Remove the Accessible Buttons Because They Don’t Work Anyway
Hayden Audette, wishes they’d rebuild the Metrodome
As a disabled student at Augsburg, there are many things that I appreciate about the school’s commitment to accessibility for all students. Augsburg has historically been very good at ensuring that students with disabilities receive the accommodations they need to have an enjoyable college experience. The reason I came to Augsburg is because of the school being nationally renowned for its strong disability accommodations, and I have found that for the most part, this positive reputation is deserved. There is, however, one area that could use significant improvement with regards to the accessibility of the Augsburg campus: the automatic door buttons.
Many of the accessible buttons around campus only work about half the time, if they work at all. This is incredibly frustrating for those of us that use wheelchairs and have difficulty physically opening the door ourselves. I would like to propose a solution for the issue with the accessible door buttons: just get rid of them entirely. It might come as a surprise to hear me say this, but hear me out. The accessible buttons on campus not working is hardly a new phenomenon, and rather than having a bunch of buttons that do nothing all around campus, it would be easier to just not have them at all. It’s a win-win: students save time by not having to press a button that doesn’t work at all, and the campus maintenance staff won’t have to worry about spending all their time fixing them.
Before you think that I am advocating for Augsburg to violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, I would like to assure you that it is somehow perfectly legal for doors to not have accessible buttons. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act National Network, “although automatic doors can provide greater accessibility, they are not required by the ADA Standards.” I am not sure why they are not required, because automatic doors are very helpful to many disabled people who have difficulty opening heavy doors on their own. That being said, Augsburg deciding to do away with accessible buttons would technically be legal. Legal or not, having a bunch of accessible door buttons that don’t actually do anything is basically the same as not having them at all, so it wouldn’t make too much of a difference.
Although I know this seems like an unreasonable idea, I really think it could solve the issue with the automatic door buttons. It saves a lot of time and frustration for students, and the school wouldn’t technically have to break any laws to make this change. Once they’re done getting rid of the buttons, maybe Augsburg can work on making sure it doesn’t snow nearly as much in the winter so wheelchair users such as myself don’t get stuck on the sidewalks.