Alfred University is home to an eclectic population, and the faculty and staff do their best to provide support and information to students whenever they can. However, it’s worth noting how little information is provided to students prior to coming to campus—disabled students either have to contact the Center for Academic Success, the Wellness Center, or learn by themselves what makes the University “ADA-compliant.”
The purpose of this article is to give an overview of the aforementioned ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant amenities on campus. Attached to this article is a link to a printable brochure of where the buttons, ramps, elevators, and parking spots are. This is student-made, and thus isn’t the best-made, but it offers something in the meantime. It’ll be updated as more amenities are made known, or monthly, depending on how much change is implemented on campus.
Arriving to campus, student drivers and passengers must first find handicap parking spaces. The total count, not including some more out-of-the-way locations on campus, is nineteen. Only seven include designated lines for unloading wheelchairs—the other twelve are about the same size as a regular parking space. Some of these parking spaces are new, with the space behind Moskowitz Hall being added this year.
Two of the parking spaces tend to be blocked by large recycling and/or garbage bins, which are located downhill from the Stull Observatory and behind Bartlett Hall. The picture connected to this article was taken in October 2021 at the mentioned locations.
According to a faculty member, there had been more handicap spots outside Miller Center, where there now is caution tape and a new sidewalk. The spots had been removed because of the deteriorating hill, but there has yet to be substantial recreation of the handicap spots in that general area.
Once parked, entry to several buildings is aided by handicap buttons and wheelchair-friendly paths. However, some handicap buttons either are not currently working or require specialized FOB access. The Science Center, The Link, Kanakadea, and Moskowitz are home to some of the faulty buttons, with McMahon, Myers, and Perlman having buttons that may or may not work.
Many of the residence halls, as well as classroom buildings, have wheelchair-friendly entrances for disabled students, but are lacking better interior access for those same students. About fourteen elevators can be found around campus, with only two in residential buildings. While McMahon and the Science Center have fidgety access, with the former currently under construction and the latter requiring a key, all of the elevators work.
However, faculty and students have expressed discomfort in a number of elevators on campus. Powell, Miller, and Harder Hall’s elevators tend to make the list each time, with varying stories of the machines getting stuck or just seeming like they could be on their last legs. In recent days, the elevator in Powell had begun to make grating noises that got worse the more students used it, but as of November 5th, the sound has momentarily stopped.
When asked about safety inspections, Jamie Babcock, AU’s executive director of capital projects and facilities, said, “Our bi-annual elevator inspections are ongoing [during the week of October 4th.] They are performed by National Elevator Inspection Services along with Schindler, our elevator service contractor.”
Students may recall seeing Schindler vans across campus, but what is fresher in the minds of the student body is inspection certificates inside those elevators, or the lack thereof.
To quote one senior who wishes to remain anonymous, “I’ve never seen them. I don’t know how some of these elevators are working. I’ve gotten stuck in one once, and I don’t know when the next time it’s going to happen. It’s a bet every time I have to get into one.”
According to Babcock, the inspection certificates are posted in the elevator machine room and in the Facilities offices, “Although the inspection stickers are not required by code to be posted in the elevator cars, we are in the process of posting them this year,” said Babcock. It should be noted that some elevators have been given these stickers, while others remain without.
As stated at the beginning of this article, this was only meant to educate current, former, and future members of the Alfred University community. There is much to be done, but the foundation is relatively strong. Accountability and care are important motivators going into the future, so as to vastly improve the University.