Megan Lynch from UC Access details the fight for accessibility on college campuses and how you can get involved using their Demandifesto.
Season 2 of The Resistbot Podcast, hosted by Melanie Dione, features a different interview every week with an organizer working to create change in their community. We aim to elevate voices without a large platform, focusing on their stories. Our pod is brought to you by the same volunteers behind the Resistbot (https://resist.bot) chatbot that's driven over 30 million pieces of correspondence to elected officials since 2017. If you haven't given it a try, pull out your phone and text the word "resist" to the number 50409 to get started. You can text officials from your Mayor to the President, check your voter registration, start your own campaigns, and much more!
Melanie: Welcome to The Resist Bot
Podcast, hosted by me, Melanie Dione.
Join me this week and every week
as I chat with the advocates and
activists in your neighborhood at the
intersection where policy meets people.
Now, let's start the.
And once again, it's time
for the Resist Bot podcast.
I'm your host, Melanie Dion.
This is where we talk weekly about
where policy intersects with people,
and we had a fairly eventful week today.
Well, when we're recording this is the
seventh more versus Harper is being
heard before scotus, this is the North
Carolina Congressional gerrymandering.
That is being heard by SCOTUS
today, so of course I'll be
keeping you up to date with that.
Also, Senator Rafael Warnock beat
Republican Challenger, Herschel
Walker, whose name I hope I
never hear with politics again.
I know this was a narrow victory
and that was concerning for a lot of
folks, which I completely understand.
But you have to remember that
Georgia's purple is a little more.
A burgundy, like a fine
wine with voter suppression.
So you basically got like
Fulton County and DeKalb County
standing between Georgia in 1861.
So the victory for Rafael Warnock
was a big deal and it's done.
And thanks to organizers.
The role of organizers
in this election cannot.
And while you know the regular folks,
we have our sometimes annoyances
with the tactics because I think
everybody's breathing a sigh of relief.
Because they're getting a little
break from the text messages, but
it was necessary and effective.
This is the type of work that needs
to be done when you are dealing with
suppression that is sweeping the country.
This was Georgia's highest turnout
for any race, not just runoff.
This was their highest turnoff.
And that's with Georgia using every
suppression tactic they had access to.
So that is impressive, and I want to
give a special thanks to organizers.
There were organizations like Black
Voters Matter, who were just working
tirelessly to get out the vote.
So we just have to remember that,
you know, politicians are great.
They have their function.
That's fine and good.
But organizers, we really look to them
to move the meter, which takes me to
this week's guest I have with me activist
Megan Lynch with organization uc Access.
Now Megan is also a Resist
Bot user, so yay for that.
But right now, Megan and uc
access, now they're taking the
University of California to.
For its lack of accessibility.
So I wanna first bring up Megan.
Megan: Thanks for having
Thank you so, so much for being here.
Can you first start off telling us a
little bit about you and what you do and
how you came to be affiliated with uc?
Megan: Well, I am sort of unusual.
I'm a 57 year old master student
at uc Davis in the graduate group
of horticulture and agronomy.
So I arrived here as a 54 year old,
uh, disabled, student in fall of 2019.
And even before the first quarter started,
I could see there were, you know, issues
in terms of the accessibility that I tried
to solve through the sort of channels
that you're supposed to solve them.
And when, when that wasn't working
out, I thought, well, if I'm gonna
have to do this much work for these
very simple things that we as members
of the public are entitled to and
are paying for, I might as well
do that work for more than just.
And I did start looking around
for other disabled students.
We'll get into it more later, I suppose,
but just to keep this short , uh,
basically, kind of threw out this
vision for what we could fight for.
Hoping to find more disabled students,
uh, who felt the same way, and to find
allies, hopefully, who also could see
that this was a very unjust situation
that's been going on for way too long.
Melanie: Thank you.
I that, I mean that really encapsulated.
I wanna ask you this because we know
we are what, 30 what years after the
Americans with Disabilities Act, right?
