Organization Spotlight: Ableism on Campus

Ori Tsameret, Intersections Editor

Courtesy of Ableism on Campus’ Instagram

This past academic year, a new organization arose at Tulane called Ableism on Campus. According to founding President Alessandra Tucker, the organization primarily operates through its online home on Instagram, @ableismoncampus. They seek to “raise awareness about ableism and disability justice issues, particularly in the education system,” Tucker said.

In regards to the organization and corresponding online presence’s creation, Tucker said that she was inspired by other theme accounts both on and off Tulane’s campus, citing Black at Tulane as a source of inspiration. She assessed that there was a gap among the accounts she saw in regards to disability coverage. 

“I was, you know, interested, not really surprised, but interested to see that there was nothing like this where people were talking about their experiences in the classroom or on campus,” Tucker said. “It is a really large issue and the truth is that half of disabled people are not able to make it through four years of college. So that was my inspiration, I saw something that wasn’t there and I wanted it to be there.”

Although the organization is headed by Tucker, it has accumulated nine active members that help run the Instagram page. The group has also been pursuing other ventures, such as their National Public Radio-lauded podcast which they launched with the help of Tulane University Broadcast Entertainment

While the membership is still small, the club members meet once every week via Zoom, and two of the nine aforementioned members are non-Tulane affiliates and not from New Orleans, either. 

“Right now we collect stories from Tulane students because that’s where we are and that’s what we know,” Tucker said. “But it is an issue everywhere and I hope that this can be not Tulane centered, because the issues here are pretty typical.”

As the president, Tucker facilitates the meetings, but remains insistent that all the members contribute and have a stake in it. She cites a variety of work done by members such as managing the organization’s communications, making sure all online materials are accessible to all, conducting relevant research and working on Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. 

As a disability justice-oriented organization, Ableism on Campus has several short- and long-term goals related to this area. Outreach to new members is a big short-term priority for the organization. This would likely occur in the form of accumulating submissions, followers and educational material to post in order to create engagement, Tucker said. In the long-term, the organization holds loftier goals. 

“My desire is for the education system to be radically reformed,” Tucker said. “I think we as an organization are on that kind of path. We want to promote inclusion, promote equity, stuff like that. We also want to get people to consider the circumstances that we have right now. A lot of it is just struggling to get accommodations, struggling to get that diagnosis that they won’t give you, those accommodations without communicating with the system, bureaucratic issues … We want to help people in the system that we are in, but ultimately we are advocating for, you know, revamping of the way we understand disability.” 

Ableism on Campus would also like to further cultivate connections with students from other campuses.

“Disability is a strong word that a lot of people don’t identify with, and I want people to come to our page and see that they can talk about their mental illness, or neurodivergence, and see that there’s nothing wrong with calling that disability or talking about it like it’s a disability issue, because it is,” Tucker said, concluding her vision for the organization.

Students looking to learn more or get more involved with Ableism on Campus can access their, which is also linked on their Instagram page.

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