Advocacy and Inclusivity: ACID Mt. A

See the community the Association of Chronically Ill & Disabled Students has created for ill and disabled students from President, Zoë Wright

 

Zoë  Wright is the current president of ACID at Mount Allison

 

The Association of Chronically Ill & Disabled Students (ACID) was established by a Mt. A student, Olivia Auriat (’17), in 2013. Auriat and her mother began the organization as a support group for disabled students at Mt. A. Since then, ACID has been an advocate on campus along with a resource facility for students with physical and learning disabilities.

Because of the work of volunteers, ACID offers student tutors, study aids, and organizational coaches to students with learning disabilities. These services are available to all students, and an official diagnosis is not needed to become a part of the community. However, if a student is looking at receiving a diagnosis, ACID provides support and guidance during the process.

Along with the educational help that ACID provides, they also advocate for the improvement of general accessibility on campus, which is an issue that Zoë Wright, fifth year math and physics major, and also the current President of ACID, has mentioned. Currently, only thirteen of the fifty-two automatic door buttons on campus function, and the abundance of cracks in the walkways present difficulties to students with mobility issues. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced ACID and Mt. A to collaborate more closely, as many pre-existing infrastructure issues have become more prominent. The new signs around campus, Wright says, “were ‘EXIT only’ at the only accessible entrance to the building.” This is one issue disabled students have had to face during the pandemic. Wright says that the bureaucratic nature of change is what stands in the way.  

ACID will also be holding online events to look forward to— one being student study groups. These sessions will have a tutor present and will be online until Zone 1 returns to the yellow phase. In February, ACID is hosting Sex Ed Open Mic where there will be and immersive sex education session that addresses sexual experience for people outside of the norm. This includes an information session as well as people sharing their own experiences. The dates for these events will be announced on ACID’s Instagram: @acidmta.

Wright encourages students who need support or are looking to be involved to reach out, but also to take notice of a speaker’s event/march they are planning this term.

The Association for Chronically Ill and Disabled Students (ACID) is looking to address instances of inaccessibility and ableism within the Mt. A community. To do this, we would like to hold a speaker’s event and/or socially distanced march! This would serve to highlight the lived experiences of students and community members. It is our hope that through this event, we can bring heightened awareness to the lack of accessibility at Mt. A and to request direct action by the University to ensure Mt. A is accessible for all students. If there is sufficient interest, we would host this event prior to the end of Winter Term 2021. Those who would be interested in speaking at or attending these events can contact ACID directly at acidmtallison@gmail.com, or by filling out the anonymous form on our Instagram, Facebook, or at acidmta.com.

Ellen Hatfield
Ellen is a contributor to the Argosy.