MU and the campus community work to accommodate students with disabilities

On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act, was created to “(remove) barriers and (empower) people” with disabilities, according to its website. According to the introduction to the ADA, the legislation was modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and is “one of America's most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation.” The ADA effectively prohibits discrimination and guarantees those with disabilities have access to the same opportunities, and the ability to “participate in the mainstream of American life — to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services.”

As the ADA celebrates its 25th anniversary, here's a look at how different areas of MU and the surrounding community work to meet ADA standards.

Campus

According to the ADA, places of public accommodation and public government entities must meet ADA requirements and standards. Examples of places of public accommodation on campus include dining halls, auditoriums and classrooms, University Hospital, Student Recreation Complex , and other service establishments. Check out this map, from the Campus Facilities Department of Space Planning and Management, which allows you to search for accessible entrances, ramps, elevators, chairlifts, accessible parking as well as current construction across MU’s campus.

Disability Center

The MU Disability Center offers a number of accommodations for students with a variety of disabilities. According to the center’s website, these accommodations fall under the following subcategories: academic and classroom, transportation, housing, and service animals. Examples of these include flexible attendance, additional time on exams, alternative-format materials and many more for the classroom, the ability to have private restrooms, lower closet rods, hands-free student room door access and more for housing, and access to para-transit vans for transportation. In order for a student to have access to these accommodations, they must first provide documentation of their disability and work with the Disability Center to find a plan suitable for them.

Residence Halls

After a student files with the Disability Center, they are then given access to the aforementioned number of accommodations for students with disabilities. In the case of on-campus housing, the Department of Residential Life works with the Disability Center to provide student-specific accommodations. Examples of these include placement in residence halls in the center of campus or nearest to the majority of the student’s classes, special attention and checks during storm warnings, power outages and fires, along with room design alterations to meet the student’s needs.

Greektown

While Greektown is located near the MU campus, sorority and fraternity houses are not university property, and as such, are exempted from meeting ADA building requirements. Under ADA, “privately owned and independently developed Greektown is exempted, as fraternity and sorority houses are considered private clubs under Title III of the ADA,” a Maneater long read from April of this year explained.

MU would be responsible for funding or making Greektown more accommodating only if the university bought all of its properties, MU’s ADA compliance manager Amber Cheek said in the article.

“Just because (sororities and fraternities) fall under an exception in the ADA doesn’t mean they shouldn’t plan to make things accessible,” Cheek said. “I think that with awareness, they might decide to plan (for) accessibility.”

Check out this interactive map to explore individual house's accessibility features.

Off-Campus Housing

MU students have many options when it comes to choosing apartments, but for students with physical disabilities, the search may require a bit more effort. Adam Thoma-Perry, a representative for Copper Beech Townhomes, said that it has a number of handicap accessible, one-bedroom units to help accommodate for students with physical disabilities. Other complexes, like The Reserve, said that, upon request, the apartment complex will accommodate for students with physical handicaps by allowing them to install ramps and giving them access to ground-level units. MU also offers University Student Apartments, a grouping of on-campus apartments — Manor House, Tara Apartments and University Heights — that will “offer accommodations for undergraduate students over 21, graduate students and students with families,” according to Residential Life’s Accessible Housing webpage.

Comprehensive data on the accessibility of the many off-campus housing options is not available at this time. If you have concerns about your building's accessibility, email editors@themaneater.com

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