Volume 92, Issue 21

Thursday, October 8, 1998

far out


Proposing better campus access

By Dave Yasvinski
Gazette Staff

Campus could soon become much more accessible if the university chooses to act on one of three proposals presented to the Campus and Community Affairs Committee Monday.

The presentation made by Pete Hill,VP-campus issues for the University Students' Council, favoured the first proposal which would require the university to match dollar-for-dollar the $108,000 collected through the student accessibility levy.

Hill said the creation of the accessibility levy was a USC initiative which decreased the projected amount of time it would take to make campus fully accessible from 200 years to 27 years. "I'm sure that number has dropped more, but we're still looking at over a decade until we have full access."

Hill said he was optimistic the university will choose to act on one of the proposals. "I think there was some interest in the room – the university's financial climate isn't the best but hopefully they will take one of the options.

"It was an important opportunity just to have the students' concerns heard," Hill added.

The second proposal Hill presented would involve a partial matching of this levy with the money being used to finance a long-term project after accumulating for five years. The final proposal would involve collaboration between the university and the USC on a short-term project.

Making the campus as accessible as possible is a priority to the university, said Ted Garrard, Western's VP-external. "We are always open to taking a look at suggestions."

CCAC will evetually report to the Board of Governors after the proposal is examined by the Property and Finance Committee, who will determine the merit of the proposals.

"Any university and particularly Western wants to be mindful of disabled students and to recruit these students you have to be accessible," Garrard said.

Vikesh Dhir, USC commissioner for students with disabilities, said he is hopeful the university will help out with the much-needed funds. "There is lots to do. People don't realize our campus is very inaccessible. We've done a lot of work with the levy but there is still so much more to do," Dhir said.

It takes an enormous amount of work to make older buildings accessible, said Deborah Stewart, coordinator for the service for students with disabilities. "A few students have had to drop courses because buildings were not accessible," she said.

"I can't speak for administration but I would like to think they'd support this."

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Copyright The Gazette 1998