So can you talk a little bit about.
How universities get
around being non-compliant.
And one of the reasons I'm seeing
universities and not just, uh, the
University of California here, which we
will get back to, is that I was doing
research and I was looking at an audit
earlier this year that said there was
90% non-compliance across the board
for university websites for, for our
institutes of higher ed website and how
it even manifested in little things.
A lack of accessibility among third
party with third party software.
Can you talk a bit about how
universities get around non-compliance in
Megan: that way?
Well, let me start.
I guess the best way to start about it is
that I became physically disabled in 29.
So I have the experience of
what it was like to live in
society not being disabled.
And how I thought of things
then versus what I know and
how I think about things now.
So one of the things that makes this
possible is the fact that, you know,
and I use the word abled rather than
non-disabled, just cuz it's simpler,
disabled and abled, abled society.
There's a kind of like defacto
segregation that goes on.
Most people do not know, quote
unquote out disabled people.
Of course there's some disabled people
who have no choice about being out.
It's very obvious they're disabled, but
a lot of people have disabilities where
you wouldn't know it unless they claim it.
When you have a society that's
built inaccessibly, which much
of our society is it literally
fences people out of areas, right?
Then abled people who are
this sort of like in that hem.
Group in the society in terms of the
myths we tell about each oth other and
how we fund things and that kind of stuff.
Don't really actually know much about
what day to day existence or anything is
like for disabled people, and that means
that who they learn that information from.
Is from people who have like a
vested interest in keeping that
separation and injustice going.
So because of that, you know, disabled
people and some allies fought very
hard for disability law in this
country, not, and Ada is not the only
one, but it's the most famous one.
It did improve things however.
The mechanism for enforcement.
It's not like there's an ADA sheriff
that takes care of this and because
of this ignorance that a lot of
folks have, like how would they know?
You know, they don't really
know that many disabled people.
They sort of think, well,
that's illegal report.
That and it'll be taken care
of , and that's not how that works.
Uh, the enforcement mechanism largely
as I understand it, and I have to say
I'm not a lawyer, I'm not an expert
in disability law, but generally you
would have to sue as a disabled person.
And disabled people happen to also be
among the poorest in our society, because
society does a lot to impoverish us.
We get punished financially.
We have a higher cost of living and.
For instance, when you see other
higher education, even community
colleges do this, where instead of
just offering what ADA says you should
offer just making accessibility or at
least the highest common denominator
of accessibility available by
default, because disabled people are
members of the public, we pay taxes.
We pay for these institutions,
you could just design them so
they're accessible by default.
We have this sort of rationing and
policing system that gets used, and again,
because there's this sort of segregation
in society, there's not a lot of disabled
people around able people to kind of talk.
Back to that idea.
And so everybody just accepts
that that's the way it should be.
And so because of that, the way that
higher Ed is able to keep from being
accessible is that it takes enormous
amounts of money and then often disabled
people are often, not everybody is,
but some people's disabilities, a
lot of people's disabilities really
make them tired and stressed anyway.
They're going through it
in the medical system.
They're going through
it in the aid system.
They're going through it for every
single, like they have to fill out form.
Every single thing they need in
this society, it tires you out.
So like even for people who
aren't disabled, a, a lawsuit's
very stressful and draining.
So when the only people who are gonna
sue over this are disabled people,
it really limits the enforcement of
this law and those who have a vested
interest in keeping things this way.
. So they would rather put the fence up
and just take their chances on who's
gonna sue them, because they usually
have more resources than the disabled
person does anyway, so they can
hire, you know, larger law firms who
specialize in fighting these kinds of.
Melanie: That really speaks to the
importance of intersectionality,
Megan, because this is something
that unless you're in that
situation, how would you know?
Unless you are in a social situation
or in like a basic everyday situation
with someone who is disabled.
And you're right, a lot of people do not.
A lot of people don't have that experience
to build any kind of attachment to it.
That leads to a lack of importance
being placed on the need to sue as
someone with resources, as someone
you know, outside of that sphere.
