by Chelsea Harris
This year, Piedmont College installed ramps on campus grounds
for accessibility to those in wheelchairs and those with physical disabilities.
This is a great step in the right direction, but accessibility is still limited in
other areas on campus. For current and future students, we have to make all
areas on campus easily accessible.
There are currently two students who use electrical wheelchairs as a
means of getting from place to place. Yet, there are still places on campus
that do not allow easy access to these members of our school.
These places include both the entrance to the back of the Swanson Center after
crossing the bridge and the bottom floor of the library.
The bridge to Swanson is accessible in itself, but there is no way for a wheelchair to
get up the steps leading to the glass doors at the back of Swanson. The front entrance is
fine, but students in wheelchairs must either take the long way up to Swanson or have access
to a personal van that can transport wheelchairs. We could make it better for students to
take a quicker and easier route to their classes without assistance if we installed a few more
accessibility points and ramps in this area.
The library is also an issue for students in wheelchairs if they were to need access to
the bottom floor. Students are not allowed to have the code to the bottom floor entrance
from the outside. It is simple enough for students who can enter through the ground floor
and take the stairs down. However, the elevator does not travel all the way down to the bottom
floor. If a student in a wheelchair needed access to this floor, how would they get it?
It isn’t right for any one student to have difficulty getting where they need to go in
order to receive optimal education. While the college has made a step in the right direction,
we should be reaching further. Our campus should be accessible to everyone in search
of an education, and Piedmont may have many students in the future who need to be able to either travel across campus without a personal van or gain access to the bottom floor of the library. Not everyone is going to have someone who can help do these things for them.
Piedmont is always looking for ways to improve for its students. How about this one:
We make every access point for every building accessible for everyone. Every student—regardless of physical abilities—deserves access to all places on campus.