IWU handicap inaccessible

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Casey Williams, Columnist

 

Something has always bothered me about the setup of the Illinois Wesleyan campus. Aesthetically, it is beautiful. The mix of old and new buildings leaves the campus with a historic and classic feel. Though classic is wonderful for movies, it ignores today’s problems.

Just last week, an injured resident from my building needed crutches to get around. I couldn’t help but think that if that person was on any floor other than the first, getting in and out of the building would be incredibly difficult for them.

There are no elevators in Dodds hall, nor are there easily accessible doors. In fact, only three out of the total eight residential halls on campus have elevators or swipe-to-enter access.

Luckily, it seems that this small school has few handicapped students. Lucky, that is, that there aren’t so many people on this campus who are unable to access much of it. As an abled-bodied individual, I have the fortune to not need all of the things that would make less fortunate people’s lives easier.

I do have the tiniest insight as to what it’s like to be inconvenienced by a sudden lack of mobility. During the summer after my junior year of high school, I scheduled a visit to tour St. Louis’ Washington University. The day before my visit, I injured my ankle to the point that I could not walk.

While not a huge campus, Wash. U. is still home to about 12,000 students, and is sized as such. Suffice to say, my mother and I were worried that we would not be able to make the tour. Taking initiative, my mother called and was able to make arrangements for me to tour despite my injury.

Upon arrival, we entered in a special entrance to accommodate my crutches. Once inside, to make movement easier they let me use a wheel chair they had for emergency’s sake. Wash. U’s campus is beautiful, paved with cobblestone paths all over campus that add to its aesthetic charm. Beautiful but horribly uncomfortable, the cobblestone under my chair felt rickety and was terrible for my concentration. While I appreciate how administrators at Wash. U. were able to make accommodations for me, I feel that because of the situation I was less able to enjoy my visit.

My ankle healed after a few short weeks, but this visit opened my eyes to how difficult it can be for those who have to deal with inaccessibility on a daily basis.

My visit to Washington University gave me a firsthand experience with limited mobility on a college campus. Now, I hope to see conditions for the handicapped made better everywhere I go, and particularly at a school that I have so much pride in attending.