In Monday’s Weber State University Student Senate meeting, members discussed a resolution to an ADA regulations issue raised last school year. A student raised the concern after an incident in front of the Hurst Center and Lindquist Alumni Center.
Last year, a student traveling from campus to the Lindquist Alumni Center for an annual leadership academy was unable to get to the alumni center due to accessibility issues in front of Promontory Tower, specifically the area between the sidewalk drop-off and the alumni center driveway.
“The student was so upset, she left before the event had even started and did not attend,” said Aaron Newman, assistant director for student involvement and leadership, who also coordinated the event. “She had been to every one we had, and it’s unfortunate she didn’t attend this one.”
Since the issue was raised to the senate, they have been trying to rectify it by including administration in the discussion.
“We want to resolve it as a senate body,” said Brady Harris, the Davis campus senator helping to resolve the issue.
Don Guthrie, director of Services for Students with Disabilities, has also been included in the discussion, and has begun working with facilities management to resolve the issue after a meeting on Sept. 9.
“Don showed us a couple of options students have,” said Justin Neville, legislative vice president.
One of those proposed plans is to place signs on the walkway from campus to the Hurst Center through Promontory Tower. These signs will show the designated wheelchair accessibility pathway.
“Signs are needed for the route because it is hidden — especially because of construction . . . especially with wheelchairs,” Guthrie said.
The senate will continue to work through Guthrie to address issues like these in the future.
“Accessibility and accommodations aren’t the same thing,” Guthrie said. He explained that accessibility is the current state of something, and accommodations are what people can do to make simple changes to the current state. He said if students would come speak with him in his office, accommodations can be made.
Guthrie said he has been focused on getting the issue solved, and that he wanted to find out what the situation actually looked like. Since the issue was raised, Guthrie said he has been waiting for the particular student to contact him to talk about what happened. In determining exactly what happened, Guthrie took Newman and Neville on a tour from his office in the Student Service Center to the location of the incident. When they arrived at the location of the incident, Newman was able to better show what happened that night. In traveling from campus to the south-side buildings, Guthrie said it was clear how challenging it actually was.
“The slope of the sidewalk from housing up to the alumni center is not accessible,” he said.
The way around the accessibility issue to the Hurst Center is to travel through Promontory Tower’s basement elevator up to the main level, where people can get from the parking lot into the buildings with ADA regulations standards.
It was the input from Guthrie that ultimately led to the resolution currently under discussion. Guthrie said he strongly encourages students to address issues or concerns to the Services for Students with Disabilities to ensure proper accommodations and accessibility on campus.