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February 10, 1984 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-02-10
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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last in a line of problems that begin with
simply getting from one place to
anothe.
On a scale of one to 10, Lena Richs,
program coordinator for the city's
Center for Independent living rates the
University's accessibility to handicap-
ped students at a low four.
"Ann Arbor is a town that goes out of
its way tosbe accessible (to han-
dicaps)," says Ricks whose, office
provides counseling and programming
for the city's disabled. "It just seems
ironic that the University is as inac-
cessible as it is."
Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
the University is required to provide
handicapped students with equal ac-
cess to all academic programs as well
as equip all new buildings with han-
dicap facilities.
Although many buildings on campus
have been made accessible, there are
still many that pose a problem.
"The accessibility of the University is
a learning process in which you learn
where you can go and where you can't
go," says Education School Prof. Matt
Trippe who has to depend on a
wheelchair.
The newly remodeled Michigan Union
has heavy fire doors on the ground floor
that are difficult for handicapped
students to open, although the building
itself meets accessibility standards.
The LSA building's front-entrance
ramp was originally built for mail carts
to roll up and down on. And handicapped
students say the slope is too steep
making it tough to climb. But it would
cost about $13,500 to repair the ramp.
Other buildings cause annoying in-
conveniences such as Rackham, which
only has a handicapped entrance
through its back door, or the Kelsey Art
Museum's sets of steps that make it
inaccessible for handicappers.

But changes are expensive, and with
funds scarce, University ad-
ministrators try to point to the positive
steps they already have made.
"(Accessibility) is one of those things
where you can't wait for people to com-
plain," said Virginia Nordby, the
University affirmative action office
director. The University is about halt
way through its "prioritized list" of
renovation projects for making campus
more accessible for handicapped
students.
"The University will take a project
out of order if we have a faculty mem-
ber or student who needs to use the
facility," Nordby adds.,
"I think there's a lot to be done here,
but a lot has been done," added Susan
McClanahan who works in the affir-
mative action office. Many buildings
are difficult to renovate because they
are extremely old, she said.
This year graduation ceremonies
which are scheduled to be held in the
Michigan Stadium will also be a
problem for both handicapped students
and their relatives, said McClanahan.
"I don't know what we're going to do
about that," she said. "It's a real
issue.''
"Sure there are problems. but I do
think the University is making an
honest effort to solve some of the
problems," says Architecture Prof. Leon
Pastalan who serves on the Univer-
sity's accessibility committee.
The committee works with Nordby's
office on accessibility problems. "The
University tries very hard to deal with
(the accessibility) issue," Pastalan
says.
Yet Trippe says it is handicapped
students' responsibility to fight for a
more accessible University. Ad-
ministrators must know that the
problems exist before they will spend
money to renovate buildings, he says.

"If needs are made known .. . then I
think the general response wouldbe one
of concern and helpfulness."
"The only way you can get something
done is this institution is to groun
together," adds Luckey who also serves
on the DSS advisory board. "Without
student participation and public
pressure, these plans will continue to lie
on the shelf."
But it is unlikely that the University's
handicapped students will band
together and demand change. The han-

students.
"I thin
tivities. I
that requ
of people
volved w
Perhap
some prc
Universi
especiall;
facilities
"We us
State," s

I think I shy away from sor
tend to shy away from those
lot of assistance from lots ofl
handic

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dicapped movement is being smothered
by apathy, says Ricks, who is confined
to a wheelchair.
"Unfortunately, I think there's a lot
of apathy. It's everywhere. We can
(only) motivate them for short periods of
time ... I don't know what the problem
is," Ricks says.j
Of the 52 students registered with the
University's DSS, only 10 or 12 actively
express their concerns, Luckey said.
Few students speak out because most
are concerned with getting an
education and securing a job so they
don't have to rely on public assistance.
Some students, like Komar, blame
the apathy on handicapped students'
reluctance to ask for help and the few
role models on campus for disabled

who recent
But if t
students
"We k]
out of th
other sti
importar
military
University
and han
make the
"Stude
portance
for brin
Trippe.
Ko vani

veC Cy
hey
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Handicapped students: Overcoming barriers.

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2 Weekend / February 10, 1984

15 W

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