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Accessibility Survey Spotlights Wheelchair-Friendly Campuses


By Dan Hounsell ADA
Wheelchair-using college student

Thirty years after the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), many institutional and commercial facilities continue to struggle with providing accessibility for all to their buildings. Most processes or areas – from open offices and public beaches to door hardware and renovations – in facilities continue to pose accessibility issues. The nation's higher education facilities and campuses are hardly exempt from these challenges, but many are doing an exemplary job of ensuring accessibility for all.

Starting with a list of 400 highly ranked colleges and universities, researchers with New Mobility magazine sent a survey to disability service offices throughout the United States and identified 20 wheelchair-friendly campuses and cultures that promote an inclusive college experience.

Respondents were scored on 45 criteria specific to wheelchair-using students, including wheelchair-friendly campus terrain, percentage of independently accessible buildings, integrated accessible housing options, personal assistance programs, adaptive sports and recreation, accessible on-campus transportation, adaptive computer labs, and inclusive fraternities and sororities.

In addition to survey responses, each campus was scored on the number of wheelchair users registered by its disability resource office. Results demonstrated a strong correlation between the number of registered wheelchair users and a full range of programs and activities that create a truly wheelchair-inclusive culture.

 Dan Hounsell is editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.

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