New York City, NY — by Bryn Borzillo and Joyce Li
This story was originally published on New York University’s Washington Square News.
When Jennifer Bryant, a graduate student in the Silver School of Social Work, arrived on Feb. 17 at her first in-person class of the spring semester, she was expecting one accommodation — a bigger desk. Instead, Bryant — on bed rest due to pregnancy complications — was forced to use a makeshift work area made by combining two chairs.
Bryant and other students with health conditions said they have struggled to obtain reasonable support from faculty and university offices, instead facing communication difficulties and rejected accommodation requests. Although NYU defends its decisions, students say they are being placed at an academic disadvantage compared to their peers.
In November 2021, Bryant sent a request to take her spring 2022 classes online to NYU’s Title IX department, which is responsible for preventing gender-based discrimination in education programs. A week before the start of the semester, she was informed that her request had been denied by the dean. She then requested a wheelchair and a bigger desk.
“It’s sad because we’re supposed to be getting the training to go out into the world to fight against these oppressive systems, to push back against injustice, and it’s just like, ‘You want us to do all of this but you don’t want us to do it to you?’” Bryant said. “This is unjust.”
Bryant sent an email to an associate dean at Silver on Feb. 17 to confirm that a larger desk would be available in her classroom. The dean forwarded her email to the Title IX department, but a coordinator was reportedly unable to process the request. The coordinator wrote in an email that the classroom had been moved, leading to an internal miscommunication.
Read the rest of the story at Washington Square News.