Ask Aunt Fattie: Can I ask my school to provide bigger chairs?

Dear Aunt Fattie,

I am starting law school in August. I am excited about school and my career plans. I did notice a problem when I was touring the school, however. All of the classroom seats are at long tables with chairs attached to the table supports. The chairs have no legs of their own, they just swing out from the tables. I’m a large woman and I could barely wedge myself into a seat during the school tour. By the time the tour’s mock class was finished, I thought I was going to faint.

I don’t know how I am going to survive day after day in class with those chairs. I am sure that the school would provide an alternative to a student in a wheelchair. Can I ask for something similar, and how would I ask without embarrassing myself and the school?

Sincerely,
Squished 1L

Aunt Fattie is an agony aunt, not an administration aunt, so she forwarded your query to a friend who is an expert in college administrative rules and regulations: the wonderful Lesley of Fatshionista. Lesley suggests that you think of this as a matter of accessibility, not just a matter of fat: “There are lots of reasons why some bodies need easy-access chairs, and being fat is just one of them.” You avoid embarrassing yourself by realizing that you have nothing to be embarrassed about: you are making a perfectly reasonable request, reasonable not only for you but for many other people in many other bodies. Of course fat is a fraught issue, and even those of us who love and accept it can find it awkward to relate to other people in a way that highlights our fat, knowing what their sentiments might be. This post on Fatshionista perfectly sums up the experience. But you are not asking the school to praise your fat, to understand your fat, or to support your fat — all of which can be time-consuming, difficult, and intimate journeys. You are asking only that they accommodate your fat. This is their job.

Lesley suggests that you start by having a conversation with an understanding instructor; they may not have considered space issues in the seating, and should be interested in helping. If your instructors seem more distant or unhelpful, or if you simply haven’t had time to get to know them, Lesley suggests that “a conversation with the school’s disability services department may be in order. If it’s something as simple as making sure there’s an armless chair (or two or three — the person asking should also keep in mind that other folks might take an armless chair for their own reasons if one is made available, and she may have to willing to call dibs), they should certainly be able to make that happen. Also, once the student has established a relationship with this office, she can ask that accommodation be made for ALL her classes.”

At first blush, it may appear somewhat unfortunate that asking for help from the disability services department seems to cast fat as a disability. Because disability still has negative cultural associations, some fat activists bristle when fat is considered a disability — it’s rhetorically counterproductive, when you’re trying to argue that fat people are in no way hindered by their adipose tissue. But, like other so-called disabilities, your fat is a disability here only in context of what you’re being asked to do. In and of itself, it is not a problem, but in a context where you are being asked to squeeze into a tiny seat, it is. As with other physical and cognitive differences, the disability services department exists only to minimize the discrepancy between what you can do and what you’re being asked to do — not, thank goodness, to arbitrate whether your particular idiosyncrasies are desirable or not. Lesley warns, though, that “the helpfulness and effectiveness of disability services can vary dramatically by school, so your mileage may vary.”

Lesley agrees that embarrassing the school is probably best avoided, not to mention unlikely to be effective: “When I was a grad student facing horrible seating — before I knew I could even ASK for accommodation — I would either hijack a chair from another classroom, or sit on the floor. Admittedly, I expect law school is probably less understanding of an angry fat girl sitting on the floor in protest of painful seating than my program was.” Luckily, you know that you can ask for accommodation, and that this asking should embarrass no one. The school does not want you sitting in a seat that will endanger your health and your ability to learn; quite aside from compassion, there’s the matter of liability. It is in their interest to improve your access, so it is certainly in your best interest to ask.

If you’ve got your own questions on fat, fatshion, fatiquette, self-esteem, or body image, send them to auntfattie@gmail.com.

48 thoughts on “Ask Aunt Fattie: Can I ask my school to provide bigger chairs?

  1. I agree with Aunt Fattie, it doesn’t hurt to ask for an alternative chair/desk combo; and that there will be more than one person who’ll be wanting them. Betcha the guys with long legs will also be grateful for some extra room.

    If you noticed any other people who are uncomfortable in the chairs while you were there, maybe you could ask if they’d be willing to come with you when you asked. It can be easier with someone else along, plus if there are two of you (or more) then it’s a bigger issue for them and they’re more likely to work on it.

