Allies in the System

This week was an emotionally draining one for me. I detailed in a twitter thread some road blocks I’ve been facing in obtaining ergonomic lab equipment through the UCLA Center for Accessible Education (CAE). This kind of interaction is not only frustrating but hurtful to me because it reminds me that the university itself is an unfeeling bureaucratic behemoth. As a result, my request to get this atypical accommodation has been an uphill battle. And I haven’t been able to make a personal connection with anyone in CAE to make this system efficiently understand and meet my needs. But what has gotten me through the week is the people in other parts of the system who have reminded me that they do care about my wellbeing.

Many colleagues responded either publicly or privately with messages of validation and support. Some faculty and administrators have been allies in helping me pressure the CAE office to finally evaluate my funding application. I have yet to receive any response from CAE itself, but a faculty member who has been advocating on my behalf said that CAE now plans to review my application before the end of next week. The effort of this one faculty member has gotten me closer to getting this needed equipment in a single week than phone calls and emails from me to the director of CAE has gotten in the last two months. So while parts of the bureaucratic entity that is UCLA has let me down, I’ve been re-energized by my friends and allies within this system.

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