Megan: And people assume that the
government's, you know, enforcing
the law, it's not off base to assume
that, but it's a naive assumption.
What you were saying about
intersectionality is also important
in terms of like a lot of the stock
photos and illustrations are sort of
like of white disabled people, and we
have to remember that likeability is
just one way of being marginalized.
If you're marginalized by more than
that way, then you can imagine how much
harder it is for you to get the resource.
And you know, speaking about
cultural competency, same thing.
You know, like something that's
gonna work for somebody who's white
and maybe getting more privilege in
society is more privileged in society.
Sort of more made for them than somebody
who's marginalized in multiple ways.
You know, maybe even what little aid
that we do have out there in terms
of resources, information, you know,
community support isn't keeping in
mind folks who have multiple marginal.
Melanie: that is the absolute truth.
When you look at any segment of life,
and this is something that Thompson
said very early on in one of our earlier
episodes, you have to look at that also
through the lens of disability, the
lens of what dealing with this plus
a disability actually looks like and.
Absolutely includes being marginalized.
That absolutely includes if you're
a black woman and need abortion
care, you know, if you are a black
boy and need mental health care.
All of that factors into it.
So I appreciate you putting such
a fine point on that though.
So what you, you know, what
you've also done is taken action.
Let's, I wanna get back to
the University of California.
With you taking action.
You started out with your demand manifesto
and how that, or what sparked it, and
I know you went into it a little bit at
your intro, but can you put a little, a
few more details and context into from
where you really got involved and, and.
Took the next step and to where
we are now, or at the very
least, to the Demand Manifesto.
Megan: The Demand Manifesto started as
sort of a bullet point list in fall.
You know, as I said, I was encountering
it even before I started, and
I started just making a list of
things that I was encountering
as well as things that I noticed.
Uh, while I don't yet use a wheelchair
myself, I, you know, had a really
good friend who does, and so he.
Helped open my eyes to some of the things.
So I had some ability
to spot those things.
And at that point I did not know that
many disabled people on campus, there
is no disability cultural center.
So you go to the student cultural center,
there's nothing there for disabled people.
And so your only way of like finding
other disabled people here would be to
go to the rationing and policing agency.
And then you feel weird because , because
then you're like, you know, you're,
instead of getting to know people in
this real regular way, you're sort of
going around in the lobby of the place
that's kind of policing you and going,
Hey, do you want to organize to get
It just felt weird.
So it made it difficult, but
Melanie: it's so.
I was just gonna say, it's so interesting
that you said that because that was
another one of the things that I was
coming across and how not only are
universities, yours included, missing
the mark in terms of, you know,
these big glaring things, but also
there were lapses of just making an
extracurricular presence possible and
That's an incredibly good point because
one of the things, and it took me a
while to sort of see it, and this is even
with me having been disabled, all these.
And having taken courses at community
college as a disabled student before
I came here, it really was a journey
for me to, you know, because I was
raised with this way of viewing things.
And so even with the disability
and even knowing how bad it was,
I still hadn't, you know, I'm
sure it's one thing if you're born
disabled, you know, but if you.
Are raised as enabled person
and then you become disabled.
Like there's a long journey
in terms of like peeling off
that internalized ableism.
So even decades later, I'm
still kind of dealing with that.
But you're very right that like one
of the things that goes on, we have
this stereotype that it's like, okay,
all you have to do is fill out a
form and then you can get this thing.
It's not that much to ask of you, and
we don't question why those things are.
In the first place.
But the other thing about it is
that one of the issues that I had
spotted before that quarter started
had to do with inaccessible cycle
racks here at uc, Davis and uc.
Campus that has gotten awards for being
like a bike friendly campus, right?
And yet they have the conception
that there like is no such
thing as a disabled cyclist.
Why do we need anything like
an accessible rack and these
racks to be an accessible rack?
It's not special.
Like these kind of U racks I've seen
in most cities I've lived in here.
