Friday, April 02, 2010

More school paper news!

They did publish quotes from my letter and the phone interview in an article about the school elevators. (We're getting 2 million US$ over the summer for fixing, but no new ones.

I don't feel comfortable posting a link to the article here, because my last name is used.

The last student quoted pissed me off, so I wrote another letter to the paper!

Here is what she said (emphasis mine):
Senior PRE-MED major X said she believes students without disabilities should use the elevators as little as possible and reserve them for those who absolutely need them, especially when traversing up or down a single floor.

My response, and I forgot to ask, who determines who "absolutely" needs the elevator? I mean, I can physically take the stairs, why should I use the elevator? Guilt is no fun!

My letter (name changed because I'm not a jerk)

X's ableist comments in today's article about the elevator cannot go without comment, especially as she is pre-med! We do not need more doctors with attitudes like that.

I use the elevator to go up one floor all the time. It is what is best for me. I have an invisible disability. I am not going to wear a sign saying that, so you have no idea.

I used to live on the 3rd floor of Richardson and felt retroactively guilty for all the times I took it once I moved to the 9th. But now I don't. Some days the stairs would not be a good option for many valid, medical reasons. Sometimes I was lucky, and the elevator opened as I passed. Laziness is not a crime.

Also, how are non-disabled people supposed to move in or out if they only live on the 2nd floor?

I know X, she lives on a high floor, so she has a "right" to use the elevator, even if she's perfectly healthy.

She is not alone in her views, because I have seen disgusting ableist and sizeist graffiti in the RTN elevators by the 2nd floor button. The worst said "Get Yo Fatass on the stairs," while the other merely said "don't touch this" with an arrow. Because no one comes down from the 10th floor to the 2nd.

I wanted to respond, "Get your butt on the stairs if the elevator stopping at floors bothers you."

I used to sigh a bit when it stopped at the 2nd floor, but now I don't. People don't know me and they don't know my whole complicated health problems. Who am I to judge? It's too much energy to do that, and it's pretty useless.

All I can do is correct people, like I did this week when (after the offender got off) a girl said to me, I hate it when people take it the 2nd floor. I told her we don't know that girl's story, there are many good reasons to take the elevator, even if you don't "look" disabled.

I hope the campus becomes more physically accessible, but I also hope that ableism (discrimination against people with disabilities) becomes part of the annual "Why do you hate me?" week.

I forgot to add, and it's something I've often wondered, why don't people like X and the graffiti girls and other bigots make it so the elevator does not stop at the lower floors. (Use the guidelines post-fire alarm - girls who live on 2-5 take the stairs, 6-10, the elevator.) Surely there are enough bigots in power. Oh wait, a girl who uses a wheelchair (and sometimes a walker) lives on the 2nd floor. We'll just move her up to the 6th, except the elevators don't work anymore. Whoops.

Eff that noise. X's privilege is showing - she is able-bodied, to my knowledge, and she has "elevator" privilege, living high up in the Tower, so she can take the elevator, but no one on the 2nd floor should. Bull. Shit.

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