InclusiveU looks for progress amid funding increase

Joey Pagano - The NewsHouse

Syracuse University’s efforts at creating a more diverse and inclusive campus have now gotten financial support from New York State specifically for the disability community.

New York State plans to restore $100,000 in funding in next year’s budget for the SU’s InclusiveU program, which provides students with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to attend college.

The boost in funding could impact not only the disability community on campus but also those with disabilities away from campus.

“We are continually taking a step back to see how the program can improve,” InclusiveU director Bud Buckhout said. “Any funding that is received helps us continue to make sure that we are a program that is centered around the students and meeting their needs, whether academically, socially or in the general campus community.”

New York state Sen. John Mannion, who helped secure the funding with Sen. Rachel May, said he views it through a broader lens. Mannion, chairman of the state’s Committee on Disabilities, said it’s important for the state to invest in the programs that invest in people with disabilities, like InclusiveU.

“It helps make sure that the voices of people with disabilities are heard and many of their ideas come to life,” Mannion said. He added that this helps measure whether programs are successful, especially considering unemployment among disabled Americans is as high as 70 percent. “We need to do everything we can to both harness their abilities and create job and career pathways.”

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