One of the many slope caution signs around campus (Photo by Martin Musialczyk)
By Allegra Simpkins
Some students at SCC have expressed concerns about the wheelchair ramps on campus, which are not up to the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Within the last two years, signs were placed at the top and bottom of each ramp on campus that is not up to ADA standards. These regulations require that a wheelchair access ramp must have a 1:12 slope, which is approximately 4.8 degrees.
This means, for example, that a 30-inch rise would require a 30-foot ramp to comply.
When SCC was built in 1964, there were no requirements for wheelchair ramps on college campuses; only in 1991 when the Americans with Disabilities Act was established by the US Congress did the rules and regulations begin to apply.
After the act was put into place, the requirements for the ramps were only for new buildings or major renovations to older buildings being used by the general public.
The main concern with the ramps on campus is their “inequitability,” as stated by a student in a recent accessibility meeting.
Students who are in need of the ramps but unable to use them in a safe and timely manner are forced to take longer routes to their destinations. The steepness of the ramps challenges those who are already at a disadvantage.
It was brought to the attention of the Director of Facilities, Jason Francois, that renovating the non-regulation ramps on campus would create a better environment for those in need of them and could increase students with disabilities attendance at SCC, though he gave no response.