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Physically disabled find campus hard to easily access

There is no way for a person with a mobile disability to easily access the second floor of Potter Hall.

Walking through Potter Hall, there are no elevators in the building. There are stairs in the middle of the building and another set of stairs at the end of the building. Yet there are no elevators, escalators, or even wheel chair lifts.

“When I first came to TJC, my class was on the second floor, and I went two weeks without going to class,” Felisa Young, a disabled TJC student, said.

According to the TJC’s Faculty Handbook for Educational Accessibility for Students with Disability it states, “TJC is committed to providing students with disabilities equal access to its facilities, activities and programs. Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) require that public colleges and universities provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities.”

It also states, “Colleges and universities are not required by either Section 504 or the ADA to lower their academic standards or substantially alter the essential elements of their courses or programs to accommodate students with disabilities. The requirement for providing reasonable accommodations is designed to give an equal opportunity to students with disabilities. Accommodations, in and of themselves, are not a guarantee of success. It is the intent that the provision of reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities will be a shared responsibility among students, faculty, staff and the administration.”

Margaret Rapp, ADA Coordinator, said Potter Hall, built in 1963, did not have to comply with the ADA regulations since it was built before the regulations came into place. Therefore, Potter Hall is exempt from having to incorporate accessibility to the second floor. According to Rapp, when there is a student who has a class on the second floor, the entire class will be moved to the first floor.

Inside The Vaughn Library there is a chair lift designed for students with a disability to access the second floor. However, some handicap students are uneasy about the lift due to the lack of space & tedious operation system. The Vaughn Library, constructed in 1967, is also exempt from ADA regulations.

Susanne Moore, part-time library assistant, said that students with larger wheelchairs tend to have issues with the chair lift and that a student would have to go through series of steps just to access the chair lift.

“We really need a new chair lift system,” said Susanne Moore, part-time librarian assistant.

“I took one look at the chair lift and said, ‘I’ll pass,'” Young said.

Vaughn Library has a central desk where students with a disability can get help with getting to the second floor.

“Whatever we lack inside the library we make up in service,” said Marian D. Jackson, Library Director.

Young said that anytime she has a complaint, support services in Roger Student Center will fix it.

There is also a chair lift in Jenkins Hall for disabled students to access the lower floors. However, Young said that it seems to never be on.

According to Jackson the new administration is aware of what needs to be done on campus. She said they even addressed her concerning ADA issues for the first time in 17 years.

Students who need to access support concerning their disability or needing ADA information can contact Support Services located on the second floor of Rogers Student Center.

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