by Gloria Bacci
Ryerson students with mobility disabilities were confined to the first floor of the Student Campus Centre Monday, after its only elevator went out of service.
“There was no way for people who (couldn’t) climb stairs to access the second and third floors,” said Saburah Murdoch, Student Advocacy Co-ordinator at RyeAccess, a group that addresses accessibility issues on campus.
Without the elevators, Murdoch, who uses a motorized wheelchair, can’t get to her office, located at the Ryerson Students’ Union on the second-floor of the SCC.
In the past, she has used the lift at Oakham House if the SCC elevator broke down. However, that lift was also out of service.
As Murdoch explained, even when the lift is working, it isn’t accessible to all students because it’s key-operated.
“As a RyeAccess co-ordinator, I have (a key),” she said. “Other people who need to use the elevator are screwed unless they can get a hold of me.”
Denise Hammond, RSU Equity and Campaigns Organizer, reported the broken elevator to the SCC’s management office Monday morning. By late afternoon, the elevator was still out of order, but it was functioning again on Tuesday.
According to Peter Callis of Campus Planning and Facilities, water seeped down the elevator controller in the machine room and damaged the mechanical brain of the unit.
Hammond would like to see the Planning and Facilities department, who looks after campus repairs, respond faster to break-downs.
“Their response time for putting out the sign saying ‘it’s broken’ is quick, but it takes them longer to actually repair the elevator,” she said.
Hammond said the situation highlights the broader issue of campus accessibility.
“Sometimes I think that people who are able bodied don’t really think through the need or necessity of an elevator,” said Hammond.