Unauthorized elevator use is making disabled students frustrated and late to class.
By Katherine Garcia
Overcrowding of elevators is causing disabled students to be late to class, a student anonymously reported to Peer Educators.
Despite arriving 15-20 minutes early to escort disabled students to class, the elevators are packed with apparently able-bodied students, said Mariana Solis, education sophomore and a member of Peer Educators.
“You would think they would have the common courtesy to let a pregnant woman take their spot on the elevator,” she said.
Melodee Magallanez, social work sophomore and Peer Educator said the elevators would function better if they were not being used constantly. “It’s not only rude, but it makes you feel bad,” she said.
Magallanez has been blind for six years. “I’m not reminded I can’t see until it’s pointed out.”
Jesus Interiano, music business freshman and Peer Educator, said toward the end of the semester, more people are using the elevator to get to the remodeled student learning assistance center on the seventh floor of Moody Learning Center, which is “making it worse for everybody.”
Terrence Jones, disability support services technical assistant, said students may be flocking to the elevators because the stairway signs are not clearly marked. Still, the elevator has a sign stating it is only to be used by faculty, staff and disabled people. “I don’t blame the students as a DSS employee, but I’m very concerned about our students basically having access to this office,” Jones said.
Interiano said the automatic accessible doors will sometimes not open or they close before the students enters the elevator. “If it really should be accommodating, at least make sure it’s functioning properly.”
A bigger problem may be the location of DDS on the first level of Moody. Disabled students can enter Moody through ramps to the second floor on the east and north sides or via a ramp to the lower level on the south side. Using the ramps to the second floor requires use of an elevator to reach the basement. Two elevators next to the stairs work, but the one at the west entrance does not.
Six months after DSS moved to the counseling complex, students still cannot find the office, Jones said. Improvements were made, such as the automatic doors, but Jones said the basement lab in Room 147 has no automatic door and narrow aisles, making maneuvering in a wheelchair difficult.
He said a concrete wall prevents improvements, such as expanding the walkway to increase wheelchair access.
Jones said the concrete wall in the lab is a mistake because moving around with a wheel chair is difficult with the wall.
Jones said during construction, no one from DSS was asked for recommendations for improvements to make the lab more accessible for students with disability.
He said he does not blame the students for using the elevators but blames the construction because these problems can be prevented.
“We as human beings, we help,” Jones said.