"Access" Audience in the Sommer Center

The campus community proved to be an attentive and thoughtful audience throughout the series.access audience


Wells students, faculty, and staff gathered in the Sommer Center to hear Dr. Julie Williams’ talk “The Disability Paradigm Shift for Women with Disabilities.” Her discussion was extensive and thorough, and contributed greatly to the theme of the day. Dr. Williams is an associate professor with the Wright State University School of Professional Psychology, where she teaches courses related to disability issues, rehabilitation psychology, health psychology and neuropsychology.

Dr. Williams shed light on the many attitudes people unconsciously hold towards those with disabilities in a participatory series of questions to open the talk. It provided the opportunity for some serious self-examination! Dr. Williams broached topics such as ableism (discrimination based on perceived difference in capability), microaggression (actions that subtly expose or reinforce a negative view of others), and the institutional behaviors that contribute to difficulties; and she described some of the organizations and individuals who are carrying on the fight to improve conditions for those with all types of disability.

The Sommer Center makes up the larger part of Smith Hall, one of many beautiful campus buildings with a rich, diverse history. Originally the campus gymnasium, Smith Hall was renovated extensively as a student center in 1995. It is now home to the Backstage Grill, a popular place for students to gather and get food in the evenings. The main part of the room is used for many purposes, from student dances to visiting artists and musicians to awards ceremonies; a large screen and projector also draw many students for events such as election coverage and Super Bowl parties.