“I’m a graduating senior and I identify as an ally to disabled students on campus. I served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for diversity issues on campus. In this role, I saw firsthand that the university has a very long way to go to provide a welcoming campus for disabled students. Other historically marginalized groups such as people of color, women, and LGBT students have resource centers that are dedicated to improving their lives on campus. There is no such center for disabled students. Because there are no dedicated staff to educate students on disability as an issue of diversity, students have no chance to confront the ableist ideas that many are raised with. More importantly, disabled students have less visible resources that promote disability culture rather than resources that provide only accommodations. The University NEEDS to hire staff in this area, which should lead to a DCC.
“The university also needs to provide funding for student organizations to host accessible events immediately. At present, student groups have no knowledge and no funding surrounding how to host accessible events for their classmates. When disabled students reasonably require accommodations to attend, student organizations are left in a bind. In a horrific situation, they could be forced to discriminate against a fellow classmate due to lack of resources. This is wrong. The status quo does not promote our goal of “Cura Personalis.” The University needs to make it exceptionally clear to club leaders how they should create accessible events as well as provide a funding source for these accommodations immediately.”
Alyssa Peterson (COL 2014) is studying Government and Women and Gender Studies. She is an active member of GUSA, College Democrats, Sexual Assault Peer Educators, and the founder of the Georgetown Student Tenant Association. She hopes to become a civil rights attorney.
Image: A young white woman with shoulder length blondish hair, holding a piece of notebook paper with the handwritten message, “Disability Justice for Georgetown!”