  2. I’d actually send a note to the Dean of Student’s office (if you have one; the one at the law school I just graduated from was beyond helpful about stuff like this) before school starts rather than waiting to talk to instructors, for two, law school specific reasons. First, 1L classes at many schools have assigned seats and professors get little charts that have every student’s name and picture on their seat. The school should expect that they’ll have to move unattached seats into those classrooms sometimes, and if 1L can get assigned to that seat to begin with, it’d be easier and more discreet (discrete? Despite having a law degree, I can never remember that one) to do it to begin with.

    The second reason is that law professors teaching 1L classes occasionally still feel it’s their job to intimidate students Paper Chase style, and even if they don’t, professors often seem to shoot up to mythic status among 1L students in the first week or two. Much more awkward to ask them than to ask friendly administrators, I suspect.

    That said, my law school had those chairs too (I wonder if we’re at the same school!), and it was common to have a few normal desk chairs in the first or back row. Hopefully the OP’s school will do the same and she can get herself assigned to them.

  3. My graduate program had a specific “graduate ombudsman” (who was actually an “ombudswoman” — but that sounds funny, as does “ombudsperson”… I’ve never been comfortable with that title!) whose job it was to take concerns of graduate students and help them to find the proper channels in the university to have their issues addressed. I went and met with her twice — once when I needed to request a quieter office to accommodate my ADD, and once when I had to take some time off mid-semester for health reasons. She was extraordinarily helpful both times. Perhaps your university, S1L, has a similar person who could help you out?

  4. Having worked with the disability office at my University many times in the past , i wholeheartedly recommend this advice. I have found that the personnel working in these offices is *usually* one of the more sensitive and accommodating groups of professionals on campus. If you feel uncomfortable talking to the teacher about this I’d say start with the disabilities office.

    Thanks Aunt Fattie!

  5. (I should add to the OP that I don’t think you will by any means be the only one making these types of requests so I hope that helps you not feel too awkward about it- not only are those chairs problematic for people in wheelchairs and fat people, they’re tough on people with back problems a lot of times or people who are unusually tall or short. They’re really awful seats.)

  6. It might bolster your case (thought you shouldn’t ~*have*~ to) if you can suggest that there are more people having issues with those seats than just you. Not only fat people, but also those using cane or wheelchairs and those with back or torso problems might have difficulty using a chair bolted to the table.Providing a wide seated, armless chair a reasonable height off the ground would help all of those people as well.

    And congrats on starting law school!

  7. LilahMorgan’s advice is very good. And we had those same kinds of tables/chairs. I hated them because if you have one jack-legged table mate, s/he would shake the whole fucking thing, which drove me batty.

    Some good news is that you may only have to call dibs on your chair once – we were locked into the seats we lucked into the first day of classes. There were always two or three lose chairs in the backs of our rooms as well – probably for just such a purpose as you describe. Also in my school, once we got through our first year and were allowed to pick our classes, they were generally held in smaller rooms with proper tables and chairs. (Big bar classes like biz orgs and evidence were still in the big rooms, but by then you’ll be old hat at getting your chair.)

    The potential bad news is you might end up sitting in the back of the room with the slack asses jabbering drunks, but if you plan ahead by taping the lectures and paying extra close attention, you’ll do great.

    And good luck!!!

  8. LilahMorgan, on June 16th, 2008 at 6:04 pm Said:

    they’re tough on people with back problems a lot of times or people who are unusually tall or short. They’re really awful seats.

    OH yeah, they are. I am not unusually short (5’5) and am of average size, but I spent the three years of law school with aching knees cuz my feet didn’t touch ground in those stupid chairs! HATED them.

    Don’t worry about the back of the room, hardly anyone is stupid enough to show up to a 1st year law school class drunk and jabbering.

  9. Good god, does every law school have these chairs??

    Perhaps they’re just throwing you into the deep end with regards to disability discrimination.

  10. I was reaching for a joke about how you must have gone to Yale, OTM, but I couldn’t quite find it. :-)

    Now I’m wondering why law school do have those chairs. I can only conclude that one law school got them and then all the other law schools decided that their U.S. News rankings would suffer if they didn’t follow suit. Law schools are sheep.

  11. It sounds like this may not apply in law school, given how common assigned seating is, but my (second-hand) experience: In my grad school cohort, we had a woman with some sort of back problem who needed a special padded chair. She contacted disability services before school started, and they and/or the building services people made sure that chair was in her classroom for each of her classes.

    However, she did have to do a fair amount of education/reclaiming from other students, who would see “comfy chair!” and naturally want to sit in it. We learned over a few weeks that one particular student needed it for particular reasons, and then it was fine, but she had to do a fair amount of talking to us the first few weeks.

