Problems raised have no easy solution

By Brian Slupski

Many concerns were raised when a NIU commission on persons with disabilities held their first meeting Monday.

The Presidential Commission on Persons with Disabilities mainly heard problems brought up by people at the meeting.

NIU Legal Adviser George Shur said the university has taken many steps in rectifying the problems which have been brought to its attention in the last year.

The committee has done things like pressure for “TDD’s”, telephones for the hearing impaired. So far three of these have been installed at NIU.

Charles Sigwart, an NIU professor who teaches systems analysis and computer architecture, said the university was leaving the problem of computer availability for people with disabilities up to specific departments. He said many departments don’t have the money needed to make their computers more accessible.

“The money needed was not put into the budgets of the departments,” he said. “The university has to get things into the budgetary cycle.

“People at the highest levels of the university have to start planning these things,” he said. “What is really needed is a mainframe accessible network.”

Donna Joeger, a graduate student, said the Holmes Student Center and of the Huskie Bus Line were not very accessible. She said there is only one way into the student center and access throughout the center is difficult.

She said elevator use at the student center is difficult for people confined to a wheelchair due to the buttons being to high and the doors closing too fast.

Faculty members with students with disabilities in their classes are encouraged to call Services for Students with Disabilities at 753-1303.

Lin Sorge, an employee of the service, said they get many calls from faculty members and give out “tons of advice.”