University helps disabled students, but some buildings remain inaccessible
Students can be seen walking around campus, from Monday to Sunday, from McQuaid Hall to Jubilee Hall and while some are heading to classes, others are walking to attend extracurricular activities or heading out to dine at South Orange Village.
With this many students coming in and out of campus and moving from building to building, one question comes to mind: how accessible is Seton Hall University?
Maneuvering through campus can be a tough process for some students and especially for students with disabilities.
Beginning at the campus gates, students are required to use their student IDs to unlock the gates in order to enter the campus. When students forget to bring their student IDs, the only other option is to walk in from the front or back gate.
Walking from the back gate to the front gate takes about ten minutes. So always remember to bring your IDs.
Once inside the campus, there lies several more problems, one of which is the buildings and its stairs.
Although most of the buildings on campus have an elevator, there are still some, like Mooney Hall that lack this convenience. A building that lacks an elevator can be extremely inconvenient for students with disabilities as walking up narrow stairs can be a hassle.
“Buildings on campus that lack an elevator are the one’s that are built before the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Angela Millman, director of the disability support center.
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability.
The act affords protections against discrimination to Americans with disabilities and thus, all the buildings that are built after this act are considered illegal when lacking an elevator, according to the United States Department of Justice Civil Right Division website.
Millman said that while some buildings on campus do not have an elevator, the University is working to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities. Some faculty members who are working at Freshmen Studies will meet students outside of Mooney Hall to talk, arrange classes or to answer questions.
They are willing to meet anywhere that is convenient for students with disabilities, from the library to the cafeteria. Even for students who experience a short-term injury like breaking a leg, instructors who work in buildings without an elevator, should be willing to meet outside of the building.
Apart from going back and forth to classes, going to the library to study or going to the University Center to eat or hang out with friends, the gym is also a place that many students visit as part of their routine.
Millman said that students with disabilities also make use of the Richie Regan Recreation Center.
Matthew Geibel, director of academic support services, said that the Richie Regan Recreation Center is equipped with elevators that would give students with disabilities easy access to all the floors in the Recreation Center.
“Students with disabilities who wish to obtain assistance in preparing for emergencies should contact the office of Disability Support Services (DSS). In collaboration with the Department of Public Safety, individual emergency preparedness plans can be created for students with functional limitations related to their disability,” Millman added.
“Seton Hall University is committed to providing an accessible, welcoming, and safe environment for students,” she added.
Apart from accessibility, SHU also provides in-class aids for students with disabilities. Every class syllabus contains a section for the disability service act which allows students with disabilities to meet with the Disability Support Service and come up with an accommodation plan.
“It is important that faculty include in each syllabus a statement asking students to inform them of any special needs to ensure that those needs are met in a timely manner,” Millman said.
Millman said the plan requires the Disability Support Service to work with the Registrar’s office to make sure that students with physical disabilities have all of their courses located in accessible buildings. She added that if a student needs to access any other service that is not located in an accessible location, they need to notify the office of their needs, and the office will make arrangements to meet with them at an alternative location.
Yilin Du can be reached at yilin. firstname.lastname@example.org.