My College Went Viral On TikTok for Ableism

Sadly, it didn’t surprise me, so something needs to change.

Nicole Kenney
3 min readMar 8

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Photo by Changbok Ko on Unsplash

While sitting in class last year, I got a text message from my roommate saying “bruh did you see this?” with a link to a TikTok video. I knew immediately from looking at the thumbnail it wasn’t going to be good.

Sure enough, I was right. The video was about a girl who was doing a day in the life of a college student with disabilities.

But not just any college, it was my college.

The video shows the student wheeling herself to class and naming off all of the ADA violations and dangers presented to her along the way.

In just a 60-second TikTok, there were four different violations she pointed out on just one section of the campus. You can watch the video here.

For obvious reasons, most people were disgusted with what they saw, myself included. As of March 2023, it has accumulated over 3.5 million views and almost 830,000 likes.

ADA Violation #1

Right away at the start of her commute, her first roadblock is a set of stairs. One of the pathways leading to the main classroom building is only accessible by a large staircase.

The only other way to get inside is to go all the way around and through another building, making the travel for a disabled person three times longer than someone abled.

On top of that, there are no signs directing those who are disabled on what the accessible route is. Once this girl spends an extra eight minutes wheeling into the building to take the elevator, we run into ADA violation #2.

ADA Violation #2

As the student exits the building to get to her class, one of the buttons to open the door is broken. Thus, this forces her to try to open the door herself from a wheelchair, which is exponentially more difficult. Unfortunately, her challenges do not end here.

ADA Violation #3

As the student approaches her classroom building, the parking lot surrounding this classroom building has not been paved in decades. It is full of ditches, bumps, and cracks.

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Nicole Kenney

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