Meet Kenan Tutkan and George Koutsouradis: two brothers of Theta Xi fraternity that have been working closely with the university to make the school more accessible for disabled students. The two led a tour for members of the university because of their connection to the issue.
Tutkan has cerebral palsy (CP), a condition which results in the loss or impairment of motor function from brain damage, and is in a wheelchair because of his condition. Since fall 2014 when Kenan joined Theta Xi, it has been the fraternity’s philanthropy to raise money and awareness about CP, which is why Koutsouradis wanted to help.
Koutsouradis, a Board of Trustees member, said that he has been communicating with facilities over the past couple of months. This led to him and Tutkan giving Vice President of University Facilities Shawn Connolly and Vice President of the Student Government Association James Clark a tour of the school where handicap students face issues due to the poorly accessible grounds.
“We walked around and we figured out–obviously we can’t fix everything overnight,” Koutsouradis said. “Where are the major impact points? Kenan pulled us around and he pointed out all the areas. I just helped translate and help everyone understand where he is saying it’s difficult.”
Koutsouradis said they toured the school in October and within a month most of the major problem areas have been fixed.
The university started by fixing the sidewalk area to access the handicap ramp to the second level of the Student Center. The sidewalk didn’t have an off-ramp and there was a metal gate on the sidewalk. If Tutkan rolled on it the wrong way, the wheelchair would flip because it wasn’t properly weighted.
The road between the Student Center and Red Hawk Diner is still a risk because of the cracks. Koutsouradis said the cracks in roads and sidewalks for wheelchairs are like potholes to cars. A popped tire could cost Tutkan around $100.
Other areas fixed include some of the sidewalk near Blanton Hall, an off-ramp leading to the Student Recreation Center that was practically impossible for Tutkan to use beforehand and the path leading into Dickson Hall’s main entrance. One of the areas that Tutkan and Koutsouradis said that they brought attention to that has not gotten fixed yet is an unleveled sidewalk near the Student Center and University Hall.
Tutkan said his goal was to improve areas that would have majorly impacted everyone who needs handicap access.
“I’m trying to find every spot that I can find for other people besides myself,” Tutkan said.