Handicapped accessibility may be a subject that often slips the minds of the non-disabled students here at West Chester University. However, for students who do have disabilities, the University has a bit of work to do.West Chester junior Meredith Segal, who suffers from a form of dwarfism, told The Quad her personal issues at WCU.
She stated that during times of inclement weather, the University’s sidewalks are poorly shoveled, making it hard for disabled students to get around.
“My scooter kicks up a lot of slush on the sidewalks, which makes me track a lot of snow into my dorm. Then I have to park it outside of my door or I will have puddles of water in my room,” said Segal.
Segal also expressed concern that University elevators are often too slow, which in essence makes her late for class. “It’s not the students using the elevators, it’s mostly that they’re just too slow. I have a class on the fourth floor in Main Hall, and then choir practice in Swope, and most of the time ten minutes is just not enough [to get from one destination to another],” said Segal.
The junior also said that the door to her room, which is electrically powered, was poorly wired. She did not find this out until the time of a blackout when she could not get out of her room. Her door was supposed to be connected to a back up generator in her dorm, but it wasn’t, which created a fire hazard. The faulty wiring has since been corrected. Dictor of Services for Students with Disabilities, Martin Patwell, told The Quad that there is a plan that has just be enacted this year specifically for disabled students during harsh weather.
This plan, called the “Snowwalk Program,” will prioritize routes on campus for disabled students to use that will be cleared of snow during times of inclement weather.
Patwell gives the handicapped accommodations here at West Chester University a good rating, saying that he has seen a “dramatic improvement over the past 10 years.”
“The University has made great strides in becoming more accommodating,” said Patwell.
Students with questions concerning the handicap accommodations here at the University should contact Thomas Clark in Facilities Management at 610-436-3599.