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Disability Advocates Criticize Bradley Over 'Diversity' Job Description; University Vows Change

CHICAGO (CBS)-- A Bradley University job opening post for an Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion role sparked a negative reaction online over its requirement that candidates "must be able to access non-ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliant building."

The Disability Policy Consortium, a disability and civil rights advocacy research organization, took to Facebook to express frustration over the access requirement.

The post stated, "In case you needed a blatant example of how disability gets left out of academic diversity and inclusion efforts, Bradley University just posted a job for an assistant director of diversity in which not being able to access inaccessible buildings literally disqualifies you from the job."

The post has already reached more than 104,000 people, and the number continues to grow, according to DPC Deputy Director Colin Killick. In an interview with CBS 2, Killick said he lives with a disability and the post was meant to highlight the national problem of exclusion among people with disabilities at universities and beyond.

Lindsay Baran, a policy analyst at the National Council on Independent Living, shared DCP's post on her Facebook wall and wrote, "Why not just say 'disabled people not welcome to apply? We know at least people with physical/mobility disabilities won't be able to access your building, and your ad certainly doesn't give me confidence you'd make it a welcoming environment for folks with other disabilities."

She told CBS 2 her comments were meant to highlight to the university how angry people were when they read the job description. Baran tagged Bradley University, located in Peoria, in her post.

"I shared this post because it was yet another instance of discrimination against disabled people in the hiring process and yet another example of disability being left out of diversity efforts," Baran said. "A lot of people had already shared this post and brought attention to the issue, but I wanted to tag Bradley because at that point I hadn't seen them tagged by many people."

Baran said this is not the first time she has seen a job description "disqualify people with certain disabilities."

Advocates took to Twitter to share their frustration with the university's job description. Healthcare advocate Kendally Brown tweeted, "I guess their version of 'diversity' and 'inclusion' doesn't include disabled people."

Brown told CBS 2 she has lived with a physical disability since she was a child and felt directly impacted by the university's job description.

"I am intimately aware of the impact that disability can have on your career, including your ability to get employers to even consider you a viable candidate for jobs," Brown said. "I hope that they'll [Bradley University] reach out to disability activists and strive to really listen and learn from us."

Bradley University spokesperson Renee Charles told CBS 2 the wording in the job listing has been changed. The statement regarding the ability to "access non-ADA compliant buildings" has been retracted.

"We regret the wording in our job advertisement and have made changes to it," Charles said in a written statement. "In an attempt to be transparent about the position, we included information about this building having limited ADA accessibility."

Charles acknowledged the building's accessibility issues and said if a successful candidate is found the university will "make every appropriate accommodation."

"We will not turn anyone away," she said.

While Charles said the Office of Diversity and Inclusion has not had any issues regarding a students' inability to access the building, faculty members have met with firms to improve ADA needs.

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