Picture this; as you’re grabbing a shopping cart from the parking lot, the cart rattles and shakes as you wheel it over to the store. While the feeling is unpleasant momentarily, you find relief as you enter the store, which has even floors. Whereas a physically able person only experiences that brief moment of feeling uncomfortable with a bumpy pathway in the parking lot, this is the reality for physically disabled students on the Queens College campus.
The Committee for Disabled Students (CDS), with the support of the Student Association, is seeking to get the attention of QC’s administration to let them know that campus renovation is a priority. Specifically, the renovation of hazardous areas that make it difficult for physically disabled students to navigate the campus.
CDS President, Dhrupad Mamun, went around the campus early morning on Thursday, March 5th, with the students he advocates for and set out to film and photograph the hazardous areas on campus. The Knight News was able to follow CDS on this journey.
“The issue of safety hazards is important to me as a student with disabilities because oftentimes, slight erosion of infrastructure and uneven surfaces can prove to be problematic,” said Kevin Shah, a freshman math major. “This is especially true when the assistive technologies we use whether it be a crutch, walker, or wheelchair cannot traverse these paths.”
Sidorela Lleshi, a junior English major who was also present during the filming adds, “The infrastructure around campus is often not leveled and the cracks around the sidewalks can lead to students like me tripping and falling when our assistive technology such as wheelchairs, crutches, or walkers are not enough to help us navigate our environment. This has already led to students falling and getting hurt, especially during bad weather when we are not able to see hazards like cracks on the sidewalks. So it’s important that we would have an easy way to get around campus to get to our classes so we can focus on our education.”
The Committee for Disabled Students plans to make their intentions to renovate the campus well known. The Deputy Holder of the Chair for the Academic Senate, Siddharth Malviya, plans to present the Committee for Disabled Students’ message to the faculty on campus, via the senate. The Deputy Chair has drafted a resolution on behalf of CDS and plans to put it forth to the Senate at the March Senate meeting, in hopes that the faculty on campus support the efforts of the Committee for Disabled Students.
In closing, Ashley Guevara, a sophomore majoring in psychology and member of CDS, expressed thanks to the student leaders helping to push this initiative forward. “This is finally a way for our voices to be heard; our community is always pushed to the side,” Guevara said. “It’s the little things that can make our life easier, fix them.”