UK’s campus a hostile environment for students with disabilities


Kernel Opinion SIG

Cody Ryan

UK is a wonderful campus– unless you have a disability.

For example, the Whitehall Classroom Building is anything but wheelchair friendly. The elevators are not only small and make me feel like I’m a burden when other students want to ride, but they also frequently do not work.

Many buildings on UK’s campus do not have handicap-friendly bathrooms. Not only do I have to muster up the courage to ask another student to open the door for me, but I also have to embarrass myself to navigate the antiquated bathrooms.

At least UK has a new student center. All the able-bodied students can mingle and congregate on the social staircase. If you’re in a wheelchair, the social staircase allows you to envy and dream about being able-bodied.

As a journalism major, I am grateful UK is building a new journalism building. However, I now must travel to all ends of campus to attend class. The disability center would graciously accommodate me with rides on a golf cart to class, but I would prefer not to be segregated any more than I already have been.

Majoring in journalism at UK, I had aspirations of becoming a sports journalist at a college who housed some of the best sports teams in the country. Unfortunately, many sports are played in Memorial Coliseum where the media room for journalists has steps and no accessible ramp. I wish I knew beforehand that sportswriters can’t be in a wheelchair.

The journalism building is now temporarily located in the dilapidated Blazer Dining Hall. The handicapped accessible front entrance is barely big enough for my wheelchair to fit and resulted in a gash on my wrist due to the tight squeeze. I tried entering through the basement the following day, only to realize the basement door has no automatic door opener on the outside of the basement door.

If you have a disability and wish to attend this university, prepare to feel segregated and be ready to watch all the able-bodied students have the time of their lives.