On Jan. 26, I wrote an article on behalf of the student organization, Discrimination Student Caucus, that included issues of accessibility on campus.
It is clear that there are still issues on campus regarding accessibility.
Listed below are the changes in vocabulary that diminished the severity of inaccessibility on campus.
– All of Umble Center (Specifically the lack of a functional ramp, as there are only stairs to the other levels and there is no accessible seating)
– The RFC’s “elevator” is a freight elevator and not clearly marked for people to find
– The fact that there is no accessible housing
– Unreliable elevators
– A mess of sensory issues
– The Rott not accommodating for dietary issues, nor correctly marking allergens, or not being aware of all allergens in certain menu items
– Broadly sensory issues (especially the issues surrounding the bright white LED lights)
– Umble Center lacks a functional ramp inside; there are only stairs to the other tiers; there is limited accessible seating.
– The RFC’s elevator is a freight elevator and not clearly marked for people to find.
– There is not enough accessible housing.
– Elevators are unreliable.
– Sensory issues pervade, especially regarding bright white LED lights.
– Westlawn Dining Hall insufficiently accommodates dietary issues and frequently incorrectly marks allergens.
In response to the edits that were made, DSC asked that staff and students who had experienced areas of inaccessible accommodation and exclusionary discrimination regarding accessibility on campus to speak to their experiences.
One staff member shared that the temperature variances in buildings, angle of the ramp slopes and narrowness of the halls make it difficult to access campus, and that using a walker is not possible in all of these areas due to the ramps not being wide enough to turn at the angles.
An example of a shared concern among students and staff includes mobility on campus regarding accessibility to the buildings via handicap doors.
Staff overseeing accessibility issues on campus expressed that while there are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards, there is no such thing as ADA certification.
As such, there are ways in which the campus argues semantics that as there are SOME accommodations which means that there are no issues regarding accessibility. This campus is, by no means, nearly as accessible of a campus as it may portray or may like to be, or as it needs to be.
GC’s website does state that “East House is currently our only small-group house that is handicap accessible,” and that “Kratz Hall, Miller Hall, Yoder Hall, and Romero Student Apartments feature elevators and ADA accessibility. Kulp Hall and Coffman Hall do not have elevators or wheelchair ramps to enter the building for floors.”
However, upon closer inspection, there are no handicap accessible bathrooms on the floors, or bathroom entrances to any of the residential buildings. Nor are there any handicap accessible entrances to the floors themselves. There are many areas of inaccessibility on campus that supersede the outward statements of the institution.
It is clear that there are still issues on campus regarding accessibility, and to lessen, diminish or eliminate the conversation surrounding it deems the whole of the institution and its patrons, donors, staff and administration, faculty and students alike and the whole of campus complicit and active in the accessibility discrimination on campus.
There is much more work that needs to be done.
Robin Chico and Isabella Ruiz, Co-Presidents of DSC
Julia Schiavone Camacho, Faculty Advisor of DSC