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What students with wheelchairs experience on campus

Due to its hilly terrain, the Texas State campus may be a challenge for those with mobility impairments. Accessible walkways can be found throughout campus for students with disabilities.
Photo by: Nathalie Cohetero | Staff Photographer

Texas State is known for its scenery because it resides in the middle of hill country. However, students with disabilities may experience a different campus.

Joshua Lynch, applied sociology senior, said using a ramp filled with people can be time consuming.

“It can be frustrating if I’m in a hurry,” Lynch said. “I understand that people don’t think they will encounter someone in a wheelchair when they’re walking down the ramp, so I don’t perceive that as if they were doing it on purpose or for selfish reasons.”

Lynch said the ramps can be out of the way or inconveniently designed.

Lee Bryant, recreational administration senior, believes the ramps can be far but manages to get around campus in his wheelchair. Sometimes people push his chair.

“Going downhill is awesome; the uphill ramps are just really difficult,” Bryant said. “I’m fine. I have a special device that helps me go up ramps; it just takes me a while to get to class.”

Bryant said it isn’t so bad when someone pushes his wheelchair.

“I like taking my time,” Bryant said. “I line up my schedule to where I get as much time in between classes as I can, and if I ever go over to Jowers, I enjoy the ride.”

Bryant said the Office of Disability Services has been a huge help.

“The ODS does a really good job of getting us whatever we need,” Bryant said.

Gerardo Altamirano, accessibility services coordinator, said the ODS primarily assists students with academic accommodations and ensuring students have access to university-sponsored events and programs.

“Sometimes the door button doesn’t work,” Bryant said. “It’s off and on, but sometimes it doesn’t work outside Alkek and sometimes over at Centennial Hall.”

If this happens, students can contact ODS or maintenance.

“Students with disabilities are encouraged to register with our office to receive services that range from academic services in the classroom and interpreters for events,” Altamirano.

The ODS also offers assistance to students with limited mobility.

“We approve accommodations for individuals who have temporary ambulatory disabilities and have difficulty moving around campus,” Altamirano said. “Let’s say a student has too much fun over spring break and breaks their leg. Then our Cats on the Go service will help that student get to and from class.”

ODS helps students in wheel chairs by educating them about special routes throughout campus for people with disabilities.

“Students can use ramps to help them get around the unforgivable hills on campus,” Altamirano said.

Support groups are also available for students with and without disabilities.

ODS works in partnership with the counseling center, and they offer various support groups for students, Altamirano said.

“We have a career exploration group for students with or without disabilities who have trouble with interpersonal skills and employment-seeking skills,” Altamirano said.

The group is called Bobcat Crew: creating readiness and employability for work, but that is not the only beneficial group for students.

Students with disabilities can find more information at the ODS website www.ods.txstate.edu or by calling 512-245-3451.