So I went to talk about these things
and what that reveals it like they.
I got two different answers from
the policing agency here, the
Rationing and Policing Agency.
They said, oh, it never occurred
to us that that was something
that needed to be accessible.
And then from the transportation and
parking services here that is in charge
of designing siding and you know,
selecting, buying, and citing those
racks, the immediate knee-jerk response
was, this isn't covered under ada.
That's not correct, but
that was their immediate.
So the conception here, the thing
is, is the way the university
approaches accessibility is not
like this is a public university.
Disabled people are part of the public.
Therefore, their response
is, this is a law.
We don't wanna comply with the law
anymore than we absolutely have to.
And so there's two separate offices,
one for students, one for employees,
because the law differs somewhat.
So you see, it's not coming
from a ca, a place of inclusion.
or care, it's coming from a place of
compliance, and because it's coming from
a place of compliance, you'll notice
that everything they offer is related
only to being in the classroom or work.
You know, when you get a brochure
for a campus, when you're shopping,
where your student's gonna go, where
the student wants to go to, they
have shiny pictures, not so much of.
Here's your accessible
chair in your classroom.
. Everybody else gets, gets pictures of
cool events they can go to and clubs
and you know, isn't this a night?
Let's look at the arboretum
here, or whatever.
These things aren't accessible here.
You get this bare minimum version, so
like even your wheelchair accessible
transportation here, we'll get you to
school or to work, but you're not gonna
be able to get to this other campus
event because we don't consider that
something that you're entitled to do.
The, the question you had
there just reminded me of that.
Melanie: That's all.
No, I, I was just thinking about the
lack of effort and the lack of care
that it takes and, and one of the
knee-jerk responses people often have
is, well, when you have a robust student
life for everyone, including disabled
people, then that should be, you know,
makes for a, a better campus Experie.
Yeah, that's great.
Love for everybody to have a great campus
experience, but right now we're talking
specifically about meeting the needs.
Universities are not places of survival.
You go to universities to thrive,
and that is not just for able people,
that's that's not just for abled
students or abled faculty, but that's
for disabled students, faculty as well.
How do policies factor in if they.
Visiting family with a disability
does that, just thinking in the
broader way of how a lack of
accessibility can truly branch
Megan: out, or even just visitors in
general, because again, the general public
is paying for the University of California
and the University of California
has arboretums, botanical gardens,
museums, you know, sculpture gardens.
There are all sorts of things that uc
has that the general public goes to.
Why shouldn't those be accessible?
Add some perspective to here, and it's
not a perspective I came to immediately
either is it seems like lack of effort,
but actually it's effort in another
direction because these offices of
rationing and policing grew up after ada.
So what they decided was rather than use
public money, To make things accessible.
They would use it to hire more
lawyers, to defend them, to hire
mostly abled people in these offices.
By the way, it's not disabled.
People who know what lived experience is
like, who are even handling the rationing
in policing, it is overwhelmingly abled
people, so they get a good salary and
benefits compared to the grad students
who are currently striking, for instance,
and their entire job is to make it hard.
To get accessibility and to protect the
university from lawsuits by frustrating
the efforts to fight . So it is a lot
of effort and actually money, public
money, and sometimes the other thing
that was appalling, and it's not as easy
to get a nitty gritty budget as I would
like as a member of the public , but,
uh, through reading the student press
here and, and an argument that the
chancellor may here at uc Davis was.
The student body here had a referendum
cuz they were trying to decide, do we
still wanna have, like whatever the
amount was taken out of undergraduate
fees to support NCAA type sports here.
And the chancellor was arguing
these student athletes come from,
you know, difficult backgrounds
and just like disabled students,
you should be funding them.
So that was what let me know.
That what actually funds the office that
rations accessibility and polices us is
our own student money to some extent.
But there's also public money
that goes in the general public.
So this is, it's, it's
actually not a lack of effort.
It's an effort that's been diverted.
So public money gets diverted to this.
