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Awarenes needed for disabled students

This item originally appeared in the April 8, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.

A new committee has been born at Louisiana Tech and should be given as equal attention as increasing enrollment, gaining reaccreditation and improving athletic merit.

With Damein Delrie, a sophomore computer information systems major, as president, the Association of Students with Disabilities was created in February in hopes of improving accessibility and breaking down barriers for students with handicaps.

We feel that Tech has not done enough to ensure the comfort of these students, such as not constructing the newly renovated Tolliver Hall with a handicap-accessible door.

Vice president of the association, Laura Jones, a senior journalism major, said she hopes the organization will give a voice to disabled students and help with such issues.

"In my opinion, there is no good excuse for the lack of handicapped access to Tolliver Hall," Jones said. "The university officials basically ignored a group of students, and I don't think they should do that. Is this what the university calls student-friendly?"

Jim King, vice president of Student Affairs, said the lack of an automatic door was "an oversight in the design.

"There are not any immediate plans [to get automatic doors]."

The Tech Talk thinks this association was needed to help raise awareness of the ambivalent attitude of Tech's administration, as any "oversight" should be dealt with immediately and there seem to be no plans to correct this mistake.

All students are encouraged to join this association to raise awareness and change the standard approaches of dealing with handicapped students on campus.

The organization was also formed to assure handicapped students that their interests are being addressed since none of the other campus organizations have representation for students with disabilities.

This group can start a growth of knowledge with students, faculty and potentially patrons in the local area.

Many campus groups involve the local community, so the Association of Students with Disabilities would likely have no trouble involving Ruston businesses, churches and even district schools in their struggle to destroy the conventional and conformist perceptions of people with handicaps.

Hopefully this organization will grow and expand to other campuses that might not have a group designed to assist with the needs of handicapped students. The initiators of this association need to be commended for their determination to create such a needed advocacy voice.

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