Our last class discussion really had me thinking about how un-accessible schools really are. Not only in physical lay out but also in policies and attitudes and I wanted to talk about it a little more. For students with mental disabilities there’s the issue of “proving” that you have an issue that could affect you in class, going to the doctor’s, reporting it with the school where it is then on file, then outing yourself to your professors which can be very stressful for someone. Also once you talk with a professor it is a guessing game on whether they will be accommodating or act like you are taking away from others. For those with physical disabilities our campus is not designed for easy access while getting around, our desks are small and uncomfortable and overall there is just so many obstacles to overcome.
Class also made me think about things we don’t often attribute to this issue. Bigger individuals, whether it be height or weight, have a hard time fitting into the desks and yet it is not thought of as an issue. The same goes for pregnant women who are not given appropriate accommodations, they face a variety of issues such as discomfort/ pain, fatigue, doctor’s appointments, sickness etc. and teachers often don’t think of them as needing any help.
The school as a whole is often set up to work best for someone who can afford tuition, is young, able bodied, can live on campus, doesn’t have to work, and takes the classes their adviser tells them to. But what about the people who don’t fit into this. I’m young and luckily I’ve gotten through college without much trouble but thinking about it critically I can find times where I was seen as a nuisance because I didn’t fit into the appropriate mode. I am on scholarship so I have to take a certain amount of credits and get a certain GPA, also I take more than the needed amount of credits because my scholarship only lasts until the end of this year. I also have to work in order to get through college and I’ve been told many times I should quit my job, or I need to just stay in school longer and take more classes even though that’s not a possibility for me. Commuting also opens up problems that students face. There’s only a small number of students who fit into the accepted form and yet nothing is being done to change how we deal with all of the others.
I don’t know if we have one already but if not I think we should have a group or panel that discusses these topics and try to make change.