Anyone that has gone to Ade Dining Hall in recent weeks has likely seen a change on the second floor. During Midterm Break, John Dietrich, the director of Dining Services moved forward with a plan to make Ade more accessible to disabled students.
Prior to the installation of FOB-access handicap buttons, he got into correspondence with me about accessibility.
The conversation started regarding the elevator within Ade, President Zupan had stated that there was, in fact, one that disabled students could use. However, in talking with John Dietrich it’s clear that the elevator would not be suitable for this use.
In the past, Dietrich has helped students get to the top level of Ade via the freight elevator, but he’s expressed that it’s not a viable solution unless for special circumstances. With its heavy doors he said that it would be “Very difficult, especially if somebody’s in a wheelchair and they’re by themselves. You know, it’s our freight elevator.”
Instead, John Dietrich was more than willing to share a different plan to help make Ade accessible. Students who were on campus last year are aware that the top-floor doors were supposed to only be used as exits, due to COVID restrictions. This year, Dietrich says that they worked with a locksmith to make the handicap buttons FOB-compatible.
The plan is to get a list of students who have disability accommodations and to implement FOB access to the Ade doors. Once inside, students would write down their account number and name so that Dining Services would be able to properly credit their account. Students would be able to both enter and exit from those doors, as long as they have their FOB.
There are still details needing to be ironed out, and Dietrich was the first to acknowledge this. Even stating that the FOB list would be better coming from other officials, rather than him alone. As of now, it is encouraged for students to contact the Center for Academic Success regarding eligibility.
This is a large step being taken to improve access to disabled students, and while it would be easy to criticize why it hadn’t already been implemented, the fact of the matter is that it’s there now—ready to be used by students who have gotten permission from CAS.
By: Sam Sage