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Disabling access

September 26, 2010

Photo by Skye Butler

By Ashley Fincher, Staff Writer

When I first enrolled in YHC as a student in the fall of 2007, the campus was severely lacking adequate handicapped access. The campus had very few ramps, a lot of curbs and stairs in some of the most inconvenient places; it was not a very friendly environment for students with disabilities.

However, in the past few years, YHC has made many positive changes to the campus by ramps, curb cuts, and best of all the new ADA buildings, but in all reality, that has only solved a few small problems.

I have been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and I must have either my wheelchair or walker at all times in order to be mobile.

When you are disabled as I am, the smallest tasks can take a great deal of energy to accomplish, and it can be very overwhelming.

I understand that some tasks such as doing laundry and mopping the floors are considered personal responsibilities. I have no problem taking care of the little things, because I’m very independent. However, some of the mobility issues on campus can and should be fixed.

People who do not have to deal with physical disabilities probably don’t even realize the small difficulties that disabled students face on a daily basis on this campus. For starters, I find it ironic that Student Development is upstairs in the PB building with no elevator.

Also, it is almost impossible for students with physical challenges to get upstairs in the library where the study rooms and most of the books are located unless you want to go in an “antique” elevator and I for one do not trust it.

Speaking of elevators, in my dorm there are no elevators at all. I live on the first floor of the Appleby Center Complex and I have no way of getting upstairs to the RAs or RDs unless I call them and hope that they answer.

That may not seem like a big deal but when you accidentally lock yourself out and can’t find anyone that can become a huge problem.

Granted, YHC does have ADA dorms but as we all know it can cost an arm and a leg to live in them so it’s either live in Appleby with no elevator or don’t live on campus at all because you can’t afford it.

I am by no means saying that the school should fix every little problem but the stuff that can be fixed should be fixed. Not every physically challenged person has as much mobility as I or my fellow disabled friends have.  After all, YHC is a four-year institution and they could possibly miss out on some wonderful students because of the disabling access.

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