The Disability Resource Office and Student Government are continuing to make NC State more accessible to wheelchair users by making more routes and door buttons on campus, according to Student Body President Emma Carter.
Carter, a fourth-year in sociology and international studies, said while NC State complies with regulations from the Americans with Disabilities Act, such as the implementation of wheelchair ramps and elevators, there is always room for improvement, and the Disability Resource Office and Student Government are planning for improvements.
Mark Newmiller, director of the Disability Resource Office, said that NC State has made vast improvements considering the age of the university.
The layout and location of NC State, like every college campus, has many physical structures that make it difficult for campus to be wholly accessible to physically disabled students, according to Newmiller. For example, the Brickyard is a challenge due to bricks that can be slippery when wet and the possibility of elevated or cracked surfaces.
“The buildings were built well before any type of [Americans with Disabilities Act] standards for accessibility compliance," Newmiller said. "With that being said, the university has come a long way in making it more accessible. We still have a long way to go, but I think the university has been very good at changing what it can.”
Newmiller said university architects do their best to make any new additions accessible to everyone.
Another issue is the lack of accessible tunnels for wheelchair users. Currently, the Free Expression Tunnel is the only tunnel suitable for wheelchair users. Newmiller said improvements are difficult because NC State does not actually own the land above the tunnel.
“As I understand it, the railroad actually owns the tracks, and so NC State isn’t able to do anything without operation from the railroads," Newmiller said. "There was a lot of work to be done for the Free Expression Tunnel to be created accessible, but it was already bigger than the other tunnels. The other tunnels are very small, so it’s much more difficult to make them accessible.”
Carter also brought up accessibility issues with campus tours, saying that campus tours can be difficult for wheelchair users or other physically disabled people, and she plans to work with NC State Transportation to fix the issue. However, Carter said NC State does a “great job” with making the campus accessible to everyone.
“I currently still give tours on campus," Carter said. "We have probably two accessible routes on campus that students [with disabilities] can use, and that’s not ideal, so [we’re] trying to figure out how we can work with the university, how we can work with facilities to figure out what we can improve and how we can make campus more accessible.”
Newmiller said Wolfpack Pickup is also a resource available to students with disabilities or others who may encounter problems when participating in walking tours.
The second issue Carter brought up was the lack of handicap push buttons in Talley Student Union and other buildings. There are no door buttons in any Talley suites, according to Carter, which is another issue Student Government is working to fix.
“If you want to participate in activities on campus, sometimes you need the door button," Carter said. "That’s another thing we’ve done in Student Government to make sure that students can get into the suite is to put [an accessibility button] on the door”
Carter said Student Government is planning to work with the Disability Resource Office to fix the problem.
More information about general accessibility can be found on NC State’s Accessibility page.