lived experiences of students on the spectrum and professionals who serve the autism community with the hope of building continued respect, dignity, and an inclusive and welcoming campus for everyone. Registration is required. Live captioning will be provided, and other accommodations are available upon request. For more information about disability-related accommodations, please contact Sara Conrad at sconrad@utk.edu.

Register for the Autism Community Panel Discussion


Past Events


Exploring the Intersections of Disability and Identity with torrin a. greathouse

Date: March 31, 2021  I   Time: 4:00-5:00 pm  I  Location: Virtual

The Pride Center and Student Disability Services invite you to join us in celebrating International Transgender Day of Visibility by welcoming critically acclaimed poet, torrin a. greathouse, for a virtual reading from her debut full-length collection, Wound from the Mouth of a Wound, on Wednesday, March 31st from 4:00-5:00 pm EST. The poetry reading will be followed by a Q&A that will explore the intersectionality of identity and disability. Registration is required. Live captioning will be provided. Other accommodations are available upon request. This event was made possible through the generous support of the Commission for LGBT and Commission for Disability.

Registration closed

torrin a. greathouse is a transgender, cripple-punk, MFA candidate at the Universitytorrin a. greathouse posing with a cane propped behind her shoulders of Minnesota. Her work is published in POETRY, New England Review, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, and Best New Poets 2020. Recently, they received the $25,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts for Creative Writing. They have received fellowships from the Effing Foundation, Zoeglossia, and the University of Arizona Poetry Center. She was a special mention for the 2020 Pushcart Prize, and is the youngest ever winner of the Poetry Foundation’s J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize. They are the author of two chapbooks, Therǝ is a Case That I Ɐm (Damaged Goods Press, 2017) and boy/girl/ghost (TAR Chapbook Series, 2018), and her debut collection Wound from the Mouth of a Wound, winner of the Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry, was released from Milkweed Editions in December 2020.


Disability & Innovation: The Universal Benefits of Inclusive Design

Date: March 23, 2021  I   Time: 5:30-6:30 pm  I  Location: Virtual

Disabled people are one of the largest underrepresented groups, numbering over 1.3 billion worldwide. Organizations that choose to invest in disability inclusion gain access to a larger audience, provide a better experience for both disabled and non-disabled members, and facilitate growth and innovation. Join us for an engaging presentation on Haben’s journey as a disability rights advocate and how we can make UT Knoxville more inclusive.

View the Recording of the Disability & Innovation Webinar with Haben Girma

The first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, Haben Girma is aHaben Girma Profile picture human rights lawyer advancing disability justice. President Obama named her a White House Champion of Change. She received the Helen Keller Achievement Award, a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and TIME100 Talks. President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Chancellor Angela Merkel have all honored Haben. Haben believes disability is an opportunity for innovation, and she teaches organizations the importance of choosing inclusion. The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, and TODAY Show featured her memoir, Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law.


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 of the Disability Rights Webinar

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.


Why Representation Matters: Disability in the News and Media Entertainment

Date: November 9, 2020  I Time:  5:30 – 7:00 pm  I   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.

Dr. Catherine Luther Profile picCatherine Luther (PhD, University of Minnesota) is a professor and the director of UT’s School of Journalism and 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.