Handicapped-accessibility problems remain

By Michael Berg

Many departments at NIU have already addressed a recent memo from NIU President John La Tourette on handicapped accessibility, but a few problems remain.

A recent La Tourette memo to college deans and department for classes before we know what students signed up for that class,” Miller said. “If a disabled person signs up for a class scheduled on the third floor, he or she may not be able to take the class that semester.”

“We do everything in our power, but that power has limits,” Miller added.

Linn Sorge, coordinator for Services for Students with Disabilities, said classes have been “flip-flopped between the second and third floor of Reavis” when the need arises.

Jack Arends Hall is definitely accessible, said art office supervisor Norma Zopp. The building has elevators, the restrooms are all handicapped-accessible, and the lecture hall has special platforms for wheelchair access, Zopp said.

A spokesman for the sociology department said most of its classes are located in DuSable Hall. DuSable has wide hallways, an elevator, a ramp on the building’s south side, and handicapped parking around the building.

Problems still remain. There are no MacIntosh computers for the visually impaired, which blocks access for disabled students to some English computer classes.

“In special circumstances Services for Students with Disabilities is the place to go to get special services and equipment,” Miller said. “I am surprised we should even own special equipment because I thought it was loaned from Services for Students with Disabilities.”

“We can’t loan out computers to every disabled student on campus,” Sorge said.

The computer purchase has been approved, but is on hold due to the spending freeze, said Gary Gresholdt, assistant vice president for Student Affairs.

“The department is buying labs for (able-bodied people), shouldn’t a classmate who’s blind have a computer too?” she added.

Gresholdt said La Tourette expects attention to be given to accessibility whenever a new lab is built. “Whenever new equipment for existing labs is purchased, attention is to be given to make that lab accessible also,” he said.