By Rachel Moore
Being a student with a disability can be difficult enough, without the barrier of limited wheelchair access on campus.
There has been a call from students for improvement to wheelchair access on Massey’s Wellington campus, with some saying inadequate facilities are inhibiting students’ freedom.
They say wheelchair access on campus is a major setback for those in need.
There are currently around 15 students and five staff members that utilise wheelchair access on the Mt Cook campus, Disability Services staff says.
Second year student Natasha Tziakis got a taste of what it was like to use access points for those with a disability on campus earlier this year, while helping a friend in a wheelchair.
She says because Massey is on a hill, there are lots of steps, and although there are ramps available, pushing a person, the wheelchair and their stuff up a steep hill makes it unusable.
“It separates a student from the other mobile mass because they have to work harder to get to the next class with none of it being their fault.”
She says there is a large need for more access routes and suggests ramps be connected to each other to ensure an easy route.
Natasha says ideally, steep ramps could be avoided with alternate routes and or connections between blocks.
She also proposes that large lecture halls be on the bottom floor.
Disability Services at Massey University provide a range of services and support for internal and distance students who have health and disability issues that are impacting on their study.
Disability Services staff admits some of the campus’s facilities have good access and others need improvement.
“We tend to upgrade as we go, so the newer buildings have good access as we upgrade and replace facilities, access is enabled as much as possible.”
Anyone who needs help should contact the Facilities Management Services.