Letters to the EditorNews

UGA Is Inhospitable to the Disabled

My freshman year (2014–’15), I fractured my spine. I could still walk, though my doctors limited that to one hour a day—and no using stairs. One of my classes was on the fourth floor of a building with broken elevators. The handicapped ramp outside of Reed Hall, long and looping, routinely shaved 10 minutes off my daily walking allowance. North Campus was functionally inaccessible. Unable to bend, I couldn’t reach scoops for most foods in the dining halls. Professors were obviously frightened of speaking with me about my academic needs: “Don’t worry, if you don’t do well, I’ll pass you. I know you’re hurting.” I felt humiliated.

None of this will surprise anyone with a physical disability at the University of Georgia. Our state’s flagship university remains an inhospitable location for the disabled, barely and begrudgingly retrofitted to their needs. While this remains, the freedom of students with disabilities to seek an education should be considered under grave threat. I almost dropped out. How many don’t even bother coming? UGA must address these concerns to ensure the freedom of the physically disabled to seek academic excellence.