The average person takes between 3,000 and 4,000 steps every day.
For most people, opening a door or walking up the stairs are mindless actions, and they are often taken for granted. It might be difficult for most people to imagine a world where they do not have use of a body part such as their arms or legs.
In order to help those with physical disabilities fight discrimination, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990. The ADA “prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.”
Millersville has an ADA committee which meets every month. The committee is comprised of students, faculty, and staff who are interested in helping the campus remain up to date and compliant with the ADA law.
In the August 16 edition of Millersville’s blog, “The Exchange,” there is a list of some things done by the ADA committee to make Millersville more accessible for those with disabilities. Things like assistive crossing devices, a wheel chair lift, access ramps, and power door operators are all projects with which the ADA was involved.
The Millersville ADA Reasonable Accommodation & Access policy states that, “Millersville University is committed to equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination for all students, employees, applicants for admission or employment, and all participants in public University-sponsored activities. In keeping with this commitment, and in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) the University will make every effort to provide equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination for all members of the University community and visitors to the University, regardless of any disability an individual may have.”
Because the ADA law is constantly being updated, some buildings on campus, especially those built before 1990 when the ADA law passed, might not be up to ADA standards. When Millersville renovates buildings, like the Student Memorial Center, the building is brought up to ADA compliance.
Students without physical disabilities often take for granted the ability to easily access campus and do not know if Millersville is handicap accessible.
“I do not really notice MU’s handicap accessibility. I feel like I can’t even tell you where most of the elevators are in a majority of the buildings,” said senior Nikki Caton. There is an elevator in Hash, one of the English buildings; however, it is difficult to locate. The handicap ramp to enter Byerly Hall is behind the building, making it inconvenient to get to class.
Those students with physical disabilities who live in dorms face special impediments. A Millersville resident assistant (RA), who wished to remain anonymous because the person works for housing, said dorms are “not very” handicap friendly.
“The fact that only a few of the residence halls have elevators and handicapped doors make it really hard,” the RA said. The RA believes that Hobbs is the most handicap accessible dorm. Hobbs has an elevator and the front door is programmed to open automatically. In addition, there is a handicap door going from the lobby into the rest of the building, making it easier for residents in wheelchairs to get around.
Speaking about the campus in general, the RA said that winter conditions make it especially hard for handicap students to move around campus.
“The whole problem with a lack of salt for icy walkways is a huge problem. Walking on snow is easy, but trying to move a wheelchair or crutches through snow and ice is not at all,” the RA.
For MU to become more handicap accessible, Caton suggests more elevators and ramps for some of the smaller offices around campus.
“I hate to say it, but we’re making all of these changes to campus, maybe they should evaluate some of these missing necessities.”