Playing Sports Now a Civil Right

Art Caplan and his colleagues at the NYU Sports & Society Program have an interesting new essay up at Forbes:

Obama Administration: Playing Sports Is Now A Civil Right

The United States Department of Education has released aguidance requiring schools to make “reasonable modifications” to include students with disabilities in mainstream athletics programs or provide parallel options. That may sound like just another boring piece of paper that oozes off the desk of a government bureaucrat on any given day. But this is very different. The guidance proclaims that access to interscholastic, intramural, and intercollegiate athletics is a civil right.
Asserting access to athletic programs as a civil right is a big step forward for our education system and, of course, for people with disabilities. It highlights the important role that sports can play in the development of young people as functioning and contributing members of society. It also serves to help decrease the stigma too often associated with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities.

The limitation of a guidance is that it clarifies existing laws, but doesn’t create new ones. So, although it’s not a “toothless tiger,” it’s questionable as to whether anyone will be able to file a lawsuit based on it. And there are sure to be lawsuits because it’s inevitable that the guidance is going to create a host of issues about classification and definition such as: What is a disability? What is a “reasonable modification”? What is a reasonable “accommodation”? What will get modified: the sport, the arena, or the people eligible to play?

Keep reading…

The Society for Philosophy and Disability Is Official

By Nir Eyal

With an approved constitution, elected officials and now, recognition from all three divisions of the American Philosophical Association (APA), a new society is finally official. The Society for Philosophy and Disability, or SPD, will hold its first two sessions at the February 2013 Central APA meeting in New Orleans.

SPD is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to furthering research and teaching on philosophical issues related to disability and to promoting inclusiveness and support for people with disabilities in philosophical education and in the profession of philosophy. SPD aims to provide a forum for philosophical discussion of disability by arranging meetings, maintaining an online presence, and organizing academic projects.

Adam Cureton, President of the Society, invites everyone to join SPD, which they can do on the Society website. You are also welcome to invite colleagues or students who are interested in philosophy and disability to join us.