On Thursday April 7th, five junior and senior students met to discuss their experiences on the OWU campus as members of the LGBTQ+ community who identify with having and living with disability.
The panel was moderated by Stephanie Rowland, who serves as the campus coordinator of Accessibility Services, and framed the panel discussions by asking questions about campus policies, student experiences with accessibility, and programs provided on campus.
The panel discussion was organized by Sarah Smith, an OWU Junior majoring in Social Justice and minoring in Sociology/Anthropology.
“I first had this idea originally as a final project for my Teaching for Social Justice [class] where I created this idea for both a panel discussion and a club for students with disabilities and allies. Now, with joining the SAGE (Sexuality and Gender Equity) SLU I am now able to take what I learned from previous Social Justice and Sociology courses and apply them to my house project,” says Smith about bringing her idea to fruition.
“This event is important for all students [to be] able to come together to learn, gain knowledge, and hear about students' experiences here at OWU. [For] students who may not identify with the LGBTQ+ community or have a disability, this event can aid in understanding, awareness, and knowledge about these communities. In regards to bringing awareness to marginalized students and creating an open dialogue for all students to be a part of.”
Smith shares a similar sentiment as the rest of the events panel who discussed the ways these types of events can spark conversations, change on campus, and help people to rethink what ‘normal’ looks like.
All of the panelists shared some of their lived experience as students living at the intersection of the LGBTQ+ and disability community. Some other things discussed at the event include the need for more physical accessibility on campus, students' positive experiences with Bishop Access and the ways it has helped them grow and learn to be self-sufficient.
So what’s next? Panelists shared ideas of continuing these conversations around campus by inviting both outside community members to campus to speak and share their work and experiences, as well as other students to join the conversations, especially Black students, students of color, allies, and professors.
(Source: https://owu.meritpages.com/?merit_achievement_id=69912 )
If you think you could benefit from accessibility services please reach out to the office by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting room #316 in the R.W. Corns Building. You do not need an official or medical diagnosis to receive support.