FUSG approves ‘Breaking Barriers’ club for students with disabilities


A club seeking to build awareness for interacting with people with disabilities received recognition by Franciscan University Student Government Wednesday, allowing the club to receive Student Government funding. 

Breaking Barriers is devoted to breaking the stigma around people with disabilities,” said the club’s president, Morgan LaVea. “We want to make sure everyone has a voice.” 

Many Franciscan students don’t seem to know how to interact with people with disabilities, LaVea said. LeVea, a motorized wheelchair user, told of a time when she was approaching an elevator and someone rushed over, offering to press the buttons for her.  

“I don’t need help pressing buttons,” she said. While she appreciated the effort, interactions like that “can make it seem as if people with disabilities aren’t equal.” 

“People don’t do it on purpose, but we want to help them learn how to interact with us,” she added. “We don’t see ourselves as people with disabilities – we’re just people.” 

Responding to questions from Sens. Patrick Bouchard and Caitlin Head, LeVea said the club has 10-15 people interested in it and will meet for the first time Friday. 

The club was approved unanimously. 

Only five senators were present at the meeting. Sen. Paul Nick was absent and six other positions remain empty: three freshman seats, two sophomore seats and one junior seat. An in-house election to fill those positions will take place on Monday at Student Government’s informal meeting. 

Student Government’s next formal meeting will be Feb. 5 at 11 a.m. in the St. Leo Room.