And public effort gets diverted to
this, which is entirely about keeping
a sector of the public, including,
and this is another thing that I
people need to process too, is that
disability is a very easy club to join.
And particularly the way our healthcare
system is right now, particularly
with the way the pandemic handling
in the nation is going right now,
it's extremely easy club to join.
So they're really keeping you future
you from being able to use these.
And University of California is not
unique in this as you, you pointed out.
Higher ed in general tends to approach
things this way, but uc is a particularly
good system to work on because.
It is one of the largest, if not
the largest public university
system in this country.
And it also, it's the largest
employer in California, and it
is one of the largest landlords.
And it also runs medical centers.
It runs nature reserves, research
stations that, you know, it's an
enormously important part of our economy.
And California's economy is one of the,
you know, if it were a state, would be
like the six largest economy in the.
So it's really important to get
this to be accessible to the public
that's funding it a great deal of
whom are disabled or may become
I appreciate you pointing that out.
You're absolutely right on all counts.
And that was something that, it's not so
much that I didn't think of it, it just,
it goes back to what you said earlier.
You think when there are things in
place, people are actually following
the laws or there's some sort.
Procedure that they are in violation of.
And the tactic has been to just
not truly have a solid procedure.
Megan: And I think another thing
too, and this is something where
abolitionists have really helped
my thought process around them.
Is that what we're sort of raised
to believe is that, well, it's
really important for us to have this
bureaucracy because we need people
to really prove they're disabled,
otherwise people will cheat.
And there are two things around that.
One is we can look from the
college cheating scandal.
What actually happens to people who cheat?
I mean, if we're gonna treat a bunch
of innocent disabled people like
they're criminals because we're
supposedly trying to protect disabled
people from their being cheaters.
What actually happens to the cheater?
You will find usually that you know,
people who are claiming they're disabled
and aren't, genuinely aren't, you
know, and are trying to cheat their way
into a college or something like that.
The consequences of that are
really small and not worth
punishing a bunch of innocent.
Disabled, actually disabled people over.
But the other thing is, and this is
where the abolition park comes in, is
that if you don't ration resources,
okay, there's some resources you
can't help but ration because like for
instance, a disabled parking spot, if
we made every parking spot in the lot
disabled, there'd be fewer spaces.
And sometimes you do wanna do that.
But a lot of times there are reasons,
you know, there are functional reasons
why that would be really difficult to do.
So you have a limited resource and in that
case, you know, you do have an interest
in trying to make sure that the people
it's made for are the ones getting it.
But in a lot of things, You know, when
it comes to just being able to get
into the classroom, the door's being
wide enough, you know, the there being
a button to push that's gonna open
the door for you, things like that.
These are not ration things
and you know, a wheelchair
user's not gonna care, usually
If an abled person uses the kick button
to open the automatic door, as long as
that kick button's there for them to open
automatic door when they need to do so.
So that's another reason that we get
sort of trained into thinking that
this way of making things is fine.
because we're trying to keep out cheaters
and therefore we need to make this
this rationed special request thing.
And it's like, no, just make it
all accessible as much as you can.
And that's why I say highest common
denominator, because you know, some
people are gonna have access needs
that are unique, you know, and then
what you do is you treat people with
respect and work it out with them.
As a person, but if you make it so
that everything we have in our society
is the highest common denominator of
accessibility that we can make, it's
gonna be a much more inclusive society.
And it's kind of like what
happened with curb cuts.
I mean, everybody uses curb cuts now.
UPS people use it.
Uh uh, able abled parents pushing, you
know, a stroller use it cyclist who
are not disabled to use it, you know,
and it's not generally not hurting
people that other people are using it.
It's something everybody can
That's an excellent point.
I wanna talk a little bit about,
What happened with the action steps?
When you formulated the action
steps, you presented them and I know
pointed out not only the benefit
for disabled students, but also you
know, some of these same things.
This is something that there
are times where it can be
universally used and beneficial.
What was the response afterward?
Was the university communicative?
