Student explains ADA accessibility

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The Americans with Disabilities Act according to ADA website the Americans with Disabilities Act is one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life.

The ADA allows people with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy employment opportunities,  purchase goods and services and participate in State and local government programs and services.

Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin and the Americans with Disabilities Act is an “equal opportunity” law for people with disabilities.

There are two areas of concern accessibility to education and accessibility to physical locations. The law provides exemptions for older buildings. Whereas new construction plans follow strict standards.

This is why the library, theater and Cascade Hall, are much more accessible to someone in a wheelchair than Marsh Hall or Clark Hall.

The Learning Support Services department provides accommodation for learning disabilities as well as physical disabilities as long as the disabilities are documented. It is currently located in Clark Hall on the second floor.

Accommodations have been made on the Pacific campus.

Last year social work students organized “Disable the Lable.” They had a relay race, four person teams who went to specific locations. One team member would have to use a different device.

They wore arm braces at the 24 hour study room in the library and tried to use the card reader. They sat in a wheelchair at Marsh Hall going down and up the ramp once. They wore goggles that impaired their vision at Scott Hall and try to find the automatic door button, and finally walk with crutches and enter the UC.

The students who participated had great difficulty navigating.

Imagine going to the LSS department in a wheel chair or with a lung issue and then wait for someone with a key having to unlock the elevator. And having to navigate the second floor of Clark Hall to get to the office.

There are completely compliant buildings on the campus. So why are offices and buildings located where they are?

When the LSS office was moved, Will Perkins pointed out the improvements over Scott Hall which had a more difficult elevator to navigate and less privacy for students who are using alternative testing locations.

So is Pacific University ADA compliant? Yes technically. However, students and faculty who have difficulty with movement can tell you there is a long way to go.


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