    All this to say: I think contacting the disability office is a great idea, but I’d be a little wary of suggesting that they just offer a bunch of easy-access chairs without assigning them to particular students, because nice-but-ignorant students tend to pick the comfiest seating without thinking of accessibility issues, and you may not want to have to explain to your classmates, over and over, that you really need the chair. It’d be easier just to say, “This chair was brought in specifically for me because of a medical condition / accessibility issue / whatever.”

  12. I hated those chairs, if they are the ones I am thinking of. I was always waiting for them to fall off! Plus they literally swing back and forth and are spring loaded/weighted, so I was constantly having to push myself back from the table with my feet. Ugh. So yeah -10 on those seats.

    Good Luck.

  13. Medical schools have them. And yes, the back of the classroom is a non-learning zone, complete with iPods, freetetris, and ESPN. Who knew there was actually a reason for doctors to be such idiots?

  14. Seating is an issue for me too. I fit into the chairs, but my body is not comfortable in a seated position. I have joint problems and sitting in a folded-into-two-right-angles position hurts. On a bad day an hour’s lecture stuck in an oridinary-person seat can near reduce me to tears.
    I went to the doctor at the beginning of this academic year. He said he’d refer me to a physio. I’ve heard nothing. I’ve made an appointment with a different, more competent doctor, and hopefully I should get to see a physiotherapist over the summer. If it’s still uncomfortable for me at the beginning of next year, then screw it – I’m sitting on the steps.

    (The worst seating I ever came across was a combination of lab stools and badly designed tables that left about half an inch between the top of the seat and the bottom of the table. There was no way to get your knees further forward than the edge of the writing surface. Not great for your posture!)

  15. I wholeheartedly second (third? fourth?) talking to disability services. I’ve had a few classes with very fat classmates who got larger desks through disability (My department’s building has those desk/chair combos, which are annoying as hell for EVERYONE, and which certainly can’t accommodate someone who is very fat). Everyone else in the classes was pretty respectful of it, as far as I could tell.

    Also, yeah, what is up with law school desks? I’m a grad student, not a law student, but I have been in my University’s law school a few times for various meetings/events, and the desks were really weird. I spent a good minute or two just trying to figure out how to untangle and use the damn thing. I don’t know if it’s the same sort of desk as at S1L’s university, but it sure as hell was odd, and didn’t seem very practical.

    Good luck with your first year of law school!

  16. I just graduated from law school, as well. Studying for the bar? Ugh, chairs will be the least of your worries.
    But I wanted to tell you, we had a kid in our class who had severe ADD, endearingly so. He HAD to sit in the same place, every class, or he would freak out and leave. Seeing as attendance is mandatory or you fail, it began to be a problem. Anyhoo, people got the idea and backed off. After about 2 classes, everyone knew he sat there, and did’t mess with his seat.
    My advice- ask for the chair, it’s so hard to concentrate when you’re uncomfortable, and make a point to be early for class every day. The dean or disability office or whoever you talk to will probably tell the profs to factor this all into their seating charts. GOOD LUCK!

  17. Oh, ugh. I’m applying for law school shortly, and I have . . . let’s call it back problems*, such that if I sit upright and still in a hard-backed and hard-bottomed chair for about two hours (even in pieces), I won’t be able to walk the next day.

    Perhaps I’m going to need to talk to someone, too, although squirming around in place and slouching and generally being disrespectful and annoying works just as well.

    *My hips are messed up from a car accident or two. Yes, I’ve been seeing chiropractors for years. No, they can’t fix it permanently.

  18. go to the school’s accessibility and/or ADA dept. (i had to originally b/c i am very left-handed, and many of the desks just had a little note desk on the right– i couldn’t take notes!!)

    anyway, “of size” is covered under the ADA accessibility stuff universities (at least public, i don’t know about private). the standard provision is a desk w/ an armless chair.

    hope this helps!!

  19. My uni has that same kind of seating in some of their lecture theatres, I have a huge problem with, not because I’m fat (I’m an AU 18 or so) but because I’m fat and left handed. The seats don’t have enough of a swivel range, when they’re as far out from the table as to accomodate my size, for me to actually be able to get a proper angle for writing. Thanks for suggesting talking to the disabilities people, will do that :)

  20. Another former law student here. (studying for my second bar, right now. blah! i wish that i knew what i know now…) Definitely talk to the administrator with whom you feel most comfortable BEFORE classes start. You will have enough anxiety and stuff going on in the first week of class that you should get yourself set up as best you can ahead of time. And, a lot of professors totally do the socratic jerk thing all first year (or three years). You may not know who your allies are for a long while. (not to sound too scary, dun dun dun!)

