opinion   |   letters

LETTER: Disability harassment happens on our campus



I would like to bring to the attention of the IDS the fact that harassment of disabled students occurs regularly at IU-Bloomington.

I personally know of physically impaired students who have been harassed in Ballantine Hall for taking the elevator up or down one floor. And they aren’t just harassed by fellow students - faculty and staff are guilty, too. Just because someone looks healthy, doesn’t mean that they are. Invisible disabilities are any of a number of chronic conditions that significantly impair normal activities of daily living while showing no outward signs of the illness.

I also know of a physically impaired student who was made fun of recently for riding a scooter in Forest Quad. This is a student who can barely walk for only short distances and only when feeling physically up to it. This same student was also harassed in the Forest parking lot by someone who didn’t think a handicap parking space should be used by a disabled student, even though the appropriate IU parking permit was displayed in the car. Harassment may be reported to the IU Incident Teams at (812) 855-8188 or incident@indiana.edu.

I mention these incidents because they happened to students I know. And if they can happen to them, they can happen to anyone. I ask the entire campus community: How would you feel if someone you cared about was ridiculed or harassed because they had a disability? How does it feel to learn members of the campus community, whether you know them or not, have to deal with harassment at IU-Bloomington on a daily basis?

I urge us all to think before speaking, show some Hoosier compassion and offer to help instead of contributing to an intolerant environment. I also urge the IDS to investigate and report on the harassment of disabled students on this campus.

As an IU alumna, IU employee and IU parent, I hate to think of IU’s reputation being tarnished by charges of harassment of any kind.

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