The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Disability: The Inside Story


Students are always in a hurry to go somewhere, whether heading to class, enjoying a small break or heading home for the day. As students, we all rely on the campus accessibility to help us get where we need to go.

Accessibility means more than just fulfilling the physical need, such as adding a ramp at an entry point where stairs exists. It looks at how programs, services, classes and activities are delivered, and constructed as a whole. For students who are disabled, the City College campus can prove to be a real nightmare if a handicap door button should malfunction, or if an elevator is down for repairs, leaving them stranded, or not being able to make it to class.

For the fall semester there are 1,200 students on campus who have a disability and use the Disability Resource Center’s services, according to DSPS coordinator and counselor Dr. Gwyneth Tracy. Tracy states that even though City College is compliant with the Americans with Disability Act door regulations, the ADA does not address the reality of situations for some students who have no upper body strength, and therefore, are unable to get inside a building if it does not have an accessible door button or an elevator.

Tracy said that she has had students confront her in the past with that similar problem at the Proctoring Center, before a handicap door button was installed. Students had to leave the door wide open because students were so upset that they could not push the door to get in.

City College Director of Operations Greg Hayman said there are roughly over three dozen handicap door buttons installed on campus. The Operations division does receive several complaints from students stating they cannot enter a building on campus because they are not able to push the accessible door button, but Hayman explains that with the college’s limited budget, it is not “practical” to convert all doors on campus to automatic sliders.

“I know that the students are probably not aware of who to call,” said Hayman. “The best thing they can do is find a staff member who works in the area where the door is having a problem, and let them know so we can get it fixed real quick.”

When it comes to repairing elevators, Tracy said elevators on campus have been referred for repairs 26 times in the last five years. That statistic may not seem high to a student who is living without a handicap. But for students who rely on accessible building operations to get to class, a malfunction on campus could prove to be problematic, stressful, and the difference between a pass or a fail grade.

“Sometimes, [professors] have had to move their class because the repairs have gone on for too long,” said Tracy, “but usually when students can’t get to [their] class one, or two times, because the elevator is broken, we will provide a note-taker that will share their notes. But that is not the same at all, and the instructors understand. It’s just a lack of access.”
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Hayman explained that with only two technicians on his staff for repairs, he relies on the City College staff and student community to alert Operations when an elevator has been reported broken, or when a handicap door button has malfunctioned.

“It is their responsibility as an employee of City College to keep us informed with what’s working and what’s not,” Hayman said.

Hayman also said that when a report comes in for a repair, it is immediately dispatched to the Operations maintenance technicians, who try to respond to the call as soon as possible. If a call comes in for an elevator that is reported broken or not working, it can take up to several weeks or more before the elevator is up and running again.

In some buildings, such as Lillard Hall and the Performing Arts Center, there is only one elevator available, and according to Hayman, if they go down, the students would definitely have a problem.

“Elevators are problematic because we have to call this company that services every elevator in the district,” Hayman said.

Hayman explained that elevators are complicated pieces of equipment that require extensive work to fix and repair them back to their functioning state.

“Sometimes the problems are such that it is not a quick-fix,” Hayman said.

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