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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Urging for accessibility; How St. Joe’s campus does not accommodate those with disabilities


Starting off my senior year, I planned on making it the best one yet. I prepared, like any other last-year college student, to hang out with friends, take my last few classes and take in every moment before it quickly comes time to walk at graduation.

However, last semester I injured myself. I rolled my right ankle but never thought much of it. I wore a boot and thought it would heal in a few days. What I thought was going to be a quick recovery, turned into the worst injury I have ever had. The visits to the orthopedic doctor became more and more frequent. It turned out I had torn a couple of ligaments and had a few stretched tendons. I received the news I would need surgery. The recovery process would be long, but I still wanted to find a way to attend my classes.

I was fortunate enough to obtain temporary housing on campus in McShain Hall because I am unable to drive for a few months. I thought living in McShain would be substantial in helping me get around campus for classes, but on the first day of classes back from winter break, I received an email that the ramp from Campion Student Center to Bellarmine Hall would be closed until mid-February.

I now have to call Public Safety to get a ride everywhere on campus. Otherwise, I would have to ride on my knee scooter from McShain around Sweeney Field just to get to Bellarmine which is inconvenient and uncomfortable.

That same week, I found myself locked out of Bellarmine through the handicap entrance on the side of the building. It is the only door without stairs. I was locked out for 15 minutes, in the rain, while trying to avoid my cast getting soaked.

Once I got into the building, the elevator broke in the building, so I was unable to attend my last class of the day. When I contacted Public Safety about the issue, they said they needed to call around to
businesses and try and get someone out to fix it.

Aside from the issues of that day, almost everyday I find cars blocking off public ramps on the sidewalks and other areas around campus, leaving me to struggle to get up and down the curb. These are some of the many issues with accessibility for those with disabilities on campus.

Prior to my injury, I never took the time to realize how little focus and effort is put into accommodating the students and faculty with disabilities on St. Joe’s campus.

Up until the last few months, I never had to experience what individuals with permanent disabilities go through each and every day around campus.

No one should have to struggle to get to classes and activities around campus. St. Joe’s promotes “caring for the whole person,” which should include everyone, regardless of ability. I understand some of these issues take time to fix. But it is important for me to share my story and continue the conversation, urging the university to take care of all community members.

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