Accessibility (@AU?): A CTRL Student Partner Inquiry and Investment into the Undermined Struggle of Inaccessibility

By Reba Mathews, Class of 2025

Note from the Author

This is a project that will explore accessibility and disability at AU. I chose not to solely rely on the term disabled, as many are unable to acquire the official recognition of this identity due to systemic obstacles. I also believe accessibility should be perceived as general classroom practice, as it pertains to the ethical accommodating and validation of individual circumstances. The reputable progressive AU culture implies it has seemingly ‘met’ its moral quota for accessibility. Our university and its claimed continued commitment to “diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusive excellence” must surely be aware of its fallibility, as an ultimately exclusive private higher education institution. I urge the AU community to question if we are truly ever at the forefront or peak of accessibility. This is a matter of the well-being of our students and faculty, as well as the prized inclusive reputation of AU at stake. These concerns do not solely fall upon the laboring self-advocacy of students, nor the reenvisioned teaching practices of professors. We must be collectively backed by the support of the administration, in order to truly ensure dedicated accessible praxis and resources.


I have often been presumed as an indignant student when I voice my grievances with certain education practices. Such perceptions should not interfere with the urgency of the advocacy I pursue, not only my peers but the staff at AU who are also affected by such ableist institutions. I urge you to read with an open mind and the understanding that I do not intend to solely criticize the shortcomings of your role in the classroom. I would especially not want to discourage those who commit time in the classroom and to the AU community in an effort to practice inclusivity to the best of their ability. (That would be pretty hypocritical of me to do, wouldn’t it? 😉 I urge you to acknowledge the importance of student voice and experience. I also push you to question where potential insecurities or negative reactions to such ‘criticism’ may stem from. I would also like to clarify, I do not claim to be an expert or the ultimate representative for the student perspective. So let me present the reminder to AU to listen to your students, your staff, and those advocating for authentic accessibility.

Click here to download a PDF of my project!