Ella Callow, UC Berkeley’s new ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer, brings a background in social welfare and law to the task of ensuring campus compliance with federal and state regulations as well as University policies pertaining to access and inclusion for people with disabilities.
After completing her BA in Social Welfare and Native American Studies, Callow went on to earn a JD from Berkeley Law. She then spent more than ten years as the Legal Director for the National Center for Parents with Disabilities and their Families, Through the Looking Glass, and also as a litigation consultant for the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division in the U.S. Department of Justice. Most recently, she was Disability Services Specialist for the City of Berkeley.
Removing barriers and building inclusiveness has its own set of challenges in places like UC Berkeley or the City of Berkeley: both were at the forefront of the independent living movement, but practices that were pioneering for their time now need to be updated for the 21st century. While the work of inclusion is never done, Callow highlights how much ground has already been covered: “That's what Ed Roberts and his cohort could only dream of in the 1960s: that 3000 [students] with disabilities across a broad spectrum would be on this campus doing what they wanted to do, getting an education and being part of a larger academic community and a local community. And so making sure that we’re serving everyone is a challenge to rise up to, but it’s also a positive development in the ongoing story of disability and Berkeley.”
Asked about her time in Haviland Hall, Callow has fond memories of the Social Welfare library as “small, gracious, quiet corner of campus,” and of Mary Ann Mason, whose child-centric approach helped inform her work on Indian child welfare in law school and her work with parents with disabilities at Through the Looking Glass. We are proud to welcome her back to campus.
Look for a more extended profile of Ella Callow in the Spring 2019 issue of our magazine, Social Welfare at Berkeley.