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To establish an equitable education for those with disabilities, it is necessary to create a welcoming environment and embraces the diversity Wayne State University takes pride in.
1. Installing more ramps will decrease the amount of time handicapped and disabled people need in order to travel around campus, making it easier to get to class and focus on what they are in school for. Adding more user-friendly entrances also allows for students with disabilities to easily interact and transport themselves as well as their school supplies.
2. In addition to adding more ramps, we propose the installation of ramps from every floor on each building. This proposal will assist people in emergencies such as fires, severe weather emergencies, and other time sensitive situations. Anyone requiring a wheelchair or even those who are injured or elderly would safely descend using the ramps.
3. Adding more elevators that can comfortably fit all medical equipment would decrease the amount of time those with disabilities need in order to get to class. Often times, students feel unsafe entering the elevators that exist in older buildings. These elevators should be checked and updated on a regular basis to ensure all persons feel not only safe but confident in Wayne State’s abilities to keep its students and faculty out of harm’s way.
4. By providing more handicap parking spaces and user friendly shuttle services, WSU would make traveling across campus less challenging. Shuttle services often have steep stairs, and offering handicap entrances will enhance accessibility in rain and snow, which Detroit experiences greatly during the fall and winter semesters.
5. Investing in more easily accessible seats towards the front for students by widening rows and creating more entrances will create an environment that is fair to all students, no matter what challenges they face.
The cost of this modification can be justified by the importance of the well-being of handicapped and disabled individuals. Handicapped and disabled people are discouraged to obtain education, and this is often disregarded by many. For those who face these obstacles, seeing that the school shows priority for people in need of special assistance also makes Wayne State more marketable and shows that it is a school which prioritizes its students and their success.
Qualifications and Research Methods
One of our group member has previous experience in regards to this topic by volunteering in a nursing home. This individual got to experience first hand how disabilities affect a person and the struggles that they go through in a day to day biases. This includes physical struggle such as having a difficult time seeing and hearing or having difficulty to walk as well as the emotional struggle of often not having many people to turn to and the emotional toll it can take on a person.
Due to the fact that it is a smaller group, all group members will share responsibilities equally from researching about the topic to writing the report. For example, some of Ayden’s strengths include being able to write in a manner that effectively gets the point across to the reader. Pavithra is able to pick out important information in an article and collect data and information in a timely manner. Gabby can support both of her group members by organizing information collected in a concise manner due to her journalism minor. We hope to play off each other’s strengths and help each other learn more over the course of this project.
For this proposal, we conducted a survey asking people’s opinion in regards to the facilities available for disabled students at Wayne State University as well as ask students who have personally used the facilities themselves about their experience. We have also conducted interviews for students that personally have used these facilities and plan to further back our information with other studies and facts.
Plan of Action
We gathered primary research by conducting a survey, asking Wayne State University students their opinion on handicapped facilities and accommodations around campus. Our main focus was primarily for the Student Center and State Hall buildings. Some of these questions included:
1) Are there enough easily accessible ramps in the two buildings?
2) Do you think State Hall and the Student Center have enough handicap ramps?
3) Are there enough easily accessible ramps outside State Hall and the Student Center?
4) Do you think the elevators are handicap appropriate (size)?
Primary Research from Surveys
The pictures above show results of the surveys that was conducted for student who attended Wayne State University. For the first question 10 people answered, one person said yes and nine others said no. which gave us 90% of the people stating there is not enough ramps inside the buildings. Second question, 10 people answered, two people said yes and eight people said no. which gave us 80% of the people stating that the two buildings did not have enough ramps. For the third question, 11 people answered, two people said yes, and nine people said no. which gave us 81% of the people stating that there is not enough ramps outside of the buildings. For the last question, 11 people answered, two people said yes and the other nine people said no. which gave us 81% of the people stating that they are not size appropriate. Even though only a small number of people answered, the responses were very consistent and similar. It is safe to assume that this survey is valid enough to base our research on.
Along with conducting a survey, we aimed to conduct an interview with a student with disability or a student that was injured and needed to temporarily use handicapped services.
Conducting a survey is justified as primary research because we are going out on our own to gather new data in regards to the topic. The category that this type of primary research falls under would be inquires. By creating a simple yes and no survey it will be easier to collect data and hopefully result in a higher yield of results. Finding articles on the internet or in databases is justified as secondary research because it is experiments that have already been conducted and we are simply using that information to back up our point to shed light on an issue that we noticed around Wayne State University.
Primary Research from Interviews
We had the opportunity to talk to a few students that were required to use some of the handicap services at Wayne state university due to injuries or accidents. Two students were interviewed and were asked the following simple questions.
