Volume 93, Issue 17

Tuesday, September 28, 1999


Fanshawe to get King's access

Student to complain about access to class

Budget on meeting agenda

Association forms alumni chapter

Theft and fires occupy campus police

Laurier foot patrol will double you home


Liberal types head back to university

Alcohol education 101

Medical history to get $2 million donation

Caught on Campus


Student to complain about access to class

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

Western's administration is expecting a letter of complaint from a disabled student who was unable to get to one of her classes because it was not wheelchair accessible.

Barbara Hoy, a third-year art history student, said she was to attend a visual arts class at the McIntosh Gallery last week, but soon realized she could not since she the building was not compatible to her needs. "From past experience I knew I wouldn't be able to access the gallery," she said.

Hoy said the class examines works of art on exhibit at the gallery and was concerned her forced absence would affect her grade.

"One of my fellow students said 'How the heck are you going to get in?'" she said. "Unless you're fully able-bodied, you're not getting in there."

"I was asked by [McIntosh Gallery Director] Arlene Kennedy to present a letter of formal protest and I'll be doing that this week," she added.

Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration, said renovations to provide for wheelchair accessibility at the McIntosh Gallery were problematic because of the limited space with which to work. "It's difficult because the McIntosh Gallery operates on three levels," he said.

Mercer explained the installation of an elevator would require substantial funding. "Feasibility depends on funding and the fact is capital monies have not grown, they've probably actually shrunk," he said. "The McIntosh Gallery is not flushed with cash."

Madeline Lennon, chair of Western's visual arts department and Hoy's professor, explained she was caught off guard when she realized Hoy could not attend.

"This has been a long-term problem with the gallery. It's a very small building," she said. "[Administration] looked at it from every direction but there's just no place to build."

She added in the meantime, Hoy would not be penalized for not being able to access the gallery.

Kennedy agreed the problem had been left unsolved, but was looking to Western's Board of Governors to come up with a solution.

Kennedy said she hopes current fundraising activity will make the gallery fully accessible within the next three to five years.

Perry Monaco, VP-campus issues for the University Students' Council, said he was aware of the situation and was confident the university would deal with the complaint accordingly. "The university cannot restrict your right to an education because you're in a wheelchair, but that doesn't mean you have to tear down every building to re-make it accessible," he said.

Hoy said she is looking to administration to promptly solve the problem. "There has to be a solution somewhere – and it's up to them to find that solution."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999