It takes EvCC student Kathleen Sander over an hour to commute roundtrip on the bus to attend class. She loves learning and is dedicated to earning her Associate in Technical Arts degree.
“I just want to be treated like every other student. I know there are resources for me just to get there in time, like the golf cart, but I’m more independent,” Sander said.
Mobility has been challenging for Sander since birth. One side of her body is weaker than the other. She struggles to make it to classes when there is only a 10-minute break in between.
This quarter, she goes between Whitehorse Hall and Grey Wolf Hall, sometimes arriving late to class. Studying web and graphic design, Sander is focused on a future career where her mobility will not hold her back. “Just because there’s something different about my body doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with my brain,” Sander explained.
Long distance travel is an issue for Sander, and she is often faced with using the stairs if the elevators are down. Stairs are her biggest challenge due to the risk of her falling, so she must take her time and concentrate on every step.
The future site of EvCC’s Learning Resource Center (LRC) will be moved across the street from main campus to College Plaza by 2022. With many students and faculty up in arms about the decision, a question continues to circulate. What will the move do to students with mobility challenges?
“It’s hard for me to walk at a fast pace. I kind of get nervous because some cars don’t stop and some cars are impatient,” Sander explained. She is concerned a trek across the street to the future LRC site would be exhausting for her.
On Nov. 20, 2019 EvCC faculty organized a rally to protest the decision to move the LRC and signed a petition that was to be given to the Board of Trustees (BOT), who had voted 4-1 in favor to move the LRC. This was after spending over a year trying to plead with the BOT on the decision.
“We feel like part of EvCC’s big message to the community is that we are welcoming and equitable to all types of students, including disabled students. We absolutely, for their benefit, want to have the library and tutoring center here,” said math instructor Karen Linton.
Addressing the BOT, EvCC student Juno Valencia said, “Check your privilege. Not a lot of people have a car. Not a lot of people can walk a certain amount of distance and feel good when they get there. You’re limiting a lot of people if you move it across the street.”
In regard to the future LRC location, the college has discussed ideas for how to accommodate students, including the potential of a sky bridge. Both Valencia and Sander think the sky bridge needs to be considered.
EvCC Center for Disability Services (CDS) is available on-campus to talk to students regarding disability accommodations. “Reasonable and appropriate accommodations are provided to students with documented permanent or temporary physical, emotional, or sensory disabilities,” is stated on the EvCC webpage for CDS.
You can contact the CDS for more information via phone (425) 388-9272, email [email protected] or by visiting Parks Student Union Room 267.