Alexandra White – 1851 Staff
Last year on campus I was walking to my class at the Science and Technology building when I saw a handicapped student being helped down the stairs to the building by other students. While this was a very heartwarming moment, I couldn’t help but wonder why there were very few pathways for disabled students to get to their classes. Since then, I have seen this several times on campus. Students who are physically handicapped struggle to travel around campus just to get to their classes or even the dining hall.
In a community that strives to be inclusive, it seems like that hasn’t been extended to handicapped students. According to Lasell’s website, out of the 50 buildings we have on campus, nearly 40 percent of the buildings can’t be accessed by a wheelchair at any level. There need to be more handicapped walkways and dorms that can be used for all students. In many of the older dorms on campus such as the houses, McCelland and Vanwinkle there are no elevators which does not allow each floor to be handicap accessible. For many students, the college experience means living in the dorms. For handicapped students, that may not be an option.
Students in wheelchairs do have some routes that they can take to get to classes at buildings like the Science and Technology Center. Lasell’s website says that the option would be to go down Woodland Road and Grove Street, get to the intersection, and then turn into the parking lot. This doesn’t seem like a safe option for handicapped students at all. During the winter, those roads are very icy, and turning into the parking lot at the intersection is dangerous no matter what time of year it is.
I understand why handicapped walkways would be difficult to get at Lasell. The campus has large hills, and it would cost a lot of money for the school to invest in these types of walkways for students. However, having a campus that’s easily accessible for handicapped students might make those students want to choose Lasell.
Inclusivity is important everywhere, and students shouldn’t have to face issues like accessibility when they are trying to get an education. Not having options for students in wheelchairs, could make future handicapped students think that our campus isn’t welcoming for them. Lasell can’t say that we are a diverse campus when 40 percent of the campus is not accessible to physically handicapped students.