(Dys)functional Academies: Social Accessibility in Higher Education


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A mixed-methods, two-part study was deployed exploring experiences of students with disabilities at George Mason University. The first part of the study involved a quantitative survey of student attitudes towards persons with disabilities and a series of fairness questions targeting how fair students felt their disabled peers' accommodations were. The second part of the study involved structured, written interviews centering the experiences of students with disabilities. The hypothesis of the quantitative study was that there would be a correlation between more negative attitudes towards persons with disabilities and increased perception of accommodations being unfair. This hypothesis was partially supported. The qualitative portion of the study was more exploratory in nature, analyzed for trends across six domains—background and general experiences with disability, positive experiences, negative experiences, disclosure, academic effects, and general quality improvement questions regarding use of services offered by Office of Disability Services.