By Marlene Brockington
On Sept. 20, I experienced technical issues with the elevator as I tried to get to my class on the third floor of Fine Arts. This issue drew my attention to the many accessibility problems at Rider. I am a new transfer student from Mercer County Community College who lives with a physical disability and relies on my mobility aid, which is my electric wheelchair. It is my third week at Rider, and I was on my way to class when I discovered that the elevator was out of order. Because of this, I was unable to attend my Politics and Law class. This issue not only impacts me, but other students, faculty and staff who depend on the use of the elevator to access their classes safely. In addition to the elevator being out of order, many of the automatic door opener buttons are not functional. The capacity of the elevators is also not accessible for diverse disability populations with different size wheelchairs or other kinds of equipment. All elevators should comply with the American Disability Act (ADA), which became law in 1990.
Another issue I have noticed on campus is that many building doors do not have accessible door handles, such as in Sweigart Hall. All doors in each building should have accessible handles. Moreover, students with all kinds of disabilities should be able to have equal access to classes and campus activities.
I have enjoyed attending Rider so far, but I feel that all universities should be fully inclusive. If universities are excluding students that live with disabilities, this causes those individuals to feel that they do not belong. To prevent isolation and inaccessibility, all doors and elevators should be checked regularly. In addition, all accessible paths should be indicated to prevent a variety of issues. Students with visible and invisible disabilities should be provided with an accessibility map that shows all the paths they can use. Still, we should talk to the students that live with disabilities to get their opinion before things are done. Many times, decisions are made without the students’ opinions, rendering inefficient solutions. So let’s make every Bronc feel included!