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BEH320 University of Maryland City Council Opinion Paper

BEH320 University of Maryland City Council Opinion Paper

BEH320 University of Maryland City Council Opinion Paper


Before beginning, please read these instructions COMPLETELY.

You have been assigned to one of the three groups below – please do your best to follow this suggestion; however, if you get absolutely stuck and prefer another group, please let me know via email or the messenger app.

(Group Assignments listed in the Announcement)

 Pro – votes in favor of adopting the Proposal
 Con – votes against adopting the Proposal
 Alternate – proposes an alternate plan to the Proposal

Case Study
Throughout this course, we have been analyzing the concept of “disability” and trying to understand
what it means to be disabled. We have considered several approaches to forming a disability
identity, and will begin to understand individual disability identities in the broader social and cultural
systems in which they exist. This Case Study will challenge you to reconcile different disability
identities with competing socio-cultural interests as you draw upon your readings in this course and
your personal experiences:

You represent the majority opinion of a city council charged with approving or rejecting a proposal
from Corporation, Inc. that is before you. You have three weeks to investigate the proposal, hear
arguments from your constituents, research the possible implications, and reach a consensus. You
may refer to your course materials or outside materials to help you reach your decision.

The Proposal by Corporation, Inc. is:

To develop an unused plot adjacent to downtown Cityville into a state-of-the-art recreational center
and outdoor playground for the area’s youth population called FUNTOWN. Corporation, Inc. will incur
all costs associated with this development, at no expense to the Cityville taxpayers. This lot has been
vacant for many years, and the Cityville Council has not had any other offers to develop it. Cityville is
a small town, and FUNTOWN would represent the only playground and recreational center for
Cityville’s many children.

However, because Cityville only has two residents under the age of 18 with
physical disabilities, the proposal of Corporation, Inc. does not include making any of the activities in
FUNTOWN accessible to children with disabilities. Corporation, Inc. says that the accessibility
needed for wheelchair users would be very expensive and change the types of activities they could
include in FUNTOWN. Corporation, Inc. also tells the Council that they will likely not develop
FUNTOWN at all if they must make every aspect of FUNTOWN accessible to the town’s two young
wheelchair-users. Instead, Corporation, Inc. proposes to create a separate, smaller disability-friendly
playground on the ground floor of a near-by building and call this place SMILETIME. Corporation,
Inc. tells the Cityville Council that SMILETIME will also be state-of-the-art, but because it is much
smaller and in an already-existing building, it will keep their costs down.

As the Cityville Council, you must now decide what action to take with the Corporation, Inc. Proposal
to build the FUNTOWN and SMILETIME facilities. Because we have not yet discussed all of the laws
and legal implications of such a decision, you should feel free to leave it to the Cityville lawyers to
decide whether your decision is legal or not. Instead, as a city council, you should concentrate
more on the ethical, social, and cultural implications of your decision.

You have been assigned either Pro, Con, or Alternate to decide whether to accept, deny, or reply with an alternative to this Proposal.

1. Consider this Case Study and begin to list the implications and considerations of your decision:

a. What are the most challenging aspects of this decision?
b. What are the implications of your decision that you are most concerned about?
c. What details are missing that might make your decision easier?
d. What impact, if any, do you think your decision will have on the residents of Cityville, both disabled and non-disabled?
Which citizens do you believe will support you? Who will be most upset by your decision?

*Remember that, as an elected official, you must speak to all of your citizens and anticipate that, whichever way you decide, some of your citizens will disagree. Explain to them why you decided the way you did.*

2. Please include your recommendations to Corporation, Inc. based on your decision. How did your concept of disability identity inform your

a. List the core concepts from this course that you have applied in reaching your decision (i.e. disability history, accessibility, Universal Design, etc.)

Work on and complete your pro or con final Opinion on behalf of your City Council. Responses should be at least 3 pages, well-written, cover all aspects of the assignment, and include citations from course readings with proper cites in the Bibliography.

An example Opinion has been attached, below.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: The example does not have sources cited in the body or the Works Cited
area. Your Final Opinion should include proper APA citations of your sources in the body and
the Works Cited sections.*

There is no right or wrong answer. Rather, you will be graded on the quality of your analysis,
your use of the course materials and sources to date, and your overall consideration of this
difficult puzzle.

EXAMPLE – Final Council Opinion – BEHS 320.doc (37.5 KB)

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