New to the disability community, to Yale, or both? Feeling overwhelmed? Check out the Disability@Yale Survival Guide, and provide feedback here!

Disability Empowerment for Yale, or DEFY, is Yale’s only undergraduate advocacy and affinity organization for students with disabilities. Our membership includes Yalies with physical disabilities, mental illnesses, chronic illnesses, temporary disabilities, sensory disabilities, addictions & substance dependencies, and learning disabilities, as well as members of the greater New Haven community with these disabilities. 


DEFY’s vision is to make Yale more accessible and welcoming to students with disabilities, both physical and mental, chronic and temporary.

Primary Goals

Start a Conversation: Bring to light the issues surrounding disability to empower students, faculty, and staff to understand what it means to live and learn with a disability at Yale and to make this community more inclusive.

Foster a Community: Develop a robust, intersectional coalition of disabled people and allies to advocate for the disabled community, create networks of support, host events, facilitate conversations, and invite experts and advocates to campus to raise awareness.

Fight for:

  • Greater accessibility in Yale coursework, dining, transit, health services & extracurricular activities 
  • An academic program for Disability Studies
  • A cultural center for students with disabilities which uplifts the voices of our community, hosts disability-related initiatives and events, and furthers the social model of disability
  • Improved resources for students with disabilities

Sign up to receive emails from DEFY here or by emailing Communications Director Martine Cruz at martine.cruz@yale.edu.  To join our Slack workspace, where members share resources & support and communicate more regularly about the status of advocacy projects, click here.


February 28, 2020
As mentioned in an email from Student Accessibility Services (SAS):  “on Thursday, March 5, 2020, a new exhibition at the Medical Library, ‘Disability, Disability Activism,...
February 1, 2020
See all of VP Mafalda’s wonderful op-eds discussing chronic illness, accessibility, and being a disabled student at Yale here: https://yaledailynews.com/blog/author/...
Flyer image from event, details typed out in body
November 6, 2019
President Paige Lawrence was featured on an October panel co-sponsored by the Yale Alumni Association, DiversAbility at Yale, and the Yale Office of Diversity and Inclusion....