Accessibility for Disabled Students on Campus
The disabled should be given every opportunity to lead normal lives, just like everyone else. But even though it is necessary for many disabled people to have accessible facilities, there are still many facilities that are not accessible to the disabled. Even if some disability-friendly installations were put in place, many facilities still wouldn’t be accessible. All public facilities, including university facilities used by university students, should be available to all students to come and use freely without any inconvenience.
There are currently 32 students with disabilities at Changwon National University. Therefore, in addition to basic facilities such as toilets and parking spots for the disabled, the school also installed Braille blocks, Braille guide signs, and other facilities for the convenience of disabled students. The Department of Facilities said that all university departments are legally obligated to have toilets, elevators, and parking spots available for students with disabilities, even if the number of disabled students is not as high as expected.
In the case of new buildings such as the Central Library and the Bonglim building at Changwon University, elevator buttons for the disabled are available. Disable-friendly toilets are also available on each floor. Unfortunately, the situation in other buildings is quite different. In the Department of Business, there is an elevator but no toilets for the disabled on any floor. Moreover, the Department of Humanities has an elevator and also a toilet for disabled students. But the toilet space cannot accommodate wheelchairs. Also, there is only one parking spot for the disabled.
To better understand the problems faced by disabled students on campus, it is necessary to talk to the disabled students themselves. Here is an interview with one such student.
Q. Are you satisfied with the accessibility of the facilities on campus?
First of all, there are only a few places I go to on campus. The main places I visit are the humanities building, the Central Library, the management building, the social sciences building, and the new headquarters. The usual facilities I use for the disabled are the ramps at building entrances and disabled toilets. But I've never been "comfortable" using them.
Q. Which facilities or situations are difficult to deal with?
Actually, I don't even know exactly what kind of facilities are available in the school other than the restrooms, ramps, and the parking spots that I use as a wheelchair user, but I think these facilities are very scarce.
Firstly, I would like to talk about toilets. In the case of the humanities building, there is no separate restroom for the disabled, but there is a stall for the disabled in the general bathroom. As a wheelchair user, this isn’t helpful. It is very uncomfortable to maneuver my wheelchair because there is not enough space. So, I would rather go to the Central Library’s restroom which is a big hassle for me. But currently, the library toilets don’t seem to be cleaned very often, so I don’t use them often..
As for the ramps, I have noticed that the humanities building's ramp has a hole in it. It's probably a hole to prevent slipping, but it's incredibly deep. When I try to use the ramps, the wheelchair wobbles too much and it gives me a headache. Also, the ramps of the new headquarters building is directly adjacent to the stairway leading down to the underground parking lot without any safety devices. This could cause a serious accident. Besides, if the entrance door is opened outward, it's impossible to get through to the passage.
In addition, non-disabled people can usually go straight to the stairs, but people with disabilities often have to go around because there are no ramps provided. There have been many people who could not get to the ramps because of parked cars blocking the ramp.
There is also a shortage of disabled parking spaces. “There is only one handicapped parking spot in the parking lot, so I have to inevitably park in regular parking spots, or I have to park in an awkward place”.
The facilities for the disabled that are currently available seem to be sorely lacking. Although the school intends to expand and improve facilities for disabled students, the school should actively try and develop more necessary welfare facilities by communicating with disabled students and to ensure equal access to all of the students at CWNU.
By Lee Jae-seon, cub reporter
By Lee Jae-seon, cub-reporter email@example.com
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