Wake Up U of I! Stop Discriminating Against Disabled Students

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The University of Illinois has lied repeatedly for over two months about why they closed their once renowned BRSS "Beckwith" program.

Beckwith is designed to offer support to the most vulnerable among us. The U of I administration closed the Beckwith program 3 weeks after announcing that the campus would be open for everyone else. They claimed over and over it was due to being unable to recruit the staff needed to care for students. THEY LIED! Students and parents worked to recruit all the personal PA and floater PA positions. Parents even offered to always have at least one parent on standby in Urbana/Champaign to backup any unforeseen scenarios.

They kept changing the criteria for reopening and finally admitted it was about liability issues (this was always suspected as the reason all along by parents). The liability issue was first mentioned by the state of Illinois DRS Director as the reason why the university chose not to reopen the Beckwith program. This was confirmed by Dean Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell in a phone conversation on August 13 (audio linked and legally obtained due to originating in Tennessee, which is a one-party notification state).

Linked below are many documents showing malice and lies by the university in all the communication concerning this issue.

“To be clear, we are 100% committed to reopening Beckwith and will do whatever it takes to make this happen.”

Please enjoy and let university officials know that this is not an acceptable way to treat our students!

Correspondence & Links
Wed - 06/10/20
5 Min Survey Questions and Responses - Email from Susann Sears - 06-10-20
Thu - 06/18/20
U of I Reopens - Fall 2020 Semester Plans - 06-18-20
Tue - 07/07/20
Beckwith Closes - BRSS Status for Fall 2020 - Email from Susann Sears - 07-07-20
Wed - 07/15/20
Zoom Meeting with BRSS Staff - 07-15-20 (VIDEO)
Thu - 07/30/20
State Representatives - Letter to Governor - 07-30-20
Mon - 08/03/20
Beckwith Turns Away PA's For Fall 2020 - 08-03-20
Mon - 08/10/20
Email Exchange with Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell - 08-10-20
Tue - 08/11/20
Board of Trustees Letter - Parents - 08-11-20
Wed - 08/12/20
PACE Inc. University of Illinois Board of Trustees Letter - 08-12-20
Wed - 08/12/20
Phone Conversation with Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell - 08-12-20 (AUDIO)
Thu - 08/13/20
Rahnee Patrick - Director of DRS - Email Addressing Liability - 08-13-20
Thu - 08/13/20
Phone Conversation with Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell - 08-13-20 (AUDIO)
Mon - 08/17/20
CBS Chicago - Families Disheartened By U Of I’s Suspension Of Beckwith Program For Disabled Students, by Tara Molina - 08-17-20
Mon - 08/17/20
YouTube - CBS Chicago - Families Disheartened By U Of I's Suspension Of Program For Disabled Students by Tara Molina - 08-17-20

YouTube - The Game Changer - The best place to learn what the Beckwith program is all about. U of I likes to take credit for being a great place for students with disabilities, but the University of Illinois has fought it from the very beginning. With the loss of founder, Tim Nugent and previous director, Brad Hedrick, the program struggles to find someone to advocate for their students.