In “The University Required Accommodations Statement: What ‘Accommodation’ Teaches Technical Communication Students and Educators,” Smyser Fauble’s utilizes a feminist disability framework to showcase how Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation statements on course syllabi can lead to the normalizing practices of an ableist culture. In order to accomplish this, the author begins by discussing the interpretation of ADA legislation as it is conducted by a tech communicator, articulates the role of usability and accessibility, and examines how a feminist disability methodology would work. This is followed by an analysis of university required Accommodation statement and an attempt to define what is reasonable examination. Smyser Fauble concludes this chapter recognizing the further implications and a call for action to create change that would align with social justice and social equality.
Overall, I really enjoyed Smyser Fauble’s chapter and take on the Accommodations statement. First, it is commendable that this topic is being discussed in the first place. I have always wondered about the role of ADA on the collegiate level and at times, have doubted the process in which “disable” students are identified in addition to how these students are perceived. I think this may be due to the manner in which they are identified as “disabled.” Although disabled means “to limit someone in their movements, sense, or activities,” and that is “technically” a correct way of identifying these students of limitations, it seems to me to have a negative connotation to it and could cause feelings of inadequacy and inequality. Furthermore, fellow students as well as professors could reinforce these feelings. As a result, I would not be surprised if there were many students on campus who did not reach out to Disability Services for assistance.
In “An Environmental Justice Paradigm for Technical Communication,” Sackey aims to showcase the limitations between environmental justice approaches and social justice itself. According to him, despite environmental justice approaches being concerned with achieving some form of social justice, the opposite is not true. In making his argument, Sackey examines the impact of several environmental perspective as approaches to social justice. These perspectives include feminist materialist, feminist political ecology, ecofeminist, and environmental justice perspectives. Additionally, he states that the way the mitigation of communication issues should be affected by theories of environment and offers the four environmental perspectives to the reader for consideration on what their role in tech comm might be. Sackey follows up to this with a more critical focus and concludes with an overview of environment, justice, and tech comm.
Sackey provides a unique perspective and makes an argument worth listening to. However, in recognizing that social justice may not be as concerned in achieving environmental justice, I think it is pertinent to remember that the world is dealing with a variety of socially unjust circumstances such as prejudice, discrimination, racism, etc. and that this lack of focus on environmental justice may be due to it being a current lack of priority rather than not being one at all.