F*ck the Stairs movement strives to increase accessibility awareness on campus


Tuesday, April 25 and Wednesday, April 26, the Student Accessibility and Disability Alliance at the College of William and Mary organized an advocacy campaign titled “F*ck the Stairs.” The campaign challenged able-bodied students to spend two days using accessible means of travel to better understand the experience of mobility impaired individuals, promoting accessibility awareness on campus. 

Last fall, Student Assembly Undersecretary of Disability Initiatives Allison Stovall ’25, Heather Christensen ’23 and Cameron Lynch ’23 co-founded the SADA. The organization received official recognition from the College in March 2023.

“There were three of us that ended up founding it,” Stovall said. “We got together in October last year and we got approved by the university in March. This has been a very short timeframe that we’ve done a lot of this.”

The “F*ck the Stairs” movement advocates for only using wheelchair accessible ramps, elevators, elevations and bathrooms for traveling around campus.

“F*ck the Stairs is all about showing everybody what it’s like to have to take inaccessible entrances on campus,” SADA Advocacy Chair Grayson Bunting ’26 said. “We’re making able-bodied students take only accessible entrances on campus today and tomorrow.”


In preparation for the campaign, SADA began posting on social media to publicize the event several weeks in advance. SADA members drew chalk reminders on concrete in front of inaccessible entries and ramps to guide individuals participating in the campaign.

“We chalked, we got some yard signs that we put around, and the main way we’ve been advertising is through social media,” Bunting said. “I think we’ve gotten some traction, which is nice. And a lot of it was just planning and talking about it and figuring out the best way to bring light to this issue.” 

Last week marked the first campaign for “F*ck the Stairs” at the College, but the movement is part of a nationwide effort that started in 2018 at the University of Washington in Seattle. Butler University in Indianapolis also has its own reiteration of the event.

“We could think about making it a longer thing next year, but as for now, it’s just me, those two days, and after this, we’re probably going to do more advocacy campaigns as well,” Bunting said. 

According to Stovall, the lack of functioning elevators and ramps with steep inclines around the College’s campus poses challenges to many students. Currently, buildings such as the Sir Christopher Wren Building are not wheelchair accessible. Because of this, Stovall said she is unable to participate in the tradition of taking a class in the Wren building.

“Basically anything in the Wren, I can’t take, because even the ramp is too steep, and then you go in there and there’s no elevator, so unless you’re on the first floor of the Wren, you’re still stuck,” Stovall said.


Recent campus construction creates additional obstacles for individuals traveling around campus. Navigating to Boswell Hall, for example, requires climbing a steep hill, going up steps and traveling on gravel that forces mobility impaired students to carve out more time for their commute to class.

The inconvenience of having to allot extra time in the day to get around these areas is one of the biggest takeaways SADA wants students to learn from the two-day challenge.

“Our main goal was to just kind of get people to realize what it’s like to navigate campus when you’re physically disabled,” Stovall said. “Obviously being disabled is not entirely about the physical side of things and about navigating campus, but it is a huge part for a lot of us.”

To show its support, the College’s administration distributed a faculty-wide message regarding potential tardiness due to the campaign. By having able-bodied individuals experience a small glimpse of what it means to be physically disabled, Stovall hopes it begins to raise awareness on campus. 


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