Student Accessibility Service assists Kent

Deborah Pritchard

Students say Kent campus works with those with needs

Students have easier access to buildings on campus through buttons such as these.

Photo By Elizabeth Myers | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Junior biology major Matt Potokar doesn’t have too much difficulty getting into buildings. All it takes is the click of a button from a remote control on his wheelchair.

“It opens up all the handicap doors,” Potokar said. “That’s pretty cool.”

Laura McGlothlin, accessibility coordinator for Student Accessibility Services, which provided Potokar’s controller, said she thinks Kent State has one of the most accessible campuses around.

“I think we have one of the most outstanding programs in the United States, and if you ask people that, they’ll probably agree,” she said. “Kent State is known for its disability services, for the ease of getting through the program, working with our office. We make it very easy for students.”

McGlothlin said the most common accommodations people receive are extended times for exams, the ability to take exams in a reduced distraction environment and the ability to tape record class lectures.

“Notetakers and e-text are probably our next most popular accommodations that we give,” she said.

McGlothlin said one of the more recent changes was switching from books on tape to e-text.

“That was a big deal — there would be 25 tapes for one book we would have to give to a student. Now we just have one CD.”

McGlothlin said Student Accessibility Services hopes to start an orientation program in the summer for students.

“Whatever makes it easier for our students to work, that’s what we try to do,” she said. “Our goal is to help the students, and our goal is to help faculty.”

McGlothlin said there are only a few problems around campus.

She said students have had problems getting around because of inadequate snow removal and construction trucks being on the sidewalk. She also said even though the problem gets resolved, it still affects the students.

“It’s something we wished never happened because they are still going to be delayed,” McGlothlin said.

Chad Coy, junior human development family studies major, also said that with snowy weather, the sidewalks need to be cleaned better.

Coy, who has visual impairment, suggested it would be helpful if construction workers informed Student Accessibility Services about the status of the sidewalks during construction. He said SAS student workers might then be willing to go out and help students find a different route.

“Let Student Accessibility Services know in advance so they can send a mass e-mail to all students with disabilities to let them know there will be construction,” he said.

Another problem McGlothlin mentioned is that of Kent State vehicles parking in the handicap parking spaces. She said they are working with the head of Parking Services to correct this problem.

“We have students who have missed class or couldn’t get out of their car because they are parking over on our spaces,” she said.

Coy said he is satisfied with Kent State’s services for the most part, but there are a few things that could be changed. Coy said some of the older buildings don’t have Braille on the doors nor do they have accessible entrances for people in wheelchairs.

Coy said some of the buildings don’t have handicap accessibility buttons.

“They can’t always get in the buildings,” he said. “Every entrance in my opinion probably should (have a button).”

Potokar also said some of the entrances aren’t very accessible for people with wheelchairs. He said he has to go around to the back door of Cunningham Hall to the greenhouse to enter.

“Other than a few inconvenient entrances, I really have no problems . (the university does) a pretty good job,” Potokar said.

Coy said SAS could also make sure every restroom has a button to open the door.

“It gives us the opportunity to be more independent instead of always having to rely on people,” said Coy. “We all want to be as independent as possible.”

Contact student life reporter Deborah Pritchard at [email protected].