» By TIFFANY HALL – firstname.lastname@example.org
Accessibility for all students is a necessary priority for APSU.
“For the most part, we are a really accessible campus. All buildings are accessible for students with disabilities. I feel like we are ahead on accessibility,” said Nicole Jamen, Accommodations Coordinator for Disabilities.
One problem Jamen did mention is how the Dunn Center has room numbers on top of the doors. The location of the numbers poses a problem for students who have poor vision or no vision at all. All of the other buildings on campus have door numbers next to the door with braille writing.
Administrative Assistant II for Disabilities, April Williams, said the issue with the Dunn Center has been addressed, and there are plans to fix the problem.
Williams also said one of the most recent accommodations for disabled students are the signs on different parts of campus which say the route is inaccessible. The signs have been put up as recently as this semester.
“The concern with these paths are that the slopes would be too steep for wheelchairs to the point that the wheelchairs would be going too fast and the student might not be able to slow down or even stop,” Williams said.
Williams said the Adaptive Technology Coordinator, Philip Voorhees, really strives for the idea of having a Universal Design campus. The Universal Design is a design that allows all students equal access to every building.
Academic buildings are not the only structures being evaluated. The safety of dorms has also been called into question. All dorms have rooms that follow the American with Disabilities Act of 1990.
“Castle Heights has ADA-certified rooms on all three floors,” said Kimberley Morrow, associate director of Housing.
Students with disabilities would not necessarily be forced to take a room on the bottom floor. The accommodation of the student depends on the extent and type of disability. Students with disabilities could be placed on the third floor of Castle Heights. Castle Heights also has elevators that are accessible for disabled students on either side of the building.
Morrow said all students with disabilities should register with both Housing and Disabilities to make sure proper precautions and guidelines are enforced.
Once registered with Housing, all students with disabilities are directed to the residence hall directors along with the individual floor resident advisors. Each of these people would be equipped with a list of students with disabilities.
In the event of a fire or other disaster, the RAs and RHDs are required to knock on every door belonging to students with disabilities, to ensure the student is aware there is an evacuation of the building.
“Whichever RA or RHD that gets to the disabled students first is responsible for making sure that student gets out,” Morrow said.
Morrow also emphasized students who have a temporary disability should also register with Housing and Disabilities to make sure that during their time of recovery they are taken care of.
Disability Services also has student volunteers who take notes for disabled students. The volunteers take notes and put together useful information for a student who would not ordinarily be able to take notes. TAS