Antonio Milane receives scribe for academic work, hopes for broader change in disability accommodations

April 2, 2021, 9:56 p.m.

Antonio Milane ’25 announced that the University confirmed that they will provide him with full academic scribing accommodations in a Wednesday Instagram post.  

Milane said he received confirmation from Senior Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students Mona Hicks that the University would provide a scribe for homework and classwork assignments. 

There were some limitations to the scribing support since the University is currently only offering extracurricular scribing support for his frosh fall, Milane said, and he was concerned about broader issues with accessibility at Stanford. However, he felt this moment was a win “that is going to start a bigger change.” 

The Office of Accessible Education (OAE) initially told Milane, who has cerebral palsy, that they would not pay for scribing services because they considered it a personal service. Milane said that the reversal of the University’s initial decision happened because of the effort of advocates. 

Milane’s initial appeal on social media went viral, receiving upwards of 178,000 views and 1,282 comments. He asked students to reach out to the University to reverse its decision and encouraged them to sign a petition that has since received over 70,000 digital signatures.  

Following an outpouring of support for Milane on social media, University spokesman E.J. Miranda told The Daily on March 10 that Milane would receive the scribing accommodations he needs. Before Wednesday, however, Milane was concerned by the lack of formal, written confirmation and details about the scribing services the University would accommodate. Milane has since received confirmation from Hicks that his scribing needs for academic work will be accommodated by OAE. 

“Our goal is to ensure that all of our students can take advantage of every academic opportunity the university offers and enjoy a meaningful student experience,” University spokesperson Dee Mostofi wrote in a statement to The Daily. “We remain committed to supporting Mr. Milane’s request for an academic scribe to assist him with his out-of-classroom coursework needs.” 

Several advocates attributed the change in the University’s position to public pressure. While they were touched by the support Milane received, they expressed hope for broader change that would remove the burden from individual students to advocate for themselves. 

Aylee Wu ’25, who created artwork and worked with other prospective frosh to advocate for Milane, wrote that “Student pressure, social media and Antonio’s courage made this happen.” 

Milane said he was blown away by the amount of support he received. “I didn’t believe people would care,” he said. Milane hopes that his efforts and the community of advocates that have rallied around him will create opportunities for other students with disabilities. 

Second-year sociology Ph.D. candidate Cat Sanchez ’19, who serves as student co-chair of the Stanford Disability Initiative, said she was glad Milane received the accommodations he needs. However, she said it would take changes to policy to make the University more accessible to students with disabilities.

“It’s still on the individual students to make the complaint to say I need this, this is not enough … and not take no for an answer, which some people feel more comfortable with than others,” she said. 

Wu wrote that she believes the University’s decision to provide scribing services to Milane will lead to broader change. “I know full-heartedly that Antonio, if not the institution, will do everything to make things better for students with disabilities,” Wu wrote.

This quarter, a study group will “research best practices at other academic institutions, current literature on disability access in higher education and issues of concern amongst current Stanford community members regarding equitable access to opportunity for students with disabilities,” Mostofi wrote.

According to Mostofi, the study group “will produce background materials to expedite the work of a new task force that will launch in the fall.” The task force initiative will “consider next-generation equity and access for students with disabilities at Stanford,” she wrote. 

Sanchez hopes the task force initiative will revise policies to make accommodations more accessible and equitable. 

Ableism is a pervasive issue, affecting “not only Stanford, but society in general,” Milane said. He hoped the University’s decision and policy changes would help set a precedent for other institutions.

Sanchez echoed Milane, adding that “Stanford has resources and so they have the capacity to do that and they should be doing the best they possibly can for their students, but this is a societal level issue.” She stressed the importance of addressing the limitations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and expanding federal funding and protections for students with disabilities. 

Milane intends to work with the Stanford Disability Alliance to make the accommodations process at the University, and across higher education, more equitable. 

While he remains nervous about transitioning to college, Milane is dedicated to removing barriers for people with disabilities and is still incredibly excited to attend Stanford. “Knowing that there’s people that care and I won’t be alone, it makes the transition ten times easier,” Milane said.

Kaushikee Nayudu '24 is a staff writer for The Daily. Contact her at knayudu ‘at’

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