Is Quinnipiac wheelchair accesible?

Kellie Gleeson

Quinnipiac may be an accredited school with a beautiful campus, a great academic curriculum and a staff that is always ready and willing to help. Yet, is this school Handicap accessible?
As of the calender year `00-’01, Quinnipiac has three freshmen that are in wheelchairs. “According to many books, this school is 85 percent accessible,” said Emily Pember, a freshman who has been in a wheel chair all her life.
Pember has Spinalabibiba, a disease where the nerves were sticking out of her back when she was born. This is the most severe case of the disease. “I got my first wheel chair at the age of three,” Pember said.
Even though Quinnipiac is 85 percent accessible, there are still some things that the school has to work on for the future. Some things that need to be addressed include vending machines, the salad bar, and student’s reactions to those in wheel chairs.
“It makes me very mad when I can’t reach the salad bar, or push buttons on the vending machine. Also, the hills are kind of bad,” Pember said.
The worst time for Pember this year was during the snow storms. For three days, she had to miss her classes because no one was shoveling the little area between the door and the bridge near the Commons.
“I was never good about making it in the snow. I had to cry to the hall director to make anything happen,” Pember said. The other thing that Pember has a problem with is the dorm buildings. Some are not accessible for disabled students. This makes it very hard for Pember.
“The doors are very hard to get into. I got this clicker to open all the automatic doors, but it doesn’t work for the Commons. I still haven’t found the automatic door for the building yet. So, I can’t really go places by myself,” Pember said.
When it comes to the student body, many people are unaware of such diseases and are not sure how to react to people that have them or those in wheelchairs.
“Most of the girls just stare at me and most of the guys help out,” Pember said.
“Part of the problem is most people are scared about asking me for help. I would love if someone asked me and if I didn’t need it, I would say no. This stuff should be taught to people when they are younger, so they know how to react.”
Sometimes, she does feel like people aren’t very accepting of her. Some people that she met stayed away from her at the beginning of the year. They just didn’t know how to react to a person in a wheelchair.
The teachers are a lot more accepting of the fact that she is in a wheel chair then most of the people that she has met.
They are very good about letting her come late into class, and other cases where she missed class accidentally, like if an elevator is broken or if there is snow.
“There was one instance where this guy was on the top floor and I was on the bottom floor of Tator Hall. We were both waiting for the elevator and the light was on for both of us. The elevator was stuck between the two floors. Needless to say, I had to miss my class that day,” Pember said.
Even though Quinnipiac is handicapped accessible to an extent, there are some things that the school still has to work on. “I just hope the changes get done before I leave,” Pember said. “In other schools, they would fix things after I had left.”