A University of California department has an official policy of refusing to hire any disabled person for any of the jobs they offer to students (http://advocate.as.ucsb.edu/disabled_jobs). Under this policy, the University automatically denies employment applications to people they have flagged as disabled. After several emails and in-person meetings with supervisors, the University of California insisted it will stick with its policy because they believe the disabled are less likely to be competent employees. These jobs are extremely simple. For example, one of them (the “proctor” job) merely involves an employee monitoring one or a few students to see if they cheat during an exam. Although some disabilities might make these jobs more difficult, there are numerous disabilities that have absolutely no impact on the performance of these jobs. However, the University of California refuses to consider any disabled person (regardless of which type of disability that person has) to be qualified for these jobs.
This policy means that a disabled veteran who sacrificed his legs for our country would be denied the chance to be considered for an unskilled job because of his sacrifice, and because of his disability. This policy means that a young girl with cancer might have to explain to her family that her own university won’t let her apply for a job simply because she’s sick.
After my emails and meetings, I petitioned a court to stop this discrimination. After the lawsuit was filed, the University quietly suspended the policy but they have asked a court to allow them to reinstate it. Although Title 2 of the Americans with Disabilities Act says that public agencies cannot discriminate against the disabled, the University of California asked the Court to declare the ADA unconstitutional! The University says it should be allowed to ban the over fifty million Americans with a disability from applying for a job, because the disabled “may be less able, due to their disabilities, to perform the essential function” of these jobs (Alexander Stern v. Regents of the University of California).
If you walk into a room with five random strangers, one of them will have a disability. This policy applies to that person. Maybe it applies to you. This policy would refuse an employment application to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Alexander Graham Bell, Representative Barbara Jordan, and Thomas Edison, because these disabled Americans were, according to the University of California, presumptively incompetent.
If you believe that we need to move beyond these antiquated prejudices and allow our fellow Americans, including the disabled ones, to be able apply for these and other jobs, please sign this petition right now.
Update from 5/7/2012: Today the University has stated it plans to argue to the Court that it is a "business necessity" to ban the disabled from these jobs. In light of this shocking development, your support and signature are as important as ever.
- The Regents of the University of California
- Director of the Disabled Students Program
- Governor of California
Edmund G. Brown Jr.
- President of the University of California
Mark G. Yudof
- University of California
- Chancellor of the University of California, Santa Barbara
Henry T. Yang
We are writing to express our opposition to the University of California’s position that Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is unconstitutional, that it is a "business necessity" to ban the disabled from several employment positions, and that the disabled “may be less able, due to their disabilities, to perform the essential function” of even the most basic and unskilled jobs (Alexander Stern v. Regents of the University of California). As an institution of higher learning, you have a moral obligation to refrain from teaching prejudice. As a public agency, you have a duty to act consistent with the laws of California and our nation. Finally, you have a responsibility to do better things for the taxpayers than wasting funds on fighting against the ADA.
For many months, you have resisted lifting your ban on hiring the disabled for certain easy and unskilled jobs. You could have changed a policy that excludes disabled veterans, people with all kinds of disabilities, and some of the most respected Americans. Instead of resolving this issue morally and for free, you have dedicated taxpayer money to challenging the constitutionality of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Diversity is a commitment to recognizing and appreciating the unique beliefs, values, skills, attributes, and characteristics of all employees in an environment that promotes and celebrates individual and collective achievement” – University of California. We are not asking for “affirmative action” for the disabled, or for special treatment of any kind. Instead, we only ask that you stop declaring the over 50 million Americans with a disability to be so inferior that they do not deserve the chance to apply for jobs like everyone else.
Alexander Stern started this petition with a single signature, and now has 160 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.