    The good news is that as a 1L your range of classrooms will likely be very limited, and the seating chart deal helps seal things after the first day.

    I don’t know that I like being a lawyer, but I had such fun in law school! It really is what you make it. Enjoy!!!

  21. I’m surprised no one’s suggested it, but why not take a camp chair with you to class? I found one online that is rated up to 350 pounds for less than $30 two years ago. It’s not terribly heavy, either.

    That way you will always have your own chair, you can choose the specific kind you want, and you won’t have to fight with anyone (administration or fellow students). If writing is an issue, there are pillows with hard writing surfaces you can buy at Kmart or other such places, or if you get an armless camp chair, you can work with any available table.

  22. Rhonwyn, that’s an eminently practical suggestion for S1L if the school does not/cannot provide alternate seating, but I think the larger point is that the school *should* provide seating that accommodates various bodies. No one else has to pay for their own chair and then lug it around.

  23. Dude, there is nothing wrong at all with going to the student disabilities services. They’re there to make the school accommodate you. It doesn’t mean that you are disabled, in the common sense of the word. People with psychological disorders and physical diseases can also get help from them.

  24. libbyloo, on June 16th, 2008 at 6:00 pm Said:

    My graduate program had a specific “graduate ombudsman” (who was actually an “ombudswoman” — but that sounds funny, as does “ombudsperson”… I’ve never been comfortable with that title!)

    Omsbuddy? *grin*

  25. also wanted to add: if the paperwork goes through right when you talk to the ADA dept, they send out a notice to all the prof’s and such that there’s an ADA in their class and what the accommodation is to be.
    i found this out when i was a teaching assistant during grad school and taught labs; i was sent a discrete note so that i would know that someone needed X accommodation, so i wouldn’t be surprised and could be prepared. The students that really wanted to make sure came and visited me before classes started or right after the first class (i really appreciated those; it’s a lot easier to put a face to!).
    so, if you come in and there’s a seat set up and someone is in it, you can approach the prof instead of the person in the seat– it is up to the prof to comply w/ the accommodations the ADA dept sets up. if not, talk to the ADA dept and they have actions to make sure the prof complies.
    seeing as it is a law class i could see how this could go either way w/ the prof (like/hate), but it’s not fair to you or the prof if you are passing out in class!!

  26. An upcoming 2L here-
    Do ask before school, to administration. The first week will make you insane even without this issue. I like the camp chair idea just because they would probably put you in the back row or on an edge, which might not be good for your GPA. I can’t imagine that a professor would be able to help you in anyway- law school is much like grade school in that it’s really important to keep everything equal. The school will probably “evaluate” that this alteration is needed to keep things equal. You’ve got a tough road ahead a law student, a female law student (what will you wear that looks professional, non-matronly, conservative, but doesn’t betray your style etc,- see MsJD and Manolo for the big girl), and as a fat / “different” student- prejudice is rampant in the law school process.
    CJ

  27. I appreciate most Aunt Fattie’s sentiment here: “Because disability still has negative cultural associations, some fat activists bristle when fat is considered a disability…”
    The myth persists that there are able-bodied people and “other,” when more realistically there is a wide spectrum of abilities and disabilities that become encountered when we navigate our lives.
    That somehow we all feel the need to present the glossiest, most “able” appearing selves when we feel vulnerable is understandable. But when it comes to success in an academic setting (or really any setting), being accomodated so we can achieve to our own highest degree ought to be the goal.
    You’ve earned the seat there, now it needs to be a seat you can sit comfortably in.

  28. I work for the Disability Support Services office at a college and (and I’m not saying I agree just saying what I know) fat is NOT covered under ADA regs that we have to accommodate. In and of itself, it is not considered a disability and does not have to be accommodated. What this translates to is we get no funds to do so and our budget is always strained (partially b/c all the college pays for is our director’s salary everything else is from grants, not that I’m bitter, oh no. not me).

    However our office has worked with students and the school when similar problems have come up. In fact our office is trying to get the school to move to universal design in general *sighs*. We can’t give the full range of services we offer disabled students but we can put some force behind the inaccessibility issue.

    So going to your DSS office is a good idea, just be aware that the level of assistance they can give may be limited. 8(

  29. wellroundedtype2: The myth persists that there are able-bodied people and “other,” when more realistically there is a wide spectrum of abilities and disabilities that become encountered when we navigate our lives.

    True. I certainly do consider it rather ridiculous that I am considered “able-bodied” when I can’t even complete a triathlon.

