I’d like to call your attention to an issue that I have been noticing around campus — the appalling lack of accessibility for disabled persons. I understand that many of the University’s buildings were constructed long before any federal legislation demanded buildings to follow codes designed for our disabled peers, but I’m still baffled by the absence of wheelchair-friendly buildings or walkways. For example, I live in West Quad Residence Hall, which has neither an elevator nor an escalator. While this isn’t a problem for me or the hall’s other able-bodied residents, the University’s lack of consideration for our disabled friends is saddening. There’s only a single, rickety ramp in the building connecting the slightly lower community center to the main floor, which contains the dining hall and all the offensively small doorways and entrances to the buildings are built on uneven stone or tile floors.
I call on the University and especially the Board of Regents — as they spend millions on renovations — to focus on making the campus more accessible to everyone. Those in wheelchairs, on crutches or otherwise physically handicapped — including some of our injured Wolverine athletes living here in West Quad — have the right to the same standard of living we uphold for all persons, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. If our University really wanted to put our money to good use, it would focus on making the entire campus accessible to all, not just certain buildings in certain locations.
As students, we need to stand up for the rights of those who cannot stand!