For some students, going to class involves basic, fairly easy steps. They walk or drive to school or class, attempt to avoid traffic, find parking, take the elevator or stairs then get to class and sit. However, the story is different for students with disabilities or injuries.
It may take them more time to get around campus and navigate around simple things like cracks in sidewalks can impede their movement. Though Montclair State University officials have made headway in ensuring that their students with disabilities can move around comfortably, there is still room for improvement.
According to the Montclair State University website, Montclair State said they are “committed to the full inclusion of students with disabilities in all curricular activities as mandated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.”
The Disability Resource Center (DRC), is supposed to provide assistance and accommodations for students with different disabilities. However, the university website gives only a one-word bullet of providing housing accommodations, without listing the kind of accommodations they provide. What is more concerning is how the DRC does not mention providing on-campus accommodations as part of their services.
It may take some careful inspection to realize that certain buildings do not provide on-campus accessibility. For example, there are no ramps for wheelchair bound students in buildings like the School of Business and University Hall. The School of Communication and Media does not have a handicap push-plate button.
This concerns many students who rely on these kinds of accommodations. They have previously voiced that their needs are not being met, and though Montclair State officials have made moves like fixing the sidewalk near Blanton, students still question whether enough is being done.
It is important for all students to feel they are included at Montclair State. Anything that will hinder their achievements and access to campus resources is an issue that needs to be addressed.
None of this is to say that Montclair State does not care for its students or imply that no changes will be made. Construction is still ongoing and there are opportunities for them to consider future designs. The fact that the newer school lacks some important accessibility accommodations is just a foresight and might be simple human error.
Whether more ramps get added or the potholes on campus are fixed, students should keep their eye out for handicap accessibility changes. The problem of one student is the problem of all students. They have the power to advocate for one another.