U discriminates against disabled students

Editor:

I have just read the article, “Library loses five parking spaces for disabled patrons,” which was published May 23. To be honest, I am not surprised at all that the university has taken a stance that will hurt its disabled students.

My entire five years at the U, I battled the parking system. When I started at the U, I used a manual wheelchair. Getting from the original parking spaces available to the door of the library without assistance was a nightmare.

I then had a class that was in the Performing Arts Building, and more recently in the Marriott Center for Dance. Because the area is a paid parking lot, I still had to pay every day that I had class in order to use the handicapped spots-despite the fact that I had already purchased a U pass.

The U loves to exploit its disabled students. I have no doubt that now they will charge every handicapped person, student or not, to park anywhere near the library.

Complaints to the Commuter Services have not, and will not, resolve the issue. The idea that disabled students should just call for an escort bears huge amounts of ignorance by the U about people with disabilities.

They are assuming that because I am disabled, an escort will solve the problem. Having someone walk next to me does not magically take away the pain of trying to walk, does not magically create a wheelchair accessible ramp where there is none, and does not refund the money that I have to pay on top of my required parking permit. It does not change the fact that a disabled student now has to trek twice the distance to get to the library from a paid parking stall.

I have often wished that every person who has power to change the U’s parking policies be put in manual wheelchairs with weights on their arms to simulate the weakness that most wheelchair-bound students have, and have them try to get from the parking lot to a class, then from that class to the next.

I have and will continue to discourage any disabled student from attending the U. It has the worst policy toward disabled persons that I have ever experienced, and continue to dig a hole that screams discrimination.

Chelsea Woodruff

Alumna