In light of Disability Awareness Month, some admirable Marquette students participated in a program coordinated by the Milwaukee County Office for Persons with Disabilities in which they experienced what it is like to depend on a wheelchair for transportation all day long.,”The struggles that disabled people face on a daily basis are countless. It is a shame that those who make their way around Marquette's campus face inconveniences that could be easily addressed and overcome.
In light of Disability Awareness Month, some admirable Marquette students participated in a program coordinated by the Milwaukee County Office for Persons with Disabilities in which they experienced what it is like to depend on a wheelchair for transportation all day long.
What the students found should be an overdue wake-up call for the need to make this campus more accessible for the disabled. Those who are disabled deserve the same acknowledgment of their needs and inconveniences as anyone else.
The students realized that maneuvering a wheelchair is quite exhausting, not surprisingly. The endless obstacles on campus only contribute to the struggle. Slanted sidewalks and curbs that block accessibilty when crossing the street exist in many parts of campus.
Older buildings on campus such as Johnston Hall and Marquette Hall lack ramps to get into buildings at convenient locations.
It is unimaginable to understand what it must be like to get around Lalumiere in a wheelchair, as the building's architecture resembles a maze with consistent and unneccessary doors throughout. Many buildings also lack handicap accessible entries with electric-powered doors. This type of addition seems that it would be easy to install. If not easy, it's necessary for our fellow community members who need assistance,
Fire codes prohibit the use of elevators during a fire emergency. Although Straz Tower has been specifically designed to be handicap accessible, a fire drill for a disabled person living on a higher floor means having a Public Safety officer carry him or her down many flights of stairs.
It is nice that Straz has been made so accessible, however, what about the rest of the residence halls and other campus housing? Only Campus Town East is fully accessible. Marquette should take into consideration the preferences of living situations of those who are disabled, and thus all housing should be accessible. Disabled students should not be prevented from visiting friends in inaccessible residences.
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal civil rights law that prohibits excluding people with disabilities from everyday activities. The act was made official in 1990, and yet 17 years later, Marquette's campus is not completely accessible.
Most of the newer buildings are well-equipped to serve those in wheelchairs, but more of an effort should be made to make the entire campus a place where disabled people feel comfortable. Realistically, any member of the community could end up disabled at any time. It would be nice if campus was more prepared for such a situation.