Center on Human Policy to Celebrate 40th anniversary with Research and Advocacy Conference

The Center on Human Policy will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a two-day research and advocacy conference on Nov. 11-12 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, coinciding with Syracuse University’s Orange Central weekend. Alumni, friends, advocates and supporters from around the world are expected to attend this conference, showcasing the groundbreaking research, policy and activism that have been a product of the center since its inception. Registrations are being accepted at the event website,; there is no cost to attend and meals and materials are included.

Center on Human Policy 40th anniversary celebration

Conference highlights of day one will include: professor emeritus Robert Bogdan discussing his forthcoming book “Picturing Disability: Visual Rhetoric and Qualitative Research”; and an examination of disability studies’ expansion into the humanities by Stephen Kuusisto, director of the Renee Crown University Honors Program, with an introduction by Beth Ferri, associate professor of teaching and leadership and disability studies.

The second day of the conference will allow time for in-depth discussion of topic areas that have evolved at the center over the last 40 years, such as “Creating the Inclusive Campus,” “Self-Advocacy: Past and Future” and “What Can Parents Today Learn from the Advocacy of Parents in the 1970s and ‘80s?”

As a capstone to Friday’s programming, the center will host an anniversary reception at 6 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel for all alumni and friends of the center. During the reception, School of Education Dean Douglas Biklen will present the William Pearson Tolley Medal for Distinguished Leadership in Lifelong Learning to Ethel Blatt, widow of Burton Blatt, the center’s founder. She will be recognized for outstanding efforts in advocacy and philanthropy on behalf of people with disabilities to have access to education, support and meaningful employment—values the Center on Human Policy would like to celebrate on its 40th anniversary.

Steven Taylor, Centennial Professor of Disability Studies in the School of Education, is director of the center. He says, “Burton Blatt founded the Center on Human Policy 40 years ago. Together with other Syracuse University programs and initiatives in disability studies, inclusive education, communication access, disability law and policy, and accessible higher education, the Center on Human Policy continues to carry on his work.”

Lable Jars Not PeopleThe Center on Human Policy was founded in 1971 in response to widespread abuse of, and discrimination against, people with disabilities in society. The center’s philosophy and activities grew out of the institutional exposés by its founder and first director, Burton Blatt, former dean of SU’s School of Education. The Center on Human Policy’s priorities and activities have progressed over the years to meet the evolving challenges facing people with disabilities. During its early years, center staff members confronted the mass warehousing of children with disabilities and school exclusion through investigations, community education, legal advocacy and the development of model programs.

Today, the staff devotes attention to promoting inclusive education, employment opportunities and full community participation for people with disabilities.

Though the center stands as an independent entity apart from funded grants and contracts, it has received funding from a broad range of private and public sources. The center is part of Syracuse University’s Center on Human Policy, Law and Disability Studies, and its administrative home is in the School of Education.

For more information about the 40th anniversary conference, accessibility needs or to register, visit the website or call the Center on Human Policy at 315-443-3851.