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Listen in: Rollins Prof. Parsloe, student Elizabeth Smith talk first-ever Disability Empowerment Week on campus and why it's needed

Prof. Sarah Parsloe and Elizabeth Smith. Photo: Danielle Prieur
Prof. Sarah Parsloe and Elizabeth Smith. Photo: Danielle Prieur

Rollins College will hold its inaugural Disability Empowerment Week on campus starting Monday.

WMFE’s Danielle Prieur met up with professor Sarah Parsloe and senior Elizabeth Smith who are planning the event to talk about making college more accessible and welcoming for all students, including those with disabilities. 


Interview excerpts

On Smith's experience in the classroom as a wheelchair user

"And so I noticed between my peers that they wanted to be, they seemed like they were hesitant to speak to me when I was using a wheelchair, or sometimes the chair next to me would be empty. And so I just kind of felt like people, they were kind of like, scared to talk to me. And I always felt like that was kind of odd."

On what Smith and Parsloe hope students take away from events

"We're thinking about creating spaces where students and faculty and staff can have conversations about disability, what their experiences have been, like how they think about disability, what are some ways that we talk about disability that are unintentionally stigmatizing or express ableism, or prejudices against folks."

On how they'd like to see the campus change

"We also talked about making sure there's training sessions for both professors and students. And so an idea that I had is kind of thinking about Safe Zone Training, which is used for gay pride and things like that, and converting it to be about disability so that there's a type of certification program for professors, but also making sure that student leaders have this sort of training as well."

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.