For sophomore social work major Taylor Hetrick, going to class requires the assistance of accessibility services. Born blind, Hetrick has learned to do tasks most take for granted, all without sight.
Accessibility services not only makes it possible for Hetrick to get around campus safely and efficiently, but also makes sure she has everything she needs to thrive in her classes.
Director of Disability Support Anna Meadows works closely with students who have disabilities to ensure that their needs are met.
“Anna Meadows checks up on me frequently,” Hetrick said. “Her door is always open for students.”
A benefit of being a small university is the ability to personalize a plan to each student’s individual needs.
Meadows said, “I try to be more personalized on it [support plans] to make sure all of their classrooms and all of the activities they’re in are accessible. That’s the nice thing about being a smaller campus; we can customize those things.”
In addition to personalized plans for students, administration also follows state-mandated regulations to make campus accessible for students with disabilities. This includes handicap parking in each lot as well as truncated curbs.
Elevators, automatic doors and ramps and mobility specialists are all available for students with disabilities to help them around campus.
Dave Burnip, director of campus safety, said, “Malone does everything possible to be handicap accessible year after year.”
Each year, accessibility services, campus safety and physical plant employees go over the campus in its entirety to identify issues and improve in areas where accessibility is falling short.
“The physical plant has been really good about slowly making progress over the years,” Meadows said.
As campus continues to make improvements to make it more handicap accessible, there is still work to be done.
The third floor of the barn is not accessible to students who cannot walk up a staircase due to no elevator or lift. Although this is where the counseling offices are, counselors will work with these students to find another place to meet which is handicap accessible.
In Founders Hall it is not possible for someone in a wheelchair to go from the Center for Student Success to the business office without going outside and around the building.
Meadows said that there are plans to install a lift in Founders to remedy the problem in the future.
Campus personnel work hard to make campus accessible for all students, faculty and staff. If you have a disability or handicap, including walking with crutches, contact the Accessibility Services Office so the staff can assist you.
Hannah Finley is the managing editor for The Aviso AVW.
Janelle Linder is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW.