Access Limited for Stanford's Handicapped Students

Disabled students struggle with "less-than-accommodating" buildings on Stanford's campus.

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Handicapped students at Stanford University aren't exactly happy—and for good reason.

Disabled students at Stanford University don't have easy access to every classroom and building on campus, the Stanford Daily reports. Dorm access and double doors on campus have caused particular difficulty for some.

"Only one door can be opened from the outside sometimes, and sometimes it is the left door rather than the right door," Nicole Torcolini, a sophomore who is blind, tells the Daily. "This is problematic for two main reasons: First, it encourages . . . not following the usual pattern of traffic of traveling on the right, causing more confusion. Second, doors opening on the left do not work well for my guide dog."

According to the Daily, it's not just moving around buildings and classrooms that's difficult. The campus isn't easily navigable, either.

"Sometimes the only way to get somewhere requires walking in or across a bike lane, which can be rather dangerous, particularly for my guide dog," Torcolini tells the Daily. "Furthermore, I have found that most bikers do not take precautions to watch for pedestrians."

Resident Fellow Clyde Moneyhun says it's easy to understand Torcolini's frustration.

"The trouble is that it takes only one thoughtless act—one bike left in front of the stairs, one big, empty box left in a hallway, one couch left in the walkway in the lounge—to create accessibility problems," Moneyhun says. "What we need is more diligence on the part of all the residents in making sure that everybody who lives here has equal access to all parts of the building."

The university created a group to help disabled students deal with issues like these on campus: the Disabilities and Accessible Education Committee. The panel is meant to provide a way for disabled students to voice their concerns.

"We are trying to make disability resources more cohesive for students so that campus is easier to access," says committee Cochair Julia Feinberg, who has spinal muscular atrophy. "We are also trying for more contact with housing and admission."

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