Senate resolutions take parking into question

Nate Billings

Members of the Student Senate passed two resolutions during their last business meeting April 6 pertaining to access for disabled persons on campus.

The resolutions concerned two places – the Billingsly Student Center and the pavilion near the biology pond.

Eric Norris, Senate president elect, said he hopes to see the Senate take up the issue in the fall semester.

“It’s definitely an area for Senate to look into,” he said.

The concerns are the parking lots in front of Billingsly do not provide convenient parking for students with disabilities. Also, the pavilion does not have a ramp for wheelchairs.

“Anytime we have had a concern about an accessibility problem, we’ve done everything in our power to change it,” said Bob Harrington, Physical Plant director.

It is the work of maintenance to make sure the campus facilities are accessible for disabled persons.

The resolution states Senate will look into closer handicap parking at these sites as well as new ramps.

Stephanie White, director of programs with the Independent Living Center, said she hasn’t noticed a problem with the buildings on campus, but she has heard concerns about the lack of accessible parking.

“We are interested in making sure these individuals with disabilities are able to access public places,” she said.

She said parking spots should be close to the curb cuts so wheelchairs can be easily accessed.

Scott Clayton, accessibility coordinator with the ILC, has also heard some complaints about the parking, but he said the facilities at Missouri Southern are up to standard.

“If you have stairs going up to a place, you need a ramp to go with it,” he said.

Clayton said the ramp and electric doors behind Webster Hall is a good example of what is needed for buildings.

“It has everything you need for accessibility,” he said.

He said one in every 25 parking spots must be handicap accessible.

Also, double doors and a hall width of 48 inches are the minimum standards needed.

“Basically, what you want is a walkway free of debris,” Clayton said. “It’s basically common sense.”

Harrington said he had not heard any concerns about the pavilion, but is willing to listen to senators’ concerns.

“I’m wide open,” he said. “By all means, I’d be very pleased to talk to them.”

Norris said he appreciates the opportunity and hoped the chance will help build relations between the administration and the Senate.

“It’s great when the faculty and staff are willing to work with us,” he said.

The issues will be brought back to the Senate during the fall semester when business meetings begin again.