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Student speaks on Hale Hall handicap access

This item originally appeared in the September 23, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.

Dear Editor:

I thought I had made a difference in the way that university officials would approach a new project, but I guess I was mistaken.

When I went up to the door of the newly renovated Hale Hall, I assumed that getting into the building would be no problem at all. In the spring, with the support of the Association of Students with Disabilities, the Student Government Association and The Tech Talk staff, an automatic door was installed in Tolliver Hall.

It was installed because university officials in charge of the building project had made "an architectural oversight."

After the addition of the automatic door was made, I assumed others would take notice and there would be no more oversights. Once again, I was disappointed. There is no automatic door in Hale Hall.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if the situation were reversed?

I understand that people who do not have to deal with the physical disability don't always think about the challenges that go along with it.

However, I sure wish that they would start. I will always be grateful to Louisiana Tech University, because I have made an independent life for myself, which a few years ago, I would not have dreamed of.

It would have been nice if that independence was reflected in the newest addition to campus.

Installing an automatic door in Hale Hall from the beginning would have shown that disabled students have an important voice in the life of the university. It would have shown that they cared.

I do not define myself as a disabled person. I just happen to be in a seated position for most of my day. The only time that I'm reminded of the limitations is when I meet an obstacle.

Some obstacles are unavoidable, but others could be averted with a little consideration.

I'm not asking for sweeping renovations. I realize that making all the buildings on campus accessible would mean a great inconvenience with a large price tag. I'm willing to deal with that. I'm only asking for what is right. There is no excuse for a brand-new multimillion dollar building to have no automatic door.

No, it is not necessarily required in black and white by the law, but should that really matter?

The point is to make campus more accessible for everyone no matter what the bottom line.

There is a difference between what the law requires and what should be done with it.

Not doing something once could be called an oversight, but twice?

Laura Jones

Graduate Student


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