Editorial: Disconnect in Disability Services
The recent move of Disability Services from the intersection of West Rayen Avenue and 5th Avenue to 36 West Wood Street has made it clear that those who work in the building and those who use it don’t see eye to eye.
The headquarters for Youngstown State University’s Disability Services was already decently far away from Kilcawley Center, the hub of YSU’s campus. The move to West Wood Street puts disabled students farther away than they originally were.
The staff think that the move is beneficial for the university and its students. While the staff is most likely correct, the students who use the services say that the move is difficult, largely because it’s during the semester.
The move may be a necessary one, and the staff may have the correct outlook on the situation, but they still need to recognize that the students that they are serving are being inconvenienced by the university’s decision.
Students are saying that the new location doesn’t have parking, takes longer to reach than the old location and doesn’t have a stoplight, so students can safely cross.
The student security escorts that help disabled students get to and from disability services have a schedule that they have to follow for each student that, due to the move, became interrupted.
Students that frequent Disability Services were given a two week notice of the move and spent time figuring out their transportation.
They didn’t, and shouldn’t have to, analyze the new location. These students didn’t know there were other things that they needed to consider in addition to their transportation to and from the new building.
There needs to be an open dialogue between the students that use Disability Services, the staff that work there and the heads of the university who call the shots.
The Student Government Association is the best place to start for both ends. SGA can talk to disabled students about their problems with the move and address the heads of the university directly.
The heads of the university and Disability Services can then acknowledge there is an issue and take the proper steps to fix it professionally and in accordance with YSU’s space audit guidelines.
It’s responsible for the university to listen to the students that it’s designed to help, especially in a situation of this magnitude.
With luck, this location won’t be a permanent one. But if it is a permanent move, the university must take the steps to make the transition an easier one for everyone involved.
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