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THE ITHACAN

The Student News Site of Ithaca College

THE ITHACAN

The Student News Site of Ithaca College

THE ITHACAN

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Editorial: Creating and maintaining accessibility resources on campus is essential

Editorial%3A+Creating+and+maintaining+accessibility+resources+on+campus+is+essential
Illustration by Ananya Gambhiraopet

Creating a safe, accessible campus for all Ithaca College students is not just important but absolutely essential. No student should have to skip class or avoid going to a certain dining hall or building because accessible pathways do not exist or do not function. 

Accessibility should be a priority on every campus, but at a college that is situated on an extremely large hill and experiences harsh and treacherous winters, this becomes even more paramount. Students with accessibility needs should have functional, enclosed walkways, entrances and elevators on every part of campus. These amenities should not be hidden around the backs or sides of buildings so that they appear to be afterthoughts. They should be clearly prioritized and marked for every student who needs them.

Currently, the college is planning to install an elevator in the Terraces dining hall and Terrace 1 residence hall as part of a broader accessibility update. This is an important change that will increase access to upper campus and to the Terraces dining hall. After its installation, the college must prioritize maintaining this elevator and repairing it as soon as possible should it become nonfunctional. In October of this year, the Baker Walkway elevator broke down from Oct. 19 to Oct. 28, leaving students unable to travel from lower campus to upper campus where they may eat or even live for nine days. This is an unreasonably long time and with the installation of new elevators, these kinds of delays in repairs must be avoided. By no means should students have to skip meals because they cannot access the only open dining hall or skip classes because the route is not accessible. 

Just under 20% of undergraduate students in the U.S. have some form of disability compared to 12% of graduate students. This change is because students with disabilities are less likely to complete a Bachelor’s degree compared to their able-bodied peers. As much as ⅕ of the student population at the college may fall into this category and this number does not include people who may be temporarily disabled because of illness or injury; they are not an afterthought but a priority. It is essential that the college support these students and not be part of perpetuating inaccessibility and discrimination.

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