Monday mornings are usually busy at the University of Texas, as students rush to finish assignments they’ve been putting off and attempt to conceal hangovers from the night before. However, last Monday one voice cut through the noise. Student activist Jonathan Gomez Jr. spent his morning outside the student union protesting a longstanding campus injustice: testing accommodations.
“I’ve seen ‘The Theory of Everything,’ OK?” explains Gomez. “I know being disabled is hard and stuff, but you didn’t see Eddie Redmayne asking for extra time to solve that one really hard equation or whatever it was.”
Jonathan’s complaints against UT’s Disability Services Department began after he was placed on academic probation for attempting to have his “emotional support person” take his biology midterm for him. Fraternity brother and virtually certified ESP Michael Ham explained that Gomez was in need of assistance, and that he (Ham) is like, really good at science.
Since the incident, Gomez has raised concerns about several classroom accommodations, including the use of scribes by students with motor impairments and extra testing time for those with ADHD. As further evidence that accommodations provide an unfair advantage, Gomez pointed out that he personally took Adderall once and wrote a 12-page paper in under an hour, titled, “Math. What is it? And more importantly, what *isn’t* it?”
“I’m not saying that they’re all faking it,” says Gomez. “I’m just pointing out that the girl who sits in front of me is awfully good at biology for someone who can’t even read without glasses.”
Gomez says there is a financial component to this discrimination as well, citing the fact that he is spending hundreds of his dad’s dollars every year to get test answers on Chegg, a popular homework help service. “That money could have gone to helping orphans go to school to cure cancer, but now we’ll never know,” he shrugs.
As students trickle in for their 8 a.m. classes, Gomez starts to pack up for the day, putting away a large poster that says, “If you can read this, you don’t need extra time.” We asked what was next for our brave fighter and were met with an eloquent “idunno.” He explained that he would probably swim some laps in the Gomez Natatorium that was so generously funded by his father the year he applied to college.