You might not know it, especially in light of my mouthy behaviour on G+, but I really shut down when trying to talk about disability in academia. Because if I don't shut down I am going to scream.

My favourite experience recently was having someone turn to me in the middle of a meeting and say "You don't know how difficult it is to book a wheelchair accessible site for a party." You know, the sort of thing I have to consider every time Don & I want to leave the house together, but I don't know how hard it is.

And every time I mention that maybe when we're talking about best teaching practices we should talk about students with disabilities (and grad students with disabilities and university professors with disabilities) it's like I just said we should consider stripping naked and turning cartwheels through the hallways and have students evaluate us on our form. I've had people explain to me that if I want websites to be accessible to screen readers I need to just design special websites for disabled people, on my own time, because they're doing important work. I've been "gently" teased about how people have had to spend the last 7 1/2 months listening to me mention disability in history with the requisite eye rolling and the unspoken "thank goodness that's over". I've been told that making our department actually accessible to students with disabilities would be "too inconvenient" - it would require repairing the automatic door button.

I tried to get people to acknowledge that they are now provincially mandated to receive 2 hours of training on accessibility issues to accommodate "customers" with disabilities, and was told that we couldn't require people to take it because "we couldn't even get people to take training on creating a safe space in the classroom." Because "this thing we might like" and "this thing we are legally required to do" are apparently identical. I still haven't found a single person in our department who has been informed by someone other than me of their legal requirement to take this course.

I have so much rage and it's made me a pariah in my department. So I don't talk anymore. These people determine my future, after all.
Shared publiclyView activity