  30. Ah, those stupid swivel desk/chairs…I wonder if there’s anyone they actually DO work for! I was in one of those classrooms after basically shredding my ankle & therefore being stuck in a boot & needing to elevate my foot. Try using one of those moving-target chairs as a footrest–yeah right. I ended up sticking my foot up on the table most of the time & typing at very strange angles. I’m also kinda short so my other foot barely touched the ground & in an effort to get comfortable I’d end up scrunched up in positions so pretzel-like they are impossible to describe in words. Not one of them radiated “mature, thoughtful student” either! But I suppose I’m lucky in a way, b/c at least my body is healthy & can tolerate sitting in postural hell for an hour needing nothing more than a hot bath & massage…(not that it ever really gets either one, but still…)

    The one nice thing about those chairs is the swinging action tho…when lecture gets boring, there’s always the joy of acting like a little kid on a spinny stool… ;-)

    One other thought–I had a very pregnant TA in one of my classes a few years back & she couldn’t fit into desks or the like either, so your situation is definitely not unique & hopefully someone with a brain & some compassion has thought this through before!

    Anyway, good luck!!!

  31. My first thought was also a camping chair. Yes, the disability office should help out, and she should go there first, but the camp chair might be a solution if she doesn’t want to deal with the whole “that’s my chair” mess. Then she’s just the person who’s eccentric enough to bring her own chair to class, and might even start a revolt of everyone bringing their own chair once they see her sitting snug and comfy.

  32. I second Meg’s pointing-out that people with canes may have trouble with those chairs too. My law school didn’t have them, but I did the National Trial Advocacy Competition at a school that did, and I had my cane along with me that weekend. After watching me haul myself to my feet only to get snapped in half backwards (not literally) by the chair for the fourth time in a row, the judge told me I could object from a sitting position for the rest of the “trial.”

    Long story short: those chairs suck, and you are well within your rights to inform your school that they just won’t do.

  33. I work at a university in Canada and last year our department got such a request from a student.

    It was handled quickly and in a way as to minimize any embarrassment. I can not see why a school would say no to this request.

    I’m not sure how the request got to our office (Physical Resources for the campus) so I can’t advise as to who on campus to go to first. Administration is a better bet than a prof. though.

  34. This is why I ended up dropping out of college ten years ago. I was too fat for the chairs. To the college’s credit, I called the admin to ask for an accommodation and they couldn’t have been nicer, but I was too embarrassed to leave my name or go through with it. I hope you go through with it, Squished. I’ve always regretted not being strong enough.

  35. I can’t believe how many law student/lawyer Shapelings there are!

    My law school has comfy chairs, so I can’t speak to the chair issue specifically, but I will say that at my school, the facilities people are amazingly helpful. They were always willing to help when we needed something. If it’s a matter of finding an alternative chair, facilities might be the people to talk to.

  36. I just finished my second degree–going back to school 10 years after my first!

    My first class, at a local community college, wasn’t half bad. The classroom was filled with those horrid little desk/chair combos, and I absolutely couldn’t fit in at all. But a quick call to the Disability Resources office fixed the problem with no fuss at all.

    And then I went on to university…

    Holy craptaters, what a nightmare. The disability resources office flat REFUSED to have facilities bring a separate desk and chair into my classrooms because… get this… they only serve people with medically documented disabilities. In other words, I would have had to go to my doc and get her to write a note that says, “Yep, my patient is fat. Please get her a desk that she can fit in.”

    And even that probably wouldn’t have worked, though, because their definition of a disability is something that “substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Apparently, being able to sit in a classroom isn’t considered a major life activity.

    After a couple of months of trying to get them to take care of me, I gave up. But I did find a solution.

    What I did–and what was surprisingly easy–was to make friends with my department’s office manager–the one who does the classroom assignments for each term, and who is herself a big gal–and made sure she put all of my classes in the new classrooms that had better seating–either row seating with foldaway desks, or separate tables/chairs.

    I only had one class that this didn’t work in, and the chairs there were juuuuust big enough for me to manage to squeeze into. I was bruised at the end of every class, but I got through it.

    If I had to do this again, though, I probably would go to a different school–a smaller one, perhaps, where the bureaucracy behind getting a chair moved from one classroom to another wasn’t so bizarre.

  37. Colleen, I was excited by that too! I’m a lawyer. I am attracted to law because I like to write and think deeply about abstract and practical matters. (Why is this the way it is and how can we make it better). Those are also the reasons I am attracted to this community. The level of discourse here is so high – posts and comments combined.

