Access Denied?

A student tests disabled accessibility

Matthew Gerring | Staff Writer
gerring@imail.losrios.com

Sure, City College is extremely accessible to wheelchair users, and people who aren’t able to climb stairs in general. But is it accessible to everyone on wheels?

My research says yes.

City College has gone a long way toward building accessibility for the disabled into the campus—there appears to be no classroom you can’t access if you use a wheelchair.

City College also offers a wide array of services for other disabled students, including students with learning disabilities. The Disability Resource Center will convert whole textbooks into Braille for you. And we have an active community of American Sign Language users. Even our Web sites are fully accessible to people with disabilities.

But it’s the law. Four different statutes require City College to provide every service it offers to every person that asks for it, regardless of physical, mental or learning disability. And that only covers disabilities—we have all kinds of laws barring discrimination in a number of other areas as well.

In California, egalitarianism is the law, so it’s no surprise that City College sticks so close to it. But we must never rest on our laurels—in my opinion, we have a responsibility to take concepts to their logical extremes.

With this in mind, I wanted to find out if the accessibility features at City College were truly accessible to everyone who might want to use them. I figured that if other individuals that use wheels to get around could use the ramps, automatic doors, and elevators, then nothing ought to stop me from using those things, if I was also on wheels.

In the case of the disabled, those wheels often belong to a wheelchair, but in my case, they belonged to a bicycle. And it turns out that City College does not discriminate against the type of wheels you use, either.

I was able to ride from one end of the campus to the other, into Lillard Hall, Mohr Hall, the auditorium, the cafeteria, the Student Center, and the Business Building without any interruption. In most cases, I was able to ride a full circuit around a hallway and out the door without ever stopping, except to push a button.

It seems that City College truly lives up to its requirement to have all its features accessible to everyone, and for that, we should all be proud.