Good for UW. Organizations should do everything they can to accommodate people with disabilities to do the job. But in this case, it isn’t about her disability. She is demanding that students receive an inferior education to appease her irrational fears. She’s no longer cut out for the job and UW should get someone who is. The University doesn’t exist for the professors.
A blind UW-Madison professor requested to teach online this fall semester. She had the support of her department, documentation from her doctor and a long history of receiving disability accommodations from the university.
UW-Madison instead offered English professor Elizabeth Bearden an N95 mask to wear while teaching.
“It was just so heartbreaking,” she said. “I feel betrayed by my institution.”
The accommodation, she said, didn’t address her concerns about being unable to tell whether students were following the campus mask mandate nor alleviate her fears about an infection leading to a loss of taste or smell, which the blind rely on more than those with all five senses.
Declining to risk her health, Bearden spent the semester on medical leave, earning 60% of her salary. She also filed a discrimination complaint last month with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging UW-Madison violated her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.