Were they ? We kinda know the answer
to that, like I, I kinda know what
I mean, but can you talk about
what that, you know, what that was
like and what brought you here?
Because obviously like spoiler alert.
We have a petition.
So can you, can you
talk, talk about that a
Megan: little bit?
Well, um, my initial conception in
my naive take is, you know, while I'd
been sort of active following other
people's stuff, you know, I'd always
been somebody who would, if somebody gave
me the talking points and I agreed, you
know, I would move on, things like that.
But I'd never been the person to do
this myself, so I didn't really know
what I was doing and I didn't know.
I was pretty naive about
how it was gonna work.
So naively I thought,
okay, people are good people.
They'll wanna do the right thing.
So we'll get, like, you know, within
a week we should be able to get
enough people and really pressure
the university and embarrass
them into doing the right thing.
That's not how it went.
But in, in any case, what I used at first
was a tool that we got subsidized, used
of a tool that sort of political campaigns
are used using, so it like a back end.
So that helped us generate a bunch
of, you know, we could put in the
email, we could put in the link to
the demand manifesto and we could
make it so that it could be shared on
Twitter or Facebook or whatever, and.
We did that, and it took a lot to get
signatures compared to just to compare
, like how much education is needed around
this, about why, you know, again, like
why would this be important and stuff.
It's hard to get that all
down into a, a sound bite.
So like, for instance, When there
was a petition, you know, to get
free parking at the university,
everybody signing that, right?
But trying to get this signed
was harder because people
didn't know as much about it.
But in the initial days of it,
it was very successful in the
sense you could see there was a
little bit of a panic coming from.
Certain offices, I think particularly
because, I don't know exactly,
maybe it was the email headers or
something, but they almost seemed to
see that it was a, a political tool,
like something, a campaign tool.
And that really put like, you know, put
a fire under somebody's but and so,
uh, The tool addressed the governor,
the Board of Regents, at this one
Board of Regents email address.
There weren't separate board, uh,
region, email addresses available to
us and then each chancellor, and so
the governor didn't send anything back.
I'm not sure.
I'm trying to remember if
the board did anything.
And then maybe like only a third of the
chancellors even bothered responding.
Now, what was interesting to me
was that the ones who did did stuff
like promise that they were gonna
read the Demand Manifesto and get
back to us, and that never happened.
And Cal, for instance, said, oh, we'll
have our, you know, somebody get in touch
with you because , this came out in.
And it was issued on the 30th anniversary.
This was July of 2020.
It was the 30th anniversary of the ada.
And they, they give us in a response
saying, oh, well, October is National
Disability Employment Awareness Month.
So, uh, we'll have our coordinator
get back to you to, to, uh, schedule
you guys for something in a.
And that didn't happen either, so I
mean it Yeah, I know your mouth is open
and that's exactly how I felt about it.
October's the only month you can doability
Melanie: stuff, right?
We're all, we're all booked up.
Bring back shame, please.
I'm, so, I'm speechless on that.
But now we're in 2022, right?
And there has been . No, no move.
Like we've had two October since then.
It's been three Octobers.
And we're still waiting.
So I wanna talk a little bit about your
petition that you have outstanding,
that you have with with Resist Spot
right now that I would love to encourage
our California audience to sign.
I know a lot of times our
petitions are usually national.
But that's why it's gonna be really
important to share this one, because
we want to make sure that as many
Californian users as we have or
new users can get access to it, can
see it, sign it, because this is
something that is absolutely important.
Of course, it's absolutely beneficial
to us as a society as a whole to just.
Be decent people, but also it is, this
is of utmost importance to our friends
and neighbors with disabilities.
So the petition is titled uc, access.
Now University of California
must be accessible to all.
And if you'd like to add your
name to this petition, you
can use the call sign, P h I.
S Y V right now, I would love to get this.
We, we have a starting goal of a hundred.
If by the time you are listening to
this, it is past a hundred, that just
means the new goal is 150, and if
it's at 150, then the goal is 200.
