By Amanda-Marie Quintino
Contrary to previous reports, it appears that there’s no space available for RyeAccess in the Student Campus Centre, even though its present location is inaccessible and inconvenient.
RyeAccess staff, were told they would not have designated space in the centre because RyeAccess didn’t exist when the first drafts were created. RyeAccess is a student organization that seeks to address barriers on behalf of students with disabilities.
RyeSAC staff remain confident that RyeAccess will be relocating. “We’re committed to getting space in the student centre for [RyeAccess],” said Rob Emerson, general manager of RyeSAC.”I’m more than confident that there’s not going to be a problem.”
However, RyeSAC doesn’t have the power to make the final decision.Emerson said that a newly formed committee will decide whether or not they can find an available room in the student campus centre.
Saburah Murdoch, RyeAccess events co-ordinator, is disappointed that it may not be joining other student groups in the student centre.She said it is essential RyeAccess be relocated because of the inconvenience factor and, more importantly, because of safety hazards in the present location – the basement of the business building.
“Putting all these people in a basement and saying that [a broken eleator] is their only way to get up and down is almost like a death trap,” Murdoch said.”The whole point of having community groups is to establish community.”
According to Denise Hammond, RyeSAC equity advisor, Ryerson has a responsibility to uphold minimum standards, and those standards are not being met. RyeAccess is frustrated by the numerous problems with its current location, which include an automatic door button at the entrance of the building that is out of order and a broken elevator leading to the basement.
When the elevator is functioning, students with disabilities have to call the RyeAccess front desk and ask for the elevator to be sent up, which means students need someone to be in the office at all times.
Once a student is in the basement, he or she can’t use the washrooms because of the steps blocking them.Visiting RyeAccess is a challenge for those in wheelchairs or those unable to walk down several flights of stairs.
Emerson said that he wasn’t informed that the elevator was broken until early last week.
However, staff at the Access Centre claim they made a maintenance request about it in June. Emerson has made calls to repair the elevator, and is now waiting to find out if it can be fixed at all.
“We are taking the issue very seriously,” he said.”If there is no solution, we will scramble to find one.”
Hammond said that something needs to change and that RyeAccess needs to be accessible. He said it shouldn’t serve as a challenge, but as a luxury, for students.