October 7, 2012 by badacademic2
The notion makes me laugh, because I have rarely encountered it. Well, I did as an undergrad. That’s what gave me hope. Then I entered the world of grad student– not entirely student, not entirely staff/faculty. And accessibility is a joke then. If you need something more complicated than a wheelchair accessible classroom, extra testing time, or accessible course readings–and even then there are grumbles–be prepared for a *ton* of work. It is like taking an extra class. Or two.
Having a disability while pursuing a higher-ed degree or career seems to mostly consist of falling “between the cracks of the university’s disability-accommodation policies.”
A recent AAUP article states:
To function as a truly inclusive workplace, one that values and welcomes disability, higher education needs to move beyond narrow legalism and adopt a new perspective that conceptualizes access as a social issue rather than as a set of specific solutions to individual problems. By welcoming disability into the academy while reconceiving access, institutions can address disability as an issue that permeates all aspects of the social and physical environments that comprise the university workplace.
I wonder how long it will take for universities to move beyond legalism and realize a truly accessible academy? If making sure the elevators are working and the automatic door openers work is beyond their concern, what of the more complicated things?