Raising the Bar: Alumnus Defends Disability Rights Law

imageStefen Short ’10 likes to be on the front line of change.

When Short came to SUNY Oswego from Centerport, N.Y., to study political science, he immediately got involved. He was a member of the New York Public Interest Research Group, a student interest and rights advocacy group, served as vice president of the Student Association and joined the club crew team.

After graduation, Short earned a J.D. at Albany Law School before passing the New York State bar exam and transitioning to his current role as a staff attorney at Disability Rights New York in Brooklyn. He has remained involved with Oswego as a member of the GOLD Leadership Council, planning and attending alumni events, giving back and hosting a webinar in September 2014. He joined the Oswego Alumni Association Board of Directors on July 1.

Short describes his time at Oswego, particularly his involvement with the Student Association, as “the most transformative and informative experience I’ve had.”

Describe some of your work with the Student Association.

One of the most memorable things we did was some administrative advocacy work. When I was vice president, we made a list of 19 administrative requests—anything from funding club sports to extending late night dining hours—that students wanted to change or see added to services on campus.

Were the requests fulfilled?

Some of them were. It was a year-and-a-half campaign that extended into law school for me. There’s a lot of collaborative activity between the Student Association administration and the campus administration. It’s great knowing that you’re supported by the people who are running the campus.

p40-ShortHow did Oswego help you in law school?

In law school, I was up against some Ivy League students, but the SUNY students were the most well-prepared. I’m not just saying that. I think a lot of that is because of the individual attention we get at Oswego. If students want to grow, the opportunity is there.

How have you found success in your career?

In my direct representation cases, I’ve gotten people employment support through their state agency so they can go work. I have a lot of cases on behalf of prisoners with disabilities for reasonable accommodations and services, so when they get released, they’re rehabilitated. It’s all over the map. We also do systemic and institutional work as well. Through the threat of litigation, we’ve worked with schools to redesign their concussion management policy.

Why do you stay involved and give back to SUNY Oswego?

It’s broader than just Oswego. Public higher education is the most important social good that a state and a society can supply its people. It’s the obligation of alumni and current students to be engaged in the fight to preserve that social good, especially if they had a phenomenal experience like I did. Oswego’s a very special place. I want that opportunity to persist for other students. That’s really the reason I stay involved.

—Tyler Edic ’13

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