The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - 55

Disabled Sudents Living on Campus

space when she experienced a migraine. Lee
wanted to live with friends in a co-op that had
a sense of community, and Victoria decided to
live in a sorority where she knew she would
receive support. In these situations, students
faced a Catch-22 of wanting social integration but knowing that this was not always
possible in the specific housing environment
best suited for mitigating the impacts of their
disability.
Like Stacy, some students created their own
solutions to barriers in the college environment. Brynn, who identified as having several
learning disabilities, including an auditory
processing disorder, did not feel that College
Y could meet her needs for quiet spaces and
decided to live at home and commute rather
than face the noise challenges of living on
campus. Sintysa brought her own refrigerator and microwave to campus to address her
Celiac disease by preparing her own food
rather than asking for an accommodation to
live off campus because it was "really important" for her to live on campus where it was
easier to interact with people.

Anna, who identified as having learning disabilities, worked as a resident assistant. She
appreciated her supportive supervisor, who
understood when her paperwork was turned
in late because she needed to study. However,
Caleb, Eliza, and Anna received little or no help
from their RAs when they had problems with
roommates or other aspects of their living experiences. During her first year, housing staff
moved Caleb, who identified as having a learning disability, out of a triple and into a single
room against her will; they told her, "It would
probably be better for you to be in a single
anyway, so you won't have the distractions"-a
particularly paternalistic response. Rainy noted
a lack of disability awareness and explained
that it took a lot of emails to justify her request
for a single and to clarify the type of environmental modifications that would enable her to
have a successful residential experience. From
the students' viewpoint, responding promptly
to problems and offering flexibility were supportive actions, whereas not trusting students
as experts in their own lives was perceived as
a barrier.

Staff Disability Awareness and
Responsiveness

Student Suggestions for Modifying the
Residential Experience

Staff disability awareness and responsiveness
helped to create a caring atmosphere that addressed many of the problems mentioned by
students, while unresponsive staff were additional barriers to students' social integration.
For instance, Victoria, who received a quick
room change when her roommate was harassing her about her disability, stressed that
knowing she could always count on her RA
and other residence life staff for support contributed significantly to her success in college.

Six participants spread across the four colleges
advocated for increased flexibility regarding
policies and building spaces. In addition to
the ideas described above, students suggested
moving in early to get settled before classes
start for those who take longer to adjust to
new environments, using a room selection
process that allows students to choose compatible housing without identifying a roommate,
creating a less stressful housing process by
providing assistance in identifying a room-

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The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - Intro
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - Cover1
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