University to host “Redefining Inclusion” events in San Francisco, Los Angeles

Syracuse University’s Lawrence B. Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education will be on the road next week, bringing their message of lifelong inclusion to San Francisco and Los Angeles on January 25 and 26 respectively, to kick off a series of events called “Redefining Inclusion.”

Colleges and Universities across the United States are placing more emphasis on disability and inclusion. “We see disability as an important part of that diversity,” says Beth Myers, Executive Director of the Taishoff Center. “We put together these events in California in order to engage a wider audience in new conversations about inclusion.  We’re hoping to make some new allies and give the community chance to hear from local and national advocates about new ways to think about disability and higher education.”

The “Redefining Inclusion” events are free and open to the public, and are being hosted in partnership with Syracuse University Los Angeles. The panel discussions in each city will have a distinct theme, and feature well-known experts and celebrities connected to the field of disability studies.

Both events will start off with a short preview of the upcoming film Intelligent Lives, which challenges the social constructs of society’s definition of “intelligence.” Panel discussions, moderated by Myers, will follow and will include: filmmaker Dan Habib (Intelligent Livesand Including Samuel); Micah Fialka-Feldman ’15, self-advocate and Outreach Coordinator for the Taishoff Center, featured in Intelligent Lives; and Brent Elder G’16, Professor of Inclusive Education at Rowan University. Disability advocate and actor  Andy Arias will also participate on both panels.

In San Francisco, the panel will discuss “Inclusive Education” and experts will include Cheryl Theis, education advocate, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund; and Kathleen Gee, professor of Special Education, California State University. The event, held at the Delancey Street Foundation, begins at 5:30 pm on January 25.

The Los Angeles event will address “Disability in the Media,” and will feature Amy Brenneman, actress, producer and activist; and Carrie Rosen, a writer for ABC’s Speechless. The Los Angeles panel will be on January 26 at 6:00 pm at the Intercontinental Century City.

Myers says, “We hope attendees will engage with us in conversation about how we view intelligence.  We hope everyone will leave thinking critically about how disability and intelligence are represented and negotiated in society.”

RSVP’s are strongly encouraged. Please visit for more information about the Redefining Inclusion events and to RSVP.

Established in 2009 as part of Syracuse University’s School of Education, the Taishoff Center offers support, research, training, and resources to individuals, families, and college campus communities looking for strategies to foster and support college students with disabilities. The Center also provides information about students’ rights in higher education, universal design for courses, accommodations for specific types of disabilities, and other disability-related resources.