Opinions & Editorials

Xavier doesn’t support disabled students

By Morgan Miles, Staff writer

It’s disappointing to be reminded of your disabilities every time you wake up. I get up and have to take medicine to live like a normal person. And when I wake up, I’m lucky if I don’t have to battle off intrusive thoughts before class. 

Now, imagine being reminded on campus, too. Imagine rolling up to an accessibility button and pressing it, only to find that many buildings don’t have properly functioning buttons or completely lack a button. 

With all the money Xavier receives and for which it continues to ask, disability services shouldn’t be so hard. At the very least, they should ensure every building has a functioning button. 

As someone that lives with many invisible disabilities, I’m really disappointed in the lack of accommodations for disabilities that Xavier provides. Whether in the classroom or on campus, I feel that, because I’m not confined to a wheelchair or suffering from any other visible ailment, I have to prove my level of disability. Even then, as I mentioned before, the visibly-handicapped still struggle to receive the full accommodation they deserve.  

I have to prove to professors that I deserve an extension because I was in the hospital, hooked up to wires for an exhausting 24 hours. I have to prove that my sick days shouldn’t be taken away because I’m so suicidal, so consumed by my thoughts, that I’m afraid to get out of bed. 

I see my friend combat the symptoms of her disability just so she doesn’t have to miss class and chance failing an assignment because the professor won’t provide accommodations.  

Xavier preaches a lot with which it can’t keep up. If you asked students with invisible disabilities — or any difficult mental health issues — they would say that sick days are not at all the same as mental health days. 

In the same way, I believe that my hospital visits shouldn’t count as the very few absences that I am permitted before I start losing points that will lower my grade. 

On the first day, while going over expectations, why are the exceptions to assignments or absences so intense? A funeral or quarantine are my two options. What about insomnia and exhaustion? What about missing a day of my medicine — the one that helps me live a normal life — because of a late prescription refill? Why do I feel that I’m made to be embarrassed of my condition because it’s not well known nor well understood by most people?   

The guidelines don’t include me. I never feel included, because the rules weren’t made for me. They were made by people who are expected to accommodate students with disabilities. I know there’s an office, and I know there are rules for students like me. But I don’t feel accepted by either. 

I’ve had some professors who knock acceptance out of the park, but they’ve been minimal compared to what I thought this university would provide. If I told them I lost my wheelchair and had to miss class or turn in homework late, no professor would say, “Just crawl, then.’’ But if I can’t show them the suffering that I endure on the inside, it doesn’t count. 

I must be lazy. I must be making excuses. I’m throwing a pity party. I have to get back to work. Honestly, I think I’d feel less offended if Xavier blatantly acted different toward those with disabilities and those without any. At least then I’d feel like someone cares enough to work in cooperation with my needs. 

And I don’t need much: I can take timed tests and finish early, take my own notes and live without a service animal. What I need is to feel understood, noticed and represented at a university associated with Jesuit values. 

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