'It's a little ableist': Student government president criticizes Fetterman concerns

Point Park University’s student government association president said it is 'ableist' to criticize Democrat candidate John Fetterman's campaign performance.

Fetterman, who suffered a stroke in May, will face off against Republican candidate Mehmet Oz for the U.S. Senate.

Point Park University’s (PPU) student government association (SGA) president, Kendra Summers, alleged that questioning Democrat candidate John Fetterman’s performance is “ableist” in an episode of the student-run podcast Not Just Politics Pod.

Summers discussed the upcoming Pennsylvania election where Fetterman will face off against Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz for the Senate seat. However, after having a stroke in May, voters are concerned that Fetterman is not in a good medical standing to serve. 

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Summers disagreed, telling host Carsen Brunn that “it’s a little ableist to look at someone that’s just been through a stroke and been like ‘you’re not answering these questions fast enough for me.’”

While Summers admitted it would be “better if [she] could hear him speak more often,” she later validated his candidacy by referring to previous elected officials.

“We let people that are on the brink of death run for office all the time and win,” Summers said. “I think that what’s important is that he’s trying to work through it, and that after everything that’s happened he’s still like ‘no, this is what I’m dedicated to. This is what I’m [going to] do.’”

[RELATED: OPINION: Point Park University has proven it is NOT the ‘inclusive’ school it claims to be]

Brunn told Campus Reform that questioning “Fetterman’s mental state is legitimate to an extent.”

“He was clearly fit to serve before his stroke but post stroke he isn’t the same mentally,” he said. “With that being said, I don’t think we should be beating up on him over that mental state because strokes are very serious. I hope Oz supporters would keep that same energy if the situation was flipped.”

Point Park University is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Summer’s argument falls in line with previous Campus Reform reporting about on-campus language guides, which often advise students to use inclusive language in their daily conversations.

The guides often address “ableism” and which “ableist” language to avoid.

 At Arizona State University, “ableism” is defined as “discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities.” It warns ableist language can be used in the form of microaggressions.

California State University’s guide includes a list of phrases to avoid to refrain from offending “People with Disabilities.” “Suffers from,” “Able-bodied,” and “Disabled” were included on the list.

Campus Reform reached out to Point Park University for comment. Summers chose not to comment. This article will be updated accordingly. 

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