Let's run it up because this is
something that is incredibly important.
Can you speak, Megan, to the ideal
steps that you'll have your ideal next?
From the university, what would
you ideally like to see happen?
Megan: Well, the manifesto was written
in 2020 and God knows it needs an update
because, you know, some of our experiences
in the time since then have changed.
You know what we would like
to ask, for instance, I think
at the time we were sort of.
Thinking, well, you know, a kinder,
gentler rationing and policing , uh,
infrastructure would be good.
Whereas now we would rather
just do away with that entirely.
, um, the fundamental action steps that we,
uh, put in the manifesto are that, you
know, uc should set us policy that ADA
is a ceiling, not a ceiling, but a floor.
It's the minimum standard.
That's the bare legal minimum you can
get away with uc and far too many sort of
treat it as if they even reach that level.
They go, woo, we're at the finish line,
you know, . And it's like, no, you,
you're at minimum wage is what you're at.
You're at what the least the,
that you're legally supposed
to be able to get away with.
And then to set, uh, as you see policy
that disability is part of diversity.
It's, uh, should be in DEI programs
that would feature disability
and, and its intersection.
And that, uh, the DEI offices must
hire diversely disabled people, by
which I mean, not just that people have
a variety of intersections in terms
of other marginalizations, because
that's incredibly important, but even
a variety of disabilities because, you
know, there's, there's lateral ableism
where people know their own experiences
really well, but like, don't know.
Those of other disabled people.
And so you really need, just as you
know, as much diversity among disabled
people as possible to be able to
do a truly accessible and inclusive
experience in our public university.
All the infrastructure that they're not
taking care of, because like it's older
buildings and so they figure, well, this
was pre ada, we don't have to do anything.
Time's up, you know, you gotta , you
gotta change and make those,
bring those buildings up to date.
And that's also important in terms
of the pandemic because that's being
used as an excuse to not upgrade the
H V A C systems to move 13 or above.
There's, you know, cuz like some of them,
it's not enough to put new filters in.
They'd have to upgrade the whole H V
A C and it's like, well, Do it, you
know, it's a good time to upgrade your
ada, uh, and above standard anyway.
Getting affordable, accessible housing
for undergraduate and graduate students.
Uh, here at uc Davis,
there is no priority.
Like if I'd had a child, I could
have gotten into grad housing here.
Uh, if I'd had a romantic partner, I could
have gotten priority in the grad housing.
But as a disabled person with access
need I had and not a child and not a
romantic partner, I had zero priority.
So you've gotta make it so that for those
disabled people who have access needs
where they really need to be close to
campus, or they have other access needs
that could be solved through university
housing that aren't solved through looking
at an department or going somewhere else.
To be honest, even among
affordable housing, it's often not
accessible and that's gotta change.
So, you know, they have to admit
and hire diversely disabled student,
staff, and faculty in the, at least
the proportions that disabled people
exist in the general population.
They've gotta publish statistics on these
things, which they do not currently do.
Uh, and they have to fund and
compensate working groups with
decision making capabilities at each
campus, medical facility, lab, field
facility, and extension center, so
that they can identify what needs to
be worked on so that it's not just
people going, oh, we need, you know,
now we have a new compliance goal,
but they don't know anything about
accessibility and they don't have any
lived experience of being disabled.
Instead, you need to make.
We're hiring and admitting to school
the kind of people who represent
the diversity we see in the public.
And that should be happening generally
as well, not just with disability issues.
And so there's gotta be an audit of uc
initiatives and construction projects
that are already underway to correct
for any lack of accessibility be before
it becomes literally set in stone.
So an example of that is like there's a
new building that just opened this year.
And the two great centerpieces of this
teaching and learning center here on
uc Davis are two gigantic concrete
stairways with study areas that are
benches that are adjoining the stairway.
And these are meant to be gathering areas.
And you know, how is somebody who
uses a wheelchair or mobility scooter
or anything supposed to do that?
