Small minded

Minorities of NIU, including the physically disabled, should be happy to know that our institution is not being run by the small-minded editorial board at The Northern Star. A recent Star editorial, which attempted to lull readers into falsely assuming that NIU would have to shun its doors if the disabled were given access to those doors, does a great disservice.

By casually dismissing the Disabilities Act of 1990 as an effort toward a “shiny, happy utopia where everyone held hands and danced and sung (sic)”, the editorial board demonstrates an unwillingness to actually probe into the serious issues confronting the disabled and this university.

The Northern Star editorial board has apparently forgotten the following important points:

‘In the United States of America, all citizens have the same rights, regardless of race, color, age, religion or physical abilities.

‘The rights of the majority are never more important than the rights of the minority.

‘The mission of higher education is not to teach only able-bodied individuals.

Certainly, The Northern Star editorial board would agree that the rights granted to the citizens of our country apply to all citizens, not just the fortunate majority who are not disabled. Certainly the editorial board would agree that one of our rights is the right to pursue an education. How, then, can the board suggest that handicapped students “tighten their belts like the rest of the campus” when it is really asking the handicapped not to pursue an education at this university? “Handicapped students,” if the editorial board had its way, would become an oxymoron.

I wish each member of the editorial board would imagine what life would bring if tomorrow each was suddenly disabled and confined to a wheelchair. Could you complete your degree? Could you complete the semester? Could you even attend another class? Again, there’s no question about your right to pursue an education. Instead, you might ask why you should be discriminated against simply because the founders and planners of the university were too shortsighted to account for all students.

While making our campus accessible will cost money NIU may be too strapped to spend, it’s reassuring to know that the Disabilities Act of 1990 was even enacted. Had it not been for this act, the handicapped citizens of our country would continue to face more than their share of obstacles. It’s just a shame that the supposedly-enlighted-but-actually-quite-closed-minds at The Northern Star are the ones who continue to try to put those obstacles up.

Kathy Livernois


Business Management