Text is from page 6 of the Student Disabilities Services’ handbook:
Access to facilities to “enable a qualified student with a disability to have an equal opportunity…” requires a request for modification. That’s funny, I just walk into buildings, but a student with a disability has to file a complaint, and provide proper medical documentation that they do, in fact, need a ramp to get into the building. Regardless of whether or not this process works, it’s demeaning, and far from equal.
And, as a disabled student, you must keep in mind that your rights might be an “undue financial or administrative burden” to one of the richest higher education institutions in the country. This doesn’t go both ways though, you will not be reimbursed on your tuition for the buildings and rooms you can’t access.
This is not “equal opportunity:” equal opportunity means being able to easily roll into your classes, and not have to worry that the door—which only opens manually—will be closed. It means not being late to class because you had to spend a half an hour looping around buildings in search for YOUR entrance. It means not getting stuck in the rain because you slid off the sidewalk, and no one can help because your entrance is hidden around back.
You can’t qualify equal. You can’t say you’ll make it equal unless it costs too much money. You can’t say it’s equal when people have to request to be allowed in. There is no such thing as separate entrances but equal opportunity.
(The top photo is the maze of ramps leading up to the back entrance of the brand new Paulson Center. There is no button to open the door.)
Other shit you don’t have to worry about? Whether or not YOUR path is well lit, whether or not it’s covered in branches, whether or not you have to take a more convoluted path because your college is fucking hilly and there aren’t good paths.
I’m looking at YOU Evergreen. The handicap ramp at night is terrifying because it’s down a hill from the lights, so it’s dark. It’s also entirely over hung with branches.
Then there’s the fact that a lot of the time the handicap buttons at the HCC are turned off. Or the fact that most of the time, you have to sit in the back of the class when you are using a mobility aid because you can’t do stairs. It’s not like there are people who have visual impairments and physical disabilities or anything.