Ariana Aboulafia, a junior at the University of Southern California, recently wrote an article for the university paper with one mission: asking “students of all abilities [to] join together to pressure administrators to take more than a minimalist approach to bettering the lives of students with disabilities.”
According to Aboulafia, USC President C. L. Max Nikias has had a formal request on his desk from students regarding provisions for those with disabilities but has yet to comment – let alone act – on it. The proposal asks that USC, and specifically their Office of Disability Services and Programs, go above and beyond simply providing the “reasonable accommodations” for students required by the American Disability Association.
While USC may have accommodated for access to basic academic or residential buildings and may be within the technical ADA regulations, students argue that there are many buildings that aren’t accessible for disabled students.
In particular, these students believe that this impedes them from having a well-rounded college experience academically and socially. Aboulafia feels this doesn’t just limit their experience but may also limit their ability to graduate. “The Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability estimates that two-thirds of undergraduate students with disabilities are unable to complete their degree after six years, partially because of the hardships they face when looking for accommodations from universities,” she says.
Aboulafia goes as so far as to say that USC could one day be a national leader in this area if it is dealt with intentionally sooner rather than later. If this proposal is acted on, it could greatly increase the general well-being of USC’s students.
It’s worth noting that this is not a problem that is unique to USC; universities all over the U.S often struggle to keep up with the needs of their students and ADA regulations.