[personal profile] newsflash
My best friend has a lot wrong with her. She's a juvenile diabetic. She's got a disease called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) that makes mobility an issue. She uses a service dog for stability and balance and to pick up things she otherwise would be unable to, among other uses.

Understandably, it's hard to complete formal education with all of this going on, which is why she hasn't finished her undergraduate degree. So imagine her elation when she was accepted to Mount Holyoke College under their program for non-traditional students. She was part of a group of older students whose educations had been interrupted for whatever reasons--health, children, poverty, career.

To make a long, painful story very short, she's had a shocking, nightmarish experience at Mount Holyoke, which you would expect to be a liberal, supportive environment since it's a women's college. She was led to believe everything would be in place for her arrival and that disability services there were top notch. However, it's been a nightmare. She was unable to eat in the cafeteria the first two months of school because the student workers told her she couldn't bring a dog in. Disability services told her they weren't sure what they could do, because not all student workers might understand an email saying they couldn't refuse her service. She was given a room on a third floor that her scooter wouldn't fit in, and when she complained she was told to leave her expensive piece of medical equipment in the lobby. When they finally moved her to a new dorm room, she had to go across campus to shower in her old dorm because they didn't install grab bars in her shower. She wasn't given accommodations letters for her professors for months. Etc. She learned her experience wasn't isolated, and after months of pain and frustration last semester, she and a large group of disabled students met with the dean of the college, with very unsatisfactory results.

My friend blogs about it here.
druidspell: Would you say you worship Satan, or do you simply respect his no-nonsense approach to discipline? (Satan)
[personal profile] druidspell
I'm temporarily able-bodied, although I became much more aware of accessibility issues during the winter and spring of 2007 and 2008 when I was laid out with spiral comminuted fractures of my right tibia and fibula. The fail I'm reporting is at the University of Kentucky's Slone Building, built in 1960. The Slone Building is part of the Earth Sciences department, and is used for classrooms, office space, and lab space primarily for the Earth Sciences department, but also for other departments (e.g. I took an Archaeology class in there once, my sister took a Sociology class, etc.).
The building is pictured here and here.

That's the front of the building. The fail starts here.
There are 12 disabled accessible parking spaces--located in the back of the building. The front of the building is accessible via sidewalk--that has a five and a half inch curb between it and street level. To park in the permit-controlled lot as a student, you must have a UK disabled parking permit, even if you have a state disabled license plate or tag. If you are a visitor, you must park in a non-permit controlled lot, or in a metered parking lot (the closest of either of which is more than a block away).
The front doors of the building are 28 inches wide, but the doors weren't hung properly, so they are difficult to open even for someone without mobilitiy or pain issues. They also lack any type of automatic open function, so that if you are, for instance, confined to a wheelchair with cerebral palsy like my friend H., you must wait for outside assistance to enter or exit the building.
The first floor of the building is only office space; the labs and classrooms are on the second and third floors. To reach the elevator, follow the corridor to the left until you reach a set of double doors. Again, these double doors aren't automatic, and are awkward to manage if you're also managing any type of device intented for mobility assistance (wheelchair, cane, crutches, etc.).
The elevator doors are narrow and the elevator itself is small; it was intended as a service elevator, not one to be used by students. The buttons for the upper floors may be out of reach for someone in a wheelchair. It's not prompt, so that if you're using crutches or a cane, you'll be on your feet waiting for a good minute and a half or more--not much time in the grand scheme of things, but if you're exhausted and in pain even nanoseconds drag.
In addition to putting the classrooms and labs on the second and third floors, the building features only one accessible bathroom: the men's room on the first floor. There is no women's bathroom on the first floor. No other bathrooms are designed for disabled access.


accessibility_fail: Universal "person in wheelchair" symbol, with wheelchair user holding a cutlass (Default)
You Fail At Accessibility

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