2009 November 16
.Dear AMS Council
Students with disabilities are an often overlooked segment of the UBC population and Antigone Magazine would like to endorse and support any efforts to include people with disabilities into student politics and the AMS by creating a specific position to represent students with disabilities. While not all students with disabilities experience the same types of marginalization and challenges, having a student to represent students with disabilities on the AMS Council would be an important step in the direction of rectifying the civic disempowerment that students with disabilities face in campus politics.
According to Disability Theory by Tobin Siebers: “Disability marks the last frontier of unquestioned inferiority because the preference for able-bodiedness makes it extremely difficult to embrace disabled people and to recognize their unnecessary and violent exclusion from society.” As a University and as a student society, we should work to ensure that this discrimination is eradicated by ensuring that we include people with disabilities. Indeed, disability is often described as the “product of a disabling social and built environment” (Tobin). Disability is indeed an important part of the human condition.
Because the AMS is supposed to serve all students and constituencies on campus, it is important to have the voices of all communities on the AMS council. Ensuring that students with disabilities are adequately represented will help ensure that AMS Council makes decisions and designs programs with students with disabilities in mind. People with disabilities are very strongly needed at all stages of the planning of the AMS in order to ensure that accessibility issues are not forgotten and that the needs and wants of students with disabilities are taken into account and addressed.
Our club has a number of students with what many refer to as ‘invisible’ disabilities involved and we believe that it is important to create a safe and supportive environment where people with disabilities can participate and contribute to our work.
Next year, we will also be working with DAWN Canada to put out an issue of Antigone Magazine on Women with Disabilities. Having women with disabilities involved in our organization has greatly impacted how we operate and what issues we see as important. We believe that the AMS will also see these benefits.