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Editor’s Column: CCSU Does Not Offer Enough Accessibility To Students With Disabilities

by Angela Fortuna

It has been a hard couple of weeks on crutches for me here at Central Connecticut State University. Being unable to walk on my own has been difficult and it is something that is not new to me.

Since 2015, I have had issues with my knee, causing unbearable pain at times. I had originally tore my Anterior Cruciate Ligament in a cheerleading accident, which prompted me to need surgery. With the surgery came a long recovery time and lots of physical therapy. This incident happened back in high school and, even then, it was difficult to get to my classes and focus without struggling to keep up.

Now I know that my experience is nothing compared to what others at CCSU face. Hhowever, the experience has still led me to realize the issues Central has in providing assistance to those who struggle to get from one place to the other.

A little over two weeks ago, I hurt my knee once again while walking to classes. I went to Health Services on campus to see what I had done to hurt my knee and to see what kind of resources the university provided for students who are injured. After discovering there really was nothing they can do, they wrapped up my knee in an ace bandage, lent me some crutches and sent me on my way.

Living on campus in James Hall, it can be really hard to walk far distances across campus every day; it took me just shy of 20 minutes to walk to the library, which is normally an easy seven-minute walk, give or take.

Once I contacted Disability Services for assistance, they said the only option was to obtain a temporary six-week Medical Pass, which enables one to park in any parking lot on campus, including faculty lots. This parking pass is helpful, but what about people who are injured and unable to drive? What type of assistance does Central offer them? The answer is nothing.

The only other option Central recommends to injured or disabled students is to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to obtain a handicap parking pass; it’s always a hassle going to the DMV for anything, let alone while injured.

Other universities in the area offer injured students and students with disabilities rides across campus through university personnel. My cousin goes to Post University in Waterbury, Connecticut and has injured her foot recently, making it impossible to walk to and from her classes. The university employs personnel to provide aid to students in need, such as driving golf carts around campus to provide rides to injured students. By calling a phone number to ask for a ride, injured and disabled students would have a resource to make the long walk to and from classes that much easier.

CCSU Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Richard Bachoo believes that the university should be offering students more assistance through other services, such as that of Post University. That is why he plans to work on providing injured and/or disabled students with additional services.

Walking to and from classes and additional activities can be very difficult, and not many realize the struggles one goes through on a daily basis unless they’ve been in the same situation at some point in their life.

Next time you see a person struggling on crutches or in a wheelchair, the best thing to do is to offer help. Whether it be holding the door open, offering to carry one’s belongings, etc.; it really makes a difference. Any act of kindness goes a long way, especially to those who really need it.