  38. Surprised no one has mentioned Elizabeth Fisher’s website, ifisher.com. Besides her activist work with getting car makers to supply seat belt extenders, she also has worked on creating resources for the fat college student. Check out ‘School’s In’ on ifisher.com for more information about classroom seating and other issues.

    I’m glad to see that people are starting to be receptive in fat activist circles to the way that disability rights activists frame disability. I’ve often wondered why fat activists have been as resistant to look at the utility of linking fat and disability using a crip pride theory, as many people outside of fat activism have been about reclaiming ‘fat’ as the preferred term for fat people over ‘obese’, or accepting HAES, for example.

    What is disabling is our environment, our culture and not our bodies, no matter what they look like or how they function. Fat people can understand that just as well as more traditional ‘disabled’ people, and so I hope to see more fat activists willing to question the reasons why so many of us are scared of the word ‘disabled,’ when disabled people are trying to resignify the meaning of ‘disabilty’ in the same way that we are trying to resignify ‘fat,’ ‘overweight,’ and ‘obese.’

  39. What is disabling is our environment, our culture and not our bodies, no matter what they look like or how they function.

    Nicely put.

  40. Tal,

    As a DSS employee we have to have EVERY student, even those with obvious disabilities (in a wheelchair? service dog? yup gotta have the documentation) provide documentation. We can get into big trouble if we don’t. We have to prove and prove and prove what we do in our office and fight for every dime we get, so we HAVE to follow policy and procedure with every student or risk losing funding.

    We *will* fax our form to students’ healthcare provider so they don’t have to pay for a doctor’s visit. Cuz paying 25.00 or whatever to get a form filled out would suck.

  41. I’m a college prof. I’ve regularly had people in my classes (both people-of-size and also people with various disabilities like back issues) who required special chairs. On my campus, all it takes is a phone call to the Office of Student Services (or to Disability Concerns) and that afternoon, the nice people from one of those offices shows up with the right kind of chair. Problem solved. (There’s also a note on the back of the chair, saying something like, “There is a particular student in this class who NEEDS this chair for a reason. If you are not that student, don’t be a dillweed and take this chair.” OK, it doesn’t say “dillweed,” but that’s the general tone of the note.)

    Also, in my department, when we moved to a new building, the faculty specifically asked for long tables with *separate* upholstered chairs (and we ordered several for each classroom that were bigger, just to be prepared).

    I think those seat-chair-all-attached combos are uncomfortable for a lot of people, not just bigger folks.

    I think it depends greatly on the school how “friendly” the campus is to people who might need things arranged a little differently. It may help to ask around when you’re visiting a school (or do a little online research when you’re first looking) to find a place that won’t make you jump through massive hoops just to get a different chair.

    (Seriously? If I taught at a campus that made it that hard? I’d go to an office supply store and BUY a couple of the damn chairs, and keep them in my office or lab and roll them out as needed. Because going to college with some kind of disability or just being “different” is hard enough without having some bureaucratic office tell you that you can’t get the help you need without a bunch of doctor’s notes.)

  42. ricki,

    believe it or not students have faked disabilities for the benefit of accommodations. up to and including blindness.

    that’s why we have to have “a bunch of doctor’s notes”

    sucks 8(

  43. PS the reason i am posting so much in response to this is it’s something i care about. thankfully my boss is awesome and pro universal design and helps people she doesn’t have to (such as non-disabled fat students). but i think it sucks that she has to go above and beyond her job to do so and jump through hoops on her end to help those students.

    i DO understand a need for documentation, i DON’T understand why our school still has “student desks” from the (i swear) 50s or 60s that most “average” size people don’t fit in and i don’t think ANYONE fits in comfortably. it’s insane.

  44. If you go to the website I mentioned earlier, ifisher.com, Elizabeth Fisher did some research at LSU and found that, if I recall correctly, the newer the seating, the smaller it was. Considering the enrollment boom at universities these days, it doesn’t surprise me that seats would be getting smaller, since that is the cheapest way to fit in all those incoming freshmen without actually having to build new classroom space.

    Hey, universities are the new airline industry; how long before fat students are forced to pay 2 tuitions, ;).

  45. I am so glad I saw this. I’m an undergrad at a large university and I often have to cram myself into a small chair and then not have the desk fit over my stomach. It’s humiliating. When I went to ask a professor, she said I had to wheel a chair in from the hallway myself, which I found only more humiliating. I wish I would have thought to go to someone else for help.

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