18 February 2015

GUSA Exec 2015 Disability Questionnaire: Chris Wadibia and Meredith Cheney

I have condensed the questions, which appeared in long-form in the questionnaire sent to candidates with background information and examples, to highlight each candidate's answer. This year there were ten questions. These are the responses provided by Chris and Meredith. You can also read responses from Tim and RenoJoe and ConnorSara and Ryan, or Abbey and Will.



Photo: Black and white image of Chris and Meredith inside Gaston Hall, looking away from the camera at something in the distance. 

1. What would you do or change to combat ableism (disability oppression, prejudice against the disabled) and make Georgetown a more welcoming and inclusive campus for disabled students if elected?
           
Chris and Meredith understand that ableism exist within the Georgetown community. Through their years of experience working with special needs students, Chris and Meredith will diligently work collaboratively alongside administrators to help make the Hilltop a more welcoming and inclusive home for all Hoyas, especially special needs students, if elected. By meeting with two administrators from the Academic Resource Center to craft their disability rights platform, Chris and Meredith believe their proposed solutions to help special needs students around the Hilltop differ from other campaign platforms through their feasibility and achievability.

By advocating for an Access Coordinator, who will focus on making sure that all special needs students can easily access their desired destinations, as well as for a Learning Skills Advisor, who will focus on serving special needs students who might need help adjusting to Georgetown’s collegiate learning environment, Chris and Meredith will fight against the ableist culture extant within Georgetown, and will bring practical solutions to this difficulty.

2. What would you do if elected to ensure that conversations and initiatives on diversity, especially those managed or initiated by the GUSA Executive, meaningfully include disability and disabled members of the campus community?

If elected, Chris and Meredith will whole-heartedly see to it that the GUSA Executive’s demographical make-up represents the diversity of Georgetown’s student body, and will expand the GUSA Secretary for Diversity Relations by creating new positions including Under- Secretaries for Race, Ethnicity, Disability Rights and Services, Socioeconomic Status, etc. With specific regard to the Under-Secretary for Ability, creating this position, which will be held by a student with great experience in this area, Chris and Meredith will see to it that conversations and initiatives relating to diversity, and specifically relating to disability and the experiences of disabled persons on campus, are not merely held, but promoted and utilized as effective tools for change and avenues between leading administrators and the voices of disabled students themselves.

3. If elected, what steps will you take to advocate on behalf of a plan to create and sustain a Disability Cultural Center at Georgetown?

If elected, Chris and Meredith will actively collaborate with administrators for the creation of a Disability Cultural Center at Georgetown through gauging student support for this initiative, fund- raising, and then seeing to it that special needs student leaders have a primary voice in articulating how the Disability Cultural Center should be implemented on campus. First and foremost, know that Chris and Meredith support the idea of creating a Disability Cultural Center. Further, we believe our collaborative rather than antagonistic approach will go a long way in helping bring this beautiful idea to fruition.

4. What steps will you take, if elected, to increase visibility and representation of disabled students (both with apparent and invisible disabilities) in leadership roles on campus, whether in GUSA or elsewhere? How will you sustain GUSAs role as a leader in advocating for disability rights at Georgetown?

Chris and Meredith will sustain GUSA’s role as a leader in advocating for disability rights through the commitments stated above, and through remaining steadfast in our desire to put and keep disability rights before the eyes of administrators, we believe we’ll be very successful in maintaining GUSA’s stance as a leader in advocating for disability rights on the Hilltop.

5.  What steps will you take if elected to investigate the full range of accessibility barriers at Georgetown and advocate for meaningful progress from the administration in addressing them with current campus infrastructure and as part of future construction/renovation/expansion projects?

Chris and Meredith believe that any and all accessibility barriers should be addressed. In terms of the steps we will take to address said barriers, we will work with administrators to make sure that accessibility barriers are tackled quickly and efficiently, and will make sure to document these incidents so that going forward future construction/renovation/expansion projects will not pose barriers to special needs students, but rather, will take into account the needs of those with disabilities for all the years to come on the Hilltop.

6. How will you continue advocacy for further improvements and expansions to accommodations at university-sponsored events and programming?

Chris and Meredith believe that advocacy is a key responsibility of GUSA. As a result, if elected, we will remain passionately committed to advocating for improvements and expansions to accommodations at University-sponsored events and programming through working with the Academic Resource Center, and through our utilizing our Student Trust, if deemed a wise alternative, to see to it that all Georgetown events and programs take into consideration how to accommodate special needs students.

7. What would you do if elected to advocate for meaningful inclusion of disabled people in conversations about us on campus?

If elected, Chris and Meredith will advocate for meaningful inclusion of disabled people in conversations on campus through expanding the GUSA Secretariat for Diversity Relations, and hence, the attention and programming efforts GUSA gives to the subject of disability, and will also work closely with administrators to see to it that disabled persons are always included, but more than this, given leading roles, in decision- making that will affect their Hilltop experiences.

8. What will you do if elected to advocate for increased availability of supportive services and community resources at Georgetown for students with disabilities, as well as address existing problems?

Chris and Meredith will passionately advocate for increased availability of supportive services and community resources at Georgetown for disabled students by using the authority of the GUSA Executive to raise awareness as to this most important matter. Further, through the solutions stated above, we’ll work with administrators to address existing problems, and will prioritize disability rights as a top concern of our issue agenda.

9. What will you do if elected to advocate for reforms to the Involuntary Medical Leave of Absence process?

If elected, Chris and Meredith will passionately labor to see to it that the necessary reforms to the Involuntary Medical Leave of Absence process come to fruition in a timely fashion. Chris and Meredith understand that there are large flaws in this system. Further, we believe our commitment to working with administrators rather than against them will enable us to efficaciously tackle them problems of this process, so that individuals will no longer be negatively affected by its inadequacies.

10. How would you see advocating for expansion and formalization of disability studies related coursework fitting into your administration if elected?

Chris and Meredith understand that advocating for the expansion and formalization of disability studies related coursework would send a message to the larger Georgetown community about our commitment to educating others about the importance of this matter. We will welcome the inclusion of disability studies related coursework as an aspect of our agenda in the coming year, and are excited about the new and fresh opportunities that will abound to make differences in this area.



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