Ableism on Campus: University of Illinois

A professor of Atmospheric Sciences stepped down (he was 70) at the University of Illinois rather than appropriately address accommodations in his classroom. His emails to the student emerged in the process, including one he BCC’d to the entire class saying disability support (and perhaps Graddy herself – I know nothing about how they identify) doesn’t belong on campus. 

Michael Schlesinger BCC’d his entire Climate and Global Change (ATMS 140) class in an email with Rachel Graddy, Division of Rehabilitation and Education Services disability specialist.

Schlesinger said that he should not have to give one student an “advantage” over other students in the course.

He added that he offered to pay for the student to have a note-taker in the class.
“Frankly, I think the University needs to rethink having people such as you,” Schlesinger wrote to Graddy.

Due to Graddy’s “coercive emails” about the issue, Schlesinger said he was leaving his position at the University.

“I look forward to spending the remainder of my life in Kona, Hawaii,” he wrote.

This “advantage” language is common. This is an egregious case, but the “advantage” issue spreads widely throughout academia. Please find ways to counter it.

Meanwhile, all the Hawaiians I know are not happy about their new neighbor.

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