1. What kind of disability do, or did you have?
2. Do or did you find the handicap services at Wayne state University help you get around easier?
3. Overall, what do you think can be improved around campus to help those with disabilities?
Student one had a torn ACL and was on crutches for a whole semester. When asked if the services around Wayne State helped they responded by saying: “Yes, they did especially the elevator in State Hall”. When asked about what improvements they wish to see they mentioned that “there should be more handicap buttons for doors because it is hard to open doors while on crutches.”
The second student we talked to was in a car accident which resulted them being in a wheelchair for a few months. They expressed that “there are several [handicap services’ that helped, but [they] would have liked more because sometimes they were inconvenient”. When asked about what can be improved on campus student two mentioned that ‘improvements can be made, especially extra ramps around campus and inside buildings”.
As you can see although there are some services available for students to use there are nearly not enough. Talking to students that personally need to use or needed to use these services due to an accident it is clear that a lot of work still needs to be done to make Wayne State University a handicap friendly campus. More ramps should be included inside and outside buildings to allow students that are unable to walk to easily get around in a day to day bases as well as in case of an emergency such as a fire. Due to the limited services available they also become used and abused by not only that require it but also those that don’t such as elevators. It is not only important for Wayne State to add new services but also maintain their current services.
Similar to finding data through surveys, finding information through interviews can also be considered primary research because all the information collected is new data pertaining to the research we are doing. By asking some simple questions about people’s experience using handicap services around Wayne State University we can quickly gather that there is a lot more we can do to make the lives of those students and faculty with disabilities a little more easy.
Primary Research from Observation
Another type of primary research is simply observing your surroundings and taking notes of instances. By doing this we came to a realization that the parking structures around campus are fairly fall from certain buildings, especially the Student Center. Although the parking structures do have handicap parking students and faculty members that may be struggling with a disability, or those helping them, still need to cross streets in a safe and timely manner.
We propose to create a few street handicap parking spots to allow those that need it easy access to buildings without having to cross streets with traffic. For example, and excellent location for these types of parking spots would be right behind state hall on Cass Ave. The entrance on this side of the building also has easy access to the elevators available in State Hall as well.
The second observation we made is that the shuttles that go around campus and also outside of campus such as various hospitals as well as the med school are not very handicap friendly. Lifts and other accommodations should be available for students that wish to use the shuttle service to get from one location to another.
In regards to secondary research, we looked into articles online and in databases to aid with our research and gather more stats to back our proposal.
It is impossible for a disabled student to navigate through Wayne State’s buildings safely if there was an emergency such as fires. In a study conducted by the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), “An estimated 700 residential building fires involving individuals with physical disabilities are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 160 deaths, 200 injuries, and $26 million in total loss”.
Based on these results, a disaster such as a fire or other occurrence is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. To help prevent such disasters more ramps and elevators could be built to help ensure the safety of the handicap students and faculties at Wayne State University.
In addition, all schools are required to accommodate all students, no matter the disability or the difference. According to Mobility International USA (MIUSA), “U.S. schools are responsible for making their courses, campus, activities and services accessible to people with disabilities. This includes physical access to college buildings, transportation, housing, and other facilities.” However, not all schools have the same services available. This could depend on population or the average percentage of students who use the services annually. All schools in the U.S. are required to have the same resources on-campus.
Starting conversation with any authority figure involved in one of the 10 resources can lead to a comfortable college experience. Those who require accommodations are guaranteed the assistance and technology. Every university has an obligation to its students, no matter the obstacle.
A question that may raise is how much it will cost to make these potential changes. On average the cost of a professionally built wheelchair ramp is $1,751. The cost of this can fluctuate based on the material used as well as the distance that the ramp needs to cover. The base cost of installing an elevator is $15,000. The price of this can go up based on the size of the elevator as well as the number of floors the elevator must travel. The majority of this cost, however, is due to labor. To paint a street parking spot with a handicap sign will cost approximately $30.
Although these are not cheap changes to implement it will make the campus a lot more inviting to those with potential disabilities, which will result in more students wanting to go to Wayne State University and over time resulting in a profit for the University as well.
Disabled students already have a disadvantage when it comes to doing every day activities. To add to it, with all these other difficulties that they can face while attending Wayne State University it is safe to assume that the disabled student will stop attending college at Wayne State university. It is understandable that building new elevators and ramps may take longer time to approve and to meet the budget. As a start, small changes can be made such as having better handicap desks in classrooms, having designated parking spots in front of buildings to show handicap students that Wayne State University cares about them. If all these changes can be made, student with disabilities will have more of a normal life and can experience normal college life. It will also bring awareness to the public that Wayne State University really cares about everyone’s educational career.
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