Create a Disability Studies Program at UofT

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Problem
People with disabilities make up 60% of the population. Yet, we are not acknowledged in the sociological and sociolegal contexts in the same way the LGBTQ and POC communities are at UofT. My fellow students and I believe it is important to increase representation via course content for the benefit of disabled and able-bodied students alike. In the short-term, there will be a greater sense of unity at our school. Long-term, it will allow alumni to make more impactful choices and further their contributions in the workplace and society as a whole.

Further, UofT is the only major Ontario university with such limited disability programming. We have one course that runs at UTM on an alternate term schedule. Ryerson, York, Western, Brock and Carleton offer major and minor programs. The top school in the country is obviously out of touch. This needs to change.

Solution
In essence, the solution is simple: create more courses and programming. But, in order to do this, staff, students, alumni and prospective students alike need to show the Governing Council and Provost that there is a need for progress. We need to get their attention through strength in numbers, and this petition is a good place to begin.

Personal story
Hi, my name is Marianna Figueiredo. I am in my third year at UofT, Mississauga Campus. I'm a Criminology major. I also have Cerebral Palsy (CP). CP is a physical disability that affects how I move. Intersectionality, or the idea that there are multiple factors impacting your interactions with society, has always been a n interesting concept to me. So, I took many courses focused on intersectionality. But, I noticed that disability was absent in nearly all of them at UofT, but not for my friends at other universities whose courses considered disability in both the sociological and criminologal respects. I saw this as an injustice to me and my fellow students, able and disabled alike, as it limits our knowledge in this increasingly diverse world. So, I decided to change this and work for a more inclusive, representative, relevant curriculum for everybody.


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