The Catch 22 of the 1970s
In 1961, I didn’t have the online option, of course, for obtaining my college degree. That was also before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (section 504).
As a new high school grad, I had earned a four-year state scholarship from Wisconsin pre-DVR services, and I was excited about getting my degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
I remember going to the Madison registrar office on Bascom Hill ready to apply for school, only to find the admissions people wouldn’t accept me because they believed I couldn’t climb the hills and steps on campus to make it between classes.
Reluctantly, I agreed to take my first two years of classes at the then Wisconsin State College at Platteville, a smaller, flat campus. I earned straight “A’s” and then was finally accepted as a junior at Madison, where I could obtain my journalism degree.
During the summer after my sophomore year, I learned how to use Canadian crutches in the fields of our home farm, timing my pace each day so by that fall I knew I could even climb the Bascom Hill steps to get to class within the 15-minute break between sessions.
Looking back, I could have used today’s options in education as well as the curb cuts and elevators now mandated by the ADA. I could have also used an electric scooter, my Amigo, which, at the time, was not yet on the market.
* When have you felt you were out in the forefront of an important social issue?