Trauma, grounded in racial vulnerability, gender violence, child abuse and neglect, and economic insecurity, creates powerful and long-term harms that shape the lives of college-age students, before and during their higher educational immersion. Many of these harms are ultimately disabling, as exposure to violence and deprivation generate clinical depression, sleep disruption, post-traumatic stress disorder, and "co-morbid" or co-occurring conditions like digestive and respiratory illnesses, or reduced immunity and resiliency. When campuses fail to recognize, comprehend, or respond constructively to students living with disabling forms of trauma, related outcomes include depressed academic achievement, increased time-to-degree, reduced time to degree, and reduced life chances. Grounding campus culture and student services in disability justice frameworks engenders the possibility of a much more equitable, humane, and productive relationship to student success and life preparation.
About the speaker:
Beth Ribet holds a PhD in Social Relations from the University of California, Irvine (2005), and also has a law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles with a concentration in Critical Race Studies. She is the director of Repair, a health and disability justice organization based in Los Angeles. In the six years since co-founding Repair, she has built critical conversations about criminalization, commercial sexual exploitation, health and healthcare, disability law, food justice, racism, and social change work. She also lectures at the University of California, Los Angeles in Disability Studies, teaching courses on mental disability law, disability and electoral politics, and disability and governance.
About the moderator:
Kaaryn Gustafson holds a PhD in Jurisprudence & Social Policy from the University of California, Berkeley (2004), as well as a law degree. She is Professor of Law, Director of the Center on Law, Equality and Race (CLEAR), and Associate Dean of Academic Community Engagement at the University of California, Irvine. Professor Gustafson’s research and scholarship is interdisciplinary and explores the role of law in remedying inequality—and in reinforcing inequality. Her research over the last decade focused on the expanding administrative overlap between the welfare and criminal justice systems, as well as the experiences of those individuals and families caught in those systems. Her current research explores the history of law in regulating African American families and in regulating labor among poor people of various ethnic backgrounds.

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