And they designed a building post ada.
They designed this as
the centerpiece, so it.
The enormous either disconnect if
it's innocent or if it's not innocent.
It's basically saying, Hey, we don't
mind taking your taxes, but we're
gonna use 'em to build this thing.
You can't use.
There's more that, you know, like
funding, scholarships and fellowships.
It's very difficult for, for disabled
people, uh, with certain disabilities to
even get some of these, uh, scholarships
because, for instance, the yardstick, like
GPA wise, that you're being measured by,
you're being measured by a system that is.
Like in a way that's hostile to you.
So it makes it hard to
perform up to that level.
Uh, so we have to make sure there's
funding and stuff that makes it
possible for disabled people to be here.
And there's a couple other
ones, but, but it is broken
down into sort of bullet point.
And then we give more background in
the demand manifesto about ableism,
about the medical model of disability.
And then there's a lot of sort of,
Bullet point examples at the end to
like be really nitty gritty about this
is something we've observed and other
campuses, no doubt, have other examples.
Let's get to work.
I truly appreciate that.
Again, it's, it's not just uc.
That's, that's the
breathtaking thing about it.
This is something 90% across the board.
Is a strong number, but it also goes
back to what you said about there
not being enforcement, not when it,
when there's no adequate enforcement
and the, the view is that this
is the ceiling and not the floor.
This is even that, not even meeting
the floor not, not, not meeting, not
even meeting their ceiling and being
completely fine with missing the mark.
I wanna thank you so much, A
for your work, B for joining
me, helping me learn there.
There's so many things, you
know, you can read certain things
but grasp, spin the concepts.
I really appreciate some of
the fine points that you've
put on this conversation today.
I can't even begin to tell you.
So can you talk, because I
know this is not easy work.
Can you let people know who want to.
What they can do, how they can
help, whether they are local or
But of those in California, I would
definitely, uh, recommend pushing
the Resist Spot petition and to get
the governor, get the Regents, get
your state legislators to, uh, to
push on this issue because the, the
Regents and, and uc, chancellors.
We'll respond to political pressure from
above them because that's, you know, where
a good deal of their budget comes from.
If you are within the uc system,
you can contact us at uc, access
now gmail.com, or you can follow
our Twitter account at Access uc.
And we have other addresses
that were on social media.
We do presentations within.
So if your department or your, you
know, student club or whatever wants to
have a presentation, when we have the
energy and time, we're happy to do that.
And that's actually a big deal because
part of the initiatives, you know, we've
had an influence in terms of the, the
current uc strike, U C U A W strike.
There were an initial contract proposals,
access needs articles that would've pushed
the university to go beyond ADA in terms
of making things accessible for workers.
So it would've dropped the medical
documentation requirement, for instance,
and to just show again that this is not a
mistake, an innocent mistake on ucs part.
Uc fought these articles about as hard
as anything they thought on that contact.
And they got dropped by
our bargaining teams.
So another way you could help is
that, you know, if you're one of
those folks who's kind of like
going, yay, I support the strikers.
You know, make sure you mention those
access in these articles because we, it's
a crucial time right now to let the rank
and file know about the need for this.
And to support the disabled workers
who have already been working
all year on these access needs.
Cuz we need to get those back on
the menu in terms of any kind of
agreement that gets, uh, made.
But part of the reason we were able
to make an influence and educate
was because of these presentations.
So if you are in uc, in any, you know,
wing of uc, student club or whatever,
we're happy to do presentations.
And of course, if you want to volunteer
for something, also, you know, contact us
through social media or the email address.
Melanie: Thank you.
Thank you so much, Megan.
I want to thank you for joining me.
Again, thank you for your tireless work.
Anytime you would like to come back, by
all means, you are more than welcome.
I also wanna thank you folks
for joining me this week.
Thank you so much for taking
your time out of whether it's
your morning or your afternoon to
listen to the Resist Bot podcasts.
Remember that if you wanna.
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Now you can text P H I S as in Sam,
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