The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities is a topic on campus that has gotten more and more attention this semester, as the campus is treated to more renovations in some areas and none in others.
According to the ADA’s website, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities and transportation.
This week, the Martin-Brock Student Center is a focus of scrutiny. As most students know, there is no elevator in the building. There are quite a few students who have recently been injured or have had surgeries that require little to no physical activity including going up and down stairs–and not to mention, a building cannot be considered wheelchair accessible without an elevator.
Martin-Brock is a central area where students spend time studying or hanging out with friends or organizations during their free time. There are even rooms dedicated to certain organizations on campus on the third floor of Martin-Brock–if students can’t access these rooms, are they also being barred from joining the organizations themselves? Director of Housing, Lacey Southwick commented on the ADA situation in Martin-Brock and the campus in general.
“I think several buildings on-campus are non-accessible because they are outdated and in need of renovations that will help bring them up to being ADA compliant. Accessibility is huge and in order to be inclusive you need buildings that have better access. Renovations do cost a lot of money, but I think it will help the campus be more attractive to students and families who may need access to these types of renovations,” said Southwick.
Title III prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of… places of public accommodations (businesses that are generally open to the public and that fall into one of 12 categories listed in the ADA, such as restaurants, movie theaters, schools, day care facilities, recreation facilities, and doctors’ offices) and requires newly constructed or altered places of public accommodation—as well as commercial facilities (privately owned, nonresidential facilities such as factories, warehouses, or office buildings)—to comply with the ADA Standards.
As other renovations continue across campus, the question remains if buildings that are lacking in ADA standards will receive any attention.
– Taylor Watson