Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Ian Barnard

Second Advisor

Brian Glaser

Third Advisor

Jan Osborn


The language on university websites and the policies provided by Disability Services provide material for a rhetorical analysis addressing the marginalization of students with disabilities on college campuses. In this thesis, I discuss the degree to which university distributed texts marginalize students with disabilities. My discussion begins with commentary on Critical Disability Studies, the theoretical influence for this thesis. Following the discussion of theoretical modes in disability studies is a brief commentary on the history of disabilities in academic contexts. After historically contextualizing Disability Services on university campuses, I analyze the rhetoric of San Diego State University (SDSU) and the University of California San Diego's (UCSD) informational texts aimed at students with disabilities, including analysis of how and to what degree information is provided, but also the language of the written policy itself. Through my rhetorical analysis, it is clear that SDSU's values are effectively conveyed through language, whereas UCSD explicitly and implicitly separates the Office of Disability Services from disability advocacy. My aim in writing this thesis is to convey the importance of rhetorically sensitive and intentionally constructed language regarding disability and to situate language as a critical factor in creating an inclusive university environment.

Creative Commons License

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



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