Let it Snow: A Case Study on Accessibility During Inclement Weather

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Background

My name is Rodney and I am a student at a large Northeastern University. I have a mobility impairment and use a wheelchair. In the winter large amounts of snowfall require campus staff to plow all of the parking lots. It has been the policy of parking services to plow the snow from the parking lot into large drifts in the accessible stalls and to shovel the snow from the stairs onto the ramps.

Access Issue

I was prevented from getting to class because the accessible ramps and parking were covered with snow plowed from the stairs and the parking lots.

Solution

I contacted parking services and asked them to remove the snow from the accessible parking stalls and ramps. A staff member in parking services replied that they did not have time to do that. I was too busy to argue with this rude person. I found another place to park; it was a little less convenient for me, but the parking spots and pathways were not blocked there.

Conclusion

This case study demonstrates the following:

  1. Having policies and procedures in place that assure accessibility on a routine basis helps minimize accessibility barriers on campus.
  2. Sometimes students find solutions themselves when campus units do not provide access to campus services.
  3. Because students may not complain when problems occur, campuses should have mechanisms in place to gather feedback from students with disabilities regarding accessibility issues.

Last update or review: January 23, 2013