Bring Down the Barriers—Seen and Unseen By Rachel Adams

by Rachel Adams

The Chronicle

A colleague in a wheelchair goes into an underground passage connecting two campus buildings. Once the entrance locks behind him, he discovers that the door at the other end refuses to open with his swipe card. Although he is a vigorous man of middle age, the maintenance worker who comes to his rescue calls him Pops.

A student with a sensory-processing disorder needs to sit in the front row of class and take notes on a laptop computer, but the professor insists that laptops may be used only in the back of the room. After the student explains her situation, he announces to the entire class that he is making a “special exception” for her.

I heard these and other stories about broken elevators, stairs without handrails, and inaccessible bathrooms at a recent panel on disability and the university that I organized on campus for students, faculty, and staff from our Office of Disability Services.

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