The Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) allows ongoing, marginalizing microaggressions on its AHEAD members listserv. Below is a copy of a message on yesterday’s listserv that exemplifies my concerns. It insinuates that Psychiatric Service Dogs are not really service dogs. The person making the post voices an annoyance post that many college students are arriving on campus, with the start of the new school year, with Emotional Support Animals. Unfortunately, I see this often when disability services counselors express frustration with assisting disabled students on campus.
It is alarming that AHEAD allows these berating posts to be made anonymously. The person doing the insulting is not required to take responsibility for their actions. Thus, ableists can post items that provide a continuum for ableism in their postsecondary institutions. The situation reminds me of the Jim Crow South days when men roamed the countryside wearing white robes with white hoods, keeping THOSE people in what they perceived as “their place.”
The best solution is to email two critical individuals of your concerns, and that anonymous posting should cease immediately on AHEAD’s listserv.
Stephan Smith, Executive Director, AHEAD firstname.lastname@example.org and Katy Washington President, AHEAD email@example.com