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This paper explores the experiences of a doctoral disabled student at a university to examine how ableist structures in graduate programs affect access to higher education and post-degree outcomes. Guided by the DisCrit framework and autoethnography approach, the article illuminates systems and processes that disadvantage graduate disabled students. Through intersectional analyses of disability, race, and origin, the article makes visible manifestations of disability microaggressions and systemic ableism, racism, and xenophobia. It interrogates the perpetuation and normalization of academic transgressions, including exclusionary practices that degrade and oppress graduate disabled students and hinder them from seeking success. Finally, the argument is made in favour of reforms to authenticate disability culture, validate students’ rights to education, decolonize academics from ableism, and create a disability-friendly university environment.


This article was originally published in Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, volume 25, issue 1, in 2023.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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