Students with disabilities receive accommodations in snowy weather

<p>Ball State&nbsp;provides a door-to-door shuttle service for those with disabilities on campus.&nbsp;<em>DN FILE PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY</em></p>

Ball State provides a door-to-door shuttle service for those with disabilities on campus. DN FILE PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY

There are around 750 students that use some sort of service provided by Disability Services, director Larry Markle said. 

With falling snow and frigid cold temperatures, most students are dreading their walk to class. 

Although heavy snow may impact students in wheelchairs from getting to class, Lizzie Ford, a sophomore psychology major, said the university continues to do well in keeping sidewalks clear.

“Even though it hasn’t stopped snowing, I haven’t had any problems with getting from class to class,” Ford said. 

Ford has cerebral palsy and is a wheelchair user.

“Ball State is really good about keeping the sidewalks and roads cleared for student and providing transportation to some who might need it with disabilities,” Ford said. “Some of my friends that are also in chairs take advantage of the transportation services and use the special shuttles offered.”

Larry Markle, director of Disability Services, said the university provides a door-to-door shuttle transportation for those with disabilities on campus. There are around 750 students who use those services, many of whom have physical disabilities. 

“If a student needs this service, all they have to do is contact transportation, then our office determines who is eligible to ride," Markle said. "From there, the shuttle will come and take them wherever they need to go.”

Markle also said students who currently have disabilities that are not permanent can also benefit from the shuttle services.

“There are a lot of students who might not have a permanent disability — like they break an ankle, break a leg, etc. — and have a difficult time getting around because they are on crutches,” Markle said. “We are a very user-friendly office, so students just have to touch base, and then we can certainly provide accommodations to them as well.”

Markle said a lot of students have already taken advantage of the service this winter.

Preston Radtke, a senior public relations major who is visually impaired with cone-rod dystrophy disorder, said the snow covering the sidewalks does make things more difficult. 

"I generally think BSU does a good job shoveling the sidewalks,” Radtke said. “I guess my only complaints are that they don't shovel inner-block sidewalks as well as street-adjacent sidewalks.”

He said the university could be doing more in the areas of sidewalks that go through blocks and are not next to the street, like the ones around the Woodworth Complex, DeHority Complex and Park Hall.

Radtke also said there has been a lot of black ice on the sidewalks in the past. 

“Not so much this year because of the summer-esque winter, but last year, for instance, the sidewalks in front of the Whitinger ... Building were pretty much un-walkable because of the high amount of black ice,” Radkte said. “I don't honestly know what BSU could do to get rid of the black ice, but I feel like they could do something.”

Until the snowfall becomes harsher and campus begins to freeze over, Ford said getting around is not difficult, but she encourages those who might need the help to ask.

“To those with disabilities, don’t be afraid to ask for help if something does happen,” Ford said. “So many people are willing to help out."

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