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The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

Accessibility means accessible to everyone

Think about your daily routine and consider how accessible the places you go are to you. Can you comfortably and safely access a building? Are there any difficulties that limit where you can and cannot go? Now consider if your routine is still accessible to someone with a disability? Are there elevators or ramps that could be used instead of stairs? Are there automatic doors? Are there any curbs, bumps, or small spaces that might be difficult for a wheelchair to navigate? 

You may not have the answers to these questions, and that’s alright. Everyone has different access needs, and you may not fully consider what might make your usual route difficult for others. However, for people who rely on accessibility features, the accessibility of a building is often at the forefront of their minds, considering whether or not they will be able to get where they need to go safely and comfortably. 

This is a daily struggle in my life and the lives of many other disabled people. Considering how to get places and how to cause the least strain is a regular part of our routine. For people like me who have mobility issues that change, what may have felt accessibility one day may not be the next, and my route may have to change based on that. It’s a constant evaluation of my needs, and what the best way to get to my destination is. 

It helps to know the campus, as I know how to get to my classes safely and how to access buildings. For example, I know that in order to avoid the stairs around McSpedon Hall, I should use the accessible door by the parking lot, or I can use the elevator in the Hynes Center to avoid the hill to the business school. This helps me best plan my route to class and even though it may take a bit longer, it helps me to minimize pain and get to my classes without problem.

However, that doesn’t mean everything is fully accessible to everyone. Other people have different considerations than me. Some people have to consider whether a wheelchair can fit into a certain doorway or if the paths and halls are blocked. Others may need to think about if there are dangers to a service dog that could make a space unsafe for them. The individual access needs of different people also need to be considered when looking at accessibility. 

We need to consider all the different access needs when seeing if our campus is accessible. Some of the older buildings on campus don’t have elevators, making it difficult to access the upper floors. Many exterior doors aren’t automatic, and some of the ones that are broken. Parking is difficult to find and is often far. These are issues that many people don’t even think about as they are going about their daily lives, but it makes access difficult to disabled people.

While we are considering accessibility, we need to consider everyone’s different needs, and how we can make campus accessible for everyone. 

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Parker Hankla, Staff Writer

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