Accessibility at Aquinas

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Story by Reporter Julia Williams

How accessible is Aquinas College for those with limited mobility?

I recently asked myself this question, and I initially thought it was well designed, remembering the many different parking lots with specific spots and ramps on curbs allowing anyone with difficulty walking to have easier access to the sidewalks and buildings. I also thought of the accessible bathrooms and the handrails on stairways.  

But as I thought more about it, I realized that someone in a wheelchair or on crutches would face additional challenges in certain areas on campus. 

For example, most buildings have elevators. This seems very accessible, except the elevator in the science building, Albertus Magnus Hall, has a broken communication system and no cell service within the elevator. If this elevator broke down with someone in it, there would be no way to call for help. That affects anyone using the elevator, limited mobility or not. 

The steep hills are concerning, too. Hruby hill is far too steep for anyone in a wheelchair to access alone. This hill is simply unsafe in the winter for everyone. I’ve seen people fall down it quite a few times. This isn’t the only hill that causes challenges. There is also the hill by the apartments, which even with handrails, causes issues when walking. Cling to the handrail all you want, but in the end, you’re better off going around this path in the winter.

Overall, I believe Aquinas has done a pretty good job of making its campus accessible, with the exceptions mentioned above. Aquinas could make its campus even more suitable by fixing the communication in elevators and making the hills around campus more accessible.