Students with disabilities face difficulties crossing snowy campus

Colin McIntire, a junior computer science major, passes Bracken Library in the snow. McIntire said he had trouble crossing McKinley Avenue, but doesn
Colin McIntire, a junior computer science major, passes Bracken Library in the snow. McIntire said he had trouble crossing McKinley Avenue, but doesn

• Ice and snow makes getting across campus hard for students with disabilities
• Alliance for Disability member thinks Ball State could do more to clean walkways
• University said busing service works to help students get around

Ball State has been working to make the campus safe for students looking to start the semester, but Alliance for Disability Awareness member Will Kuhn still did not feel safe about getting to class today.

“I will probably skip class, just because of how cold it is and just walking outside … I’d probably freeze to death right there,” he said. “I’m not going to risk my life to go outside when it’s negative 43 out.”

Snow makes campus difficult to navigate, especially for those with mobility disabilities.

“I looked outside [Tuesday] and saw that Ball State really needs to do a lot of work to make sure everything is square away,” Kuhn said. “[A few friends] said it would be in my best interest to probably just stay inside because it’s really difficult for me to get around.”

Students in wheelchairs face potentially getting stuck or slipping on icy ramps if they haven’t been properly salted.

Kevin Kenyon, associate vice president of facilities, said the first priority of snow crews is always to make sure ramps are cleared so that people in wheelchairs can access buildings.

Still, Kuhn said the university could do a better job.

“I know a couple of my friends got stuck on those a couple years ago,” he said. “Just a small, little ramp can do wonders for us to get over stuff. And sometimes, they’re very icy, and it’s very hard to move.”

To help students, Ball State offers a shuttle for students with disabilities.

Tony Proudfoot, a university spokesperson, said most, if not all, students with mobility disabilities are in residence halls that have food services they can access, so getting food Monday and Tuesday wouldn’t be a safety concern.

“Like all other students, there’s really no reason to be outside,” he said Monday. “The idea here is classes are canceled and folks should stay inside and stay warm, especially if they live in a residence hall and have food prepared for them.”

Since there were no classes Monday and Tuesday, Colin McIntire didn’t need the shuttle service to get to classes. But on other snowy days this semester, he plans to use it to get around campus safely. The junior computer science major said he felt like Ball State was doing as much as the university could to get the snow cleared.

Kuhn said salting and making sure all the pathways are clear and the handicap buttons aren’t frozen would help students with disabilities greatly.

“I know some of [the buttons] a couple of years ago were frozen,” he said. “Just [check] around the campus for handicap things that not a lot of people use except for us … so we’re not sitting out there in the freezing cold.”

Kuhn said even with all that Ball State does to keep campus accessible, sometimes it was a simple, kind act of a student that kept him warm.

“Last year, I got stuck and I was sitting out in the snow and cold for 10 minutes,” he said. “It’s got its ups and downs, but there’s always a helpful hand of a student coming and saying, ‘Hey, do you need help?’ There are some really cool, awesome students that you’ll never meet again, but they help you out in a situation that they know you need help in.”


More from The Daily

This Week's Digital Issue

Loading Recent Classifieds...