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USM Changes Office for Disability Accommodations to Student Accessibility Services

Fri, 07/15/2022 - 09:39am | By: Van Arnold

In an effort to better serve and support students, the Office for Disability Accommodations at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) has changed its name to Student Accessibility Services (SAS).

SAS Assistant Director Susie Murphy points out the change was sought to better represent the office’s mission while also helping to destigmatize disabilities and promote greater accessibility to campus resources.

“We asked our students how they felt about a name change as it was important to us that they be a part of this decision-making process,” said Murphy. “We surveyed the students registered with our office giving them the opportunity to voice their opinion and vote.”

The students were presented several name-change options and were allowed to write in a suggestion not on the list.

“We also gave them the option to keep the name as Office for Disability Accommodations. The majority vote was to change our name to Student Accessibility Services,” said Murphy.

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) is USM’s designated office to verify students' eligibility for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). SAS works with eligible registered students on an individual basis to provide classroom and housing accommodations that are specific to their disability.

Currently, USM has approximately 700 students registered with SAS. The office covers disabilities such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, hearing impairments, visual impairments, chronic medical conditions, learning disabilities, mobility impairments, temporary disabilities, and pregnancies under Title IX.

Murphy notes that the name change will better benefit students and the University as SAS works to promote and facilitate access through outreach, training, collaborative partnerships, and proactive solutions across the Hattiesburg and Gulf Park campuses.

“We are striving to destigmatize disability and working toward it being seen as a part of diversity,” she said. “We are getting opportunities to collaborate with different organizations and departments to bring awareness to and address access concerns. We want to change misperceptions about disabilities and remove barriers through awareness and increasing access.”

To learn more about Student Accessibility Services at USM, call 601.266.5024 or visit:

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is a comprehensive public research institution delivering transformative programs on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, at teaching and research sites across the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as online. Founded in 1910, USM is one of only 146 universities in the nation to earn the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” designation, and its robust research enterprise includes experts in ocean science and engineering, polymer science and engineering, and large event venue safety and security, among others. USM is also one of only 39 institutions in the nation accredited in theatre, art and design, dance and music. As an economic driver, USM generates an annual economic impact of more than $663 million across the state. USM welcomes a diverse student body of more than 14,000, representing more than 70 countries, all 50 states, and every county in Mississippi. USM students have collected four Truman Scholarships and 37 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, while also leading Mississippi with 27 Goldwater Scholarships, an honor that recognizes the next generation of great research scientists. Home to the Golden Eagles, USM competes in 17 Division I sports sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). For more information, visit