BY HANNAH ROACH '17
AccessAbility Services has hired a new Senior Accommodations Director; Kaitlin Molloy, J.D. started Feb. 1 in her new position. AccessAbility's former director Deborah Cohen resigned last semester, leaving midway through the year on Oct. 28.
Deborah Cohen was known for establishing AccessAbility – in an interview with Mount Holyoke News before her resignation, she said, "I was brought in to basically create a real program. I hired the staff, I trained the staff [and] I created all the policies and protocols on campus around accommodations and accessibility." The interim plan for the department was to have the college's 504 coordinator, Rene Davis, work to provide support for students within the program. The role of the 504 coordinator is to work to fulfill all requirements designated through Section 504 – a provision to aid and protect disabled individuals.
Molloy's previous position was at Drexel University, where she was an accommodations coordinator. She graduated with a juris doctorate from Drexel University School of Law. In the academic newsletter published this week, she and the rest of the team in AccessAbility wrote, "They are looking forward to a great semester, working closely [with you] and getting to know you and our campus better."
AccessAbility services includes academic advising, advocacy, assistive technology, housing, dining and academic accommodations. The program has grown substantially over the past few years with work from Deborah Cohen and colleagues. The mission statement of AccessAbility includes, "AccessAbility Services is the only designated office at the College for students to voluntarily disclose a disability (ies), submit appropriate documentation for verification, and request accommodations."
The statement, published on the Mount Holyoke website, continues, "AccessAbility Services coordinates and provides accommodations and support services to students with all types of disabilities. The College appreciates that everyone is unique; therefore, the access needs of each student who registers with AccessAbility Services are considered on a case-by-case basis."
Molloy, as published on her LinkedIn, emphasizes the importance of equal opportunities for all students. She supports and helps enforce two government measures to aid in special education: "I'm passionate about transitioning students from [Individuals with Disabilities Education Act] to [American Disabilities Act] and equipping students with the self-advocacy skills they need to be successful. I believe all students deserve the opportunity to receive an education equal to their peers'."