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Student-led Change Expands Accessibility on Campus

by Hichem Boualdja

The School of Communication and Media (SCM) just took another step towards accessibility.

Last semester, at a roundtable meeting that included President Johnathan Koppell and student media, accessibility on campus was discussed. This led Erick Sanchez, a sophomore sports communication major, to ask about a quicker and easier way to get to his classes in the SCM building.

Photo courtesy of Erick Sanchez.

Sanchez reached out to the Disability Resource Center about the need for an assisted entry door at SCM's front entrance. Photo courtesy of Erick Sanchez.

Sanchez was informed last semester by the Disability Resource Center (DRC) that by this semester, there would be a new assisted entry door at the front entrance of the SCM building. In late April, people were seen working on installing the assisted entry door, adding a handicap push button.

Sanchez was pleased with the quick turnaround.

“DRC told me it would most likely be available for next semester,” Sanchez said. “It’s great to see the quick pace.”

Before the door and button were installed, Sanchez would have to open the door himself or someone else would help. Now its entry is smoother whenever he goes to the SCM Building.

“I could just push the button and it opens quicker for everyone,” Sanchez said. “It will make my day-to-day much easier and faster.

Media Relations Director Andrew Mees reaffirmed Montclair State University’s commitment to ensuring campus accessibility now and in the future.

“Campus accessibility will always be our priority,” Mees said. “We will continue to look at ways to enhance accessibility of our campus, respond to things brought to our attention and make necessary improvements and work to ensure it is as inclusive as possible for all community members.”

With the new assisted entry door, Sanchez feels that the campus’s commitment to accessibility is more than just words said at a meeting.

“I feel great about the new assisted entry at SCM because it shows that the university cares about their students and making it an easier environment,” Sanchez said.

When asked if there was anything else he would like to see changed to improve accessibility, he had an idea or two. Regardless, Sanchez is happy to see change happening.

“But for right now, I’m happy to see there’s change happening,” Sanchez said.

The reaction so far has been golden. Students like Kenneth Lewis, a sophomore jurisprudence, law and society major, feel the assisted entry door is a reflection of Montclair State’s efforts to be inclusive.

Kenneth Lewis feels the university is doing its part to being inclusive of all student  needs. Hichem Boualdja | The Montclarion

Kenneth Lewis feels the university is doing its part to being inclusive of all student needs. Hichem Boualdja | The Montclarion

“I feel the installation is very thoughtful of the university, and I feel like it reflects a lot of what the university stands for,” Lewis said. “It says a lot about the university and how much they care about their students.”

Elizabeth Villanueva, a senior linguistics major, thinks it’s a welcome addition to the SCM building.

“I think that the brand new door is a great attachment to the new building,” Villanueva said. “Now it’s [going to] give better access to students with [disabilities] and wheelchairs to come inside and go through without having to worry about having to get up and struggle to get the door open.”

Justin Salluce, a senior sports communication major, appreciates how fast he can get to class with the door’s push button.

Hichem Boualdja | The Montclarion

Justin Salluce uses assisted entry door to get to his classes. Hichem Boualdja | The Montclarion

“I use it all the time. It’s a nice shortcut to the School of Communication that leads right to my classes,” Salluce said. “I take the elevator up and boom I’m right there.”

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