Georgetown Magazine: ‘Toward a more accessible, inclusive Georgetown’

The Spring 2023 issue of Georgetown Magazine highlights Georgetown’s Disability Cultural Initiative (DCI), which launched in Fall 2022 as the most recent Georgetown program dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for disabled community members of all cultures, races, sexual orientations, genders, and ages.

To foster a culture of access inside and outside the classroom, the DCI is consulting with faculty on inclusive pedagogy, creating a Disability Employee Resource Group for faculty and staff, and working with a team that launched a new accessibility website that raises awareness about disability resources and community on campus.

Students spearheaded the campaign to establish the Disability Cultural Initiative—a critical move toward the ultimate goal of a full-fledged center—reviving a 2012 proposal written by then-undergraduate Lydia X. Z. Brown (C’15). The eventual Disability Cultural Center will coordinate and integrate the educational, academic, social, and support programming for disabled students, faculty, staff, allies, and people interested in learning more about disability.

“Georgetown students have led the way in the call for this work,” says Amy Kenny, who joined the DCI in August 2022 as its inaugural associate director. According to Kenny, 14% of undergraduate students and 10% of graduate and professional students at Georgetown currently identify as disabled.

Related: Advocates urge higher ed to recognize disability as an identity group >

“Something that I’ve been very pleased about is knowing that I have been part of multiple generations of people working to challenge and transform conditions at Georgetown. That work has just continued to grow,” says Brown, a prominent disability advocate who returned to Georgetown in 2020 as a member of the disability studies faculty.

Georgetown is among just a handful of universities to sponsor a disability cultural initiative, and Kenny’s hope is that Georgetown can be a leader nationwide in this area, enriched by its Jesuit mission.

“Accessibility is much more than ramps—it’s a practice and an ethos and a way of caring for one another,” says Kenny. “I think our Jesuit values really offer a grounding and depth of this work that allow us to be agents of change, by pursuing justice and calling others to do the same.”

Read the full Georgetown Magazine story to learn more about the Disability Cultural Initiative and its work to build awareness and a culture of access across Georgetown’s campuses.

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