ASU students: ‘walk-only zones’ are ‘microaggression’ to disabled people

Arizona State University students are petitioning the school to change the name of its “Walk-Only Zones” as the current name could offend disabled persons.

Arizona State University students are petitioning the university to change the name of its pedestrian walkways as its current name—Walk-Only Zones—might be a “microaggression” and “offensive” to people who cannot walk.

The public university enforces these Walk-Only Zones on its Tempe, Ariz., campus during the weekdays in certain areas around campus in order to “enhance pedestrian safety” and “ease vehicle congestion,” according to the university’s website. During the enforcement period, during which students are paid to patrol, wheeled vehicles (including bicycles, delivery vans, landscaping vehicles, golf carts, scooters, Segways, skateboards, etc.) are banned from the area.

But according to a petition signed by more than 50 people, the zones’ name “marginalizes disabled bodies who cannot walk.” Started by Alec Melger of Mesa, Ariz., the petition asks the university to change the name of the zones to “Pedestrian Only” or another “inclusive” name.

“I was on crutches for 5 weeks and felt uncomfortable when seeing this sign,” James Qian, of Tempe, Ariz., wrote on the petition.

“This is necessary. Oppressive language is a microagression [sic] that needs to be addressed and is often forgotten about,” signee Victoria Jackson, also of Tempe, Ariz., wrote. “Word choice is one of the easiest things to change and often one of the most powerful.”

According to a poster circulating ASU’s campus and obtained by Campus Reform, “not everyone at ASU can walk, so WHY use the lingo ‘Walk Only’?”

“We don’t like creepy people policing our bodies on the way to class either…,” the poster reads.

ASU does offer a service for students and faculty that provides transportation to those who may need assistance. The school’s Disability Access and Resource Transportation (DART) program offers on-campus transportation to ASU students, faculty, and guests with physical disabilities.

According to its website, the service includes a “scheduled ride” on weekdays to residence halls, parking areas, and campus buildings.

An ASU spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment from Campus Reform in time for publication.

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