Campaigns & Advocacy

Unlearn Ableism, Audism & Sanism

See the main Unlearn Campaign Page.

Ableism, Audism & Sanism 101

This is Ableism

  • Forcing students to disclose their disability in front of the class.
  • Buildings without wheelchair ramps or elevators.
  • Not getting as many employment offers as able-bodied people.
  • Believing doctors and the medical system are the experts of people with disabilities’ experiences.

Ableism is social prejudice and oppression against people with disabilities. It can manifests in many forms, from institutional barriers and policies to everyday microaggressions. Those who do not have disabilities can be referred to as able-bodied. 

This is Sanism

  • Saying terms like “crazy”, “psycho”, and “insane” to insult or saying “That’s so OCD/Bipolar.”
  • Forcing therapy and treatment.
  • Believing mental disorders makes someone evil or unable to be intelligent. 

Sanism is a form of ableism against individuals whose experiences aren’t considered sane or neurotypical by society.Those who do not have mental disabilities can be referred to as sane or neurotypical. 

This is Audism

  • Ignoring a Deaf person in a conversation.
  • Speaking with your back turned to a Deaf person.
  • Refusing to learn sign language to communicate with a Deaf family member. 

Audism is prejudice and oppression against individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Those who do not have hearing disabilities are referred to as having hearing privilege.  

Ableism is Systemic Oppression

Ableism is more than being an asshole to people with disabilities. When Institutions establish rules and customs that oppress and mistreat people with disabilities, it’s not always a direct example of ableism. These are pervasive and deeply engrained ways that society accepts as normal.      

People with disabilities are often disempowered by having their right to choose what happens to them take away. Here are a few things every person with a disability should be able to choose:

  • How to be referred.
  • The kind of medication and treatment given.
  • Their boundaries and personal space.
  • How they communicate -- be it verbal, gesturing, through sign language, writing, or not at all.
  • How they learn.
  • If and how allies help them out.

How to be a better ally

  • Ask permission before doing something for or to someone with a disability (ie. Holding a door open for a person who is blind).
  • Speak directly to someone, instead of towards an interpreter or Personal Support Worker.
  • Never touch someone’s cane, wheelchair, or other mobility aid without consent.
  • Caption your videos and images. Describing what a picture looks like or putting subtitles in your video help make media more accessible.
  • Do not assume sanity or accessibility needs.
  • Treat disability as differently-abled, not unable.

Disability Means:

  • Diversity
  • Independence
  • Dignity
  • Equal opportunities


Contact: RyeACCESS | | 416.979.5255 x 4504 

About United For Equity: Challenge Ablesim

Challenging all forms of discrimination and oppression is an important part of the work of the student movement. Racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and all forms of oppression can affect how certain groups of people access post-secondary education, and perpetuate inequities in society based on gender, race, socio-economic status, (dis)ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, citizenship status and other factors.

The Canadian Federation of Students works through its constituency groups to promote equity and challenge all forms of discrimination. A series of equity buttons are available and templates can be downloaded [click 'Download' below] for students' unions to use on their campuses.


Mental Wellness Taskforce

Take the Survey:

Take the survey at this link.

Mental Wellness:

A state of well-being in which the individual realizes their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community.

About the Taskforce:

The Mental Wellness Taskforce will serve as an opportunity to analyse the culture of mental wellness on campus by evaluating the daily and ongoing mental wellness impacts on students, the knowledge and accessibility of university policy in improving mental wellness on campus, and the capacities and impacts of services addressing mental wellness on and off-campus. 

Ultimately, the Taskforce seeks to improve accommodations for mental wellness through building a system of barrier-free education driven by the needs of students.

Want to get involved in the taskforce? Email:

Survey hosted by RyeACCESS, the Ryerson Students' Union and the Continuing Education Students' Association of Ryerson.


This survey is being conducted to explore the needs, services and culture of mental wellness on campus. All individual submissions are held in confidentiality with your privacy in mind. Ultimately, some responses may be used in a final report with anonymity. If you would like to attach your name to a story or statement, please email

Contact: RyeACCESS | | 416.979.5255 x 4504

Mental Health Advisory Committee

RyeACCESS participates in the Ryerson Mental Health Advisory Committee. If you want an item brought to the advisory committee table, let us know at Find out more about the committee on their web page.

Contact: RyeACCESS | | 416.979.5255 x 4504

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