EDITORIAL: Campus accessibility needs more attention

Pushing for online accessibility is a great thing, but it shouldn’t overshadow campus accessibility.

While instructors are held accountable for their own classes’ accessibility, accommodations on campus, such as the elevators and automatic door buttons, don’t seem to receive the same kind of inspection.

If the college focused on physical accommodations as much as they do online accessibility, they could make a difference for students with mobility challenges such as wheelchairs.

As students slowly return to in-person classes, the college should be making sure that all members of its community are welcomed and can access services.

That means upkeep. It’s good to see new clubs and organizations, but students with disabilities will have a hard time accessing these opportunities because of the current state of many Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations.

Eastfield’s missing elevator handrails and inoperable ADA entry points leave much to be desired.

We see elevators frequently out of service, and the G Building currently does not have any working accessible doors from the outside. And some entry points, such as the ramp to S Building, are steep enough to pose a challenge to wheelchair-bound students.

Prioritizing ADA compliance should take precedence over non-emergency items, but neither seem to be getting much attention.

The college has been proactive about addressing online accessibility, but the same effort needs to be made onsite.

Accessibility Services is an invaluable resource on campus. The employees follow quick timelines to get students the accommodations they need, whether it is for physical, psychological or learning impairments.

Dallas College prides itself on having open arms for anyone who wants to learn. It’s an important part of the culture on campus.

Following through with the actions to support these statements, and the staff in Accessibility Services, is the heavier task.

Making a disabled student feel demotivated to come and learn because the campus doesn’t feel welcoming is no different than turning them away.

It’s a student’s prerogative to select online classes, but we’ve seen how the pandemic affected engagement when online courses became the only option due to elements outside one’s control.

We urge Dallas College to take a step back to re-evaluate campus navigation for students who have mobility challenges such as wheelchairs, braces or crutches.

We believe in Dallas College’s ability to make its doors open easier to students, both literally and figuratively.