Academics talk about access…

This video is just hands-down, no contest, absolutely the best and funniest and most awesome thing I’ve ever seen. Its creator, Melanie Yergeau, calls it  “an example of digital activism, not to mention collective resistance to the repetition that is exclusion.” Go check out Melanie’s blog about it, then watch the video.  It’s captioned, it’s less than seven minutes long, there’s no excuse.


11 thoughts on “Academics talk about access…

  1. Oh, sweet lord, how did they know this was one of my most precious memories from graduate school: “I don’t even see you as a woman, Kate — I see you as a real Philosopher!”

  2. I’m sure I’m not getting something here, and sure that people will jump on me for saying this (and no doubt I will say it wrong), but it seems to me that this is not that hard:

    1. Tell students who have registered disabilities with the appropriate group on campus to come talk to you early in the term.

    2. Talk with students; find out the accommodations that the organization on campus says that they need. Work together to find solutions if they are not obvious.

    3. Give students the accommodations they need.

    Although snafus happen (most commonly, students wait to come talk to me until halfway in the quarter or more), what is the problem, people? Is my campus unusual in having a central body for students with disabilities — is that it? If faculty really can’t give students a list of specified accommodations — what is their problem?

  3. Good questions, justanotherfemalephilosopher! In my experiences at three different institutions, many faculty believe they should not have to even know about the requirements of access. At one, I went to a purely voluntary info-meeting on accessibility — voluntary, because my coworkers lost their shit at the suggestion that it should be mandatory — and I was, I am serious, the only faculty member in the auditorium. It was all admins, support staff, and students otherwise.

    Most institutions aren’t that extreme, but indeed, a sizable minority of my colleagues seem annoyed that they have to think about anything other than students who closely resemble the professors in ability, luck, and well-being.

  4. That’s just baffling to me. The vast majority of accommodations are simple things like more time on exams, recording a class, or having a note taker. Perhaps my colleagues are resistant about these things, too — I never asked. To me, it just seems like the reasonable thing to do, not even something I would give my kudos for.

  5. justanotherfemalephilosopher: I suspect we might need to think in terms of the character or social faults/misconceptions that lead to these reactions. There are a lot of faculty prepared to say, when kids come to university, it isn’t me that needs to change; they need to change. Some people think disabilities that are not visible are usually just someone trying to exploit something, etc.

    And universities have obligations to train their faculty which they too often miss out on.

  6. Well said, Anne. It is, unfortunately, the most privileged people who tend to be all eye-rolling when it comes to having to think about people who are different from themselves (that is, in my experience). It seems to me akin to Marilyn Frye’s description of the Arrogant Eye!

  7. Profbigk:

    In your first comment above, you blow your cover, so to speak.

    Maybe that does not matter to you. Maybe it does.

    Just in case it does.

  8. Nice of you to express concern, good egg. But that cover was so blown, so long ago. :-) (Mostly because I keep forgetting to log in before entering a comment!)

  9. Just to be clear, I wasn’t so much expressing doubt that this occurs as expressing shock that it does. I guess it would be good to understand why it occurs so that we can get the offending faculty to change their ways, although part of me wants just wants to say, “It’s policy. Do it.” (Not very philosophical, I realize). It should just be the norm, unquestioned. Maybe this is a faculty training issue — something that should be made clear to all new faculty when they start at a university, like university grading policies, etc.

  10. That was all sorts of amazing. I definitely ran into a couple of those professors in my schooling. One of my profs didn’t allow laptops unless you had “official documentation” and even the you had to sit in the back of the class, which had the effect of segregating and outing the students with invisible disabilities.

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