By: Alyson Jurgovan
One of the many things members of the Roosevelt community pride themselves on is the element of diversity that the institution offers.
Part of being diverse is being inclusive and understanding of those needs that certain students may have. However, when thinking about diversity, it seems we have left a crucial portion of our community unseen: people living with disabilities.
Zaahid McClellon, a junior, noticed some of the accessibility problems around campus.
“I myself wish it was a little quicker to get to the other side of the building, even when taking elevators…I think we can add a few automatic door openers to be able to help people who have wheelchairs,” McClellon said.
Many areas on campus lack accessibility for students who use wheelchairs. The bathroom doorways in the auditorium building are narrow and have a single step to get over to even enter the bathroom. Given that the historical building once operated as a hotel, it is understandable that the structure would be this way. However, this does not currently accommodate the students who rely on the building as their space.
Another aspect of the problem of accessibility on campus is that it is primarily thought of as only physical, but there are many Roosevelt students who have disabilities that aren’t immediately visible or visible at all.
Jazmine Terrell, a senior, has hearing loss and learns best visually. While her disability doesn’t affect her physical space necessarily, she does need accommodation in her classes.
Certain styles of teaching are not beneficial for Terrell, like lecturing without a visual aid, for example. This is an issue she has come across more than once.
“It’s irritating when you’re trying to do things and you’re pretty much left out because you’re not getting the help you need,” Terrell said.
Some of the learning styles needing to be considered are things like the speed at which a professor is moving through the information, the use of a power point and following the timeline given on the syllabus.
Danielle Smith, assistant director of the Academic Success Center, implemented the disability ally training which trains faculty on how to work with students with disabilities so that students can be accommodated. The training is an exercise in diversity and inclusion that challenges the way people often think about disabilities.
“It’s okay to talk about it. Just like it’s okay to talk about your different religious views and your different political views. That’s the best part about Roosevelt. We’re so open and diverse, but we can’t forget that disability is a facet of that diversity,” Smith said.
For Irma Gomez, a sophomore, a little bit goes a long way.
“If you see someone, just be polite, and help,” Gomez said.