Opinion: MSSU not easily accessible


As an athlete, I’ve always taken walking for granted. Daily, I perform more challenging tasks, such as skipping in rhythm or continuous pop-off drills.

However, I was recently injured participating in my sport. This injury has restricted me to a boot and crutches to get around. This makes even the simplest task, such as going to my car, a 15-minute event that leaves me frustrated and winded. 

Something I also took for granted when walking was the basic ability to open doors. Or even the luxury of having close parking. 

For example, in the Quad’s residence building, there are no automatic handicap-accessible doors, and the elevators are few and far between. When I was walking, I would usually use the stairs located right outside my door to get to my room on the third floor.

With my injury, I have to take the elevator route, which takes three times longer. While using the elevator route, I am greeted with four sets of doors. None of them are automatic with a push of a button, so it is a battle to open the door while remaining upright on my crutches. 

It’s like that for other residence halls as well. Most entrances in Lion Village and East Hall also lack the proper accessibility requirements. Even though all buildings are equipped with an elevator, places like East Hall only have one, and it is located in one corner of the building.

Academic buildings possess its own issues as well. For the majority of the academic buildings, there are no close handicapped parking spaces. The handicapped spaces we do have are far away from the building and, therefore, impractical. 

The lack of wheelchair-accessible ramps poses a potential issue as well. For instance, Hearnes Hall has two main entrances: an entrance from the first floor (on Lantern Drive) and the entrance from the Oval. Hearnes Hall’s first-floor entrance requires visitors to go up two stairs. This may not sound like much, but it can be a lot for those in wheelchairs. To avoid those stairs, one must go around to the opposite side of the building. On the way, they will face an extremely steep hill and a somewhat bumpy sidewalk in order to get to the other entrance with no stairs. From there, one would have to travel all the way to the south side of the building again to reach the elevators that are barely advertised and tucked back in a corner. 

Additionally, in buildings such as the Leggett and Platt Athletic Center, I couldn’t even tell you where the elevator would be. Leggett and Platt is a building I go into every day for practice and lifting. I know that place like the back of my hand, yet I don’t know where the elevator is. 

Overall, I don’t think Missouri Southern is handicap accessible, but there are significant improvements that can be made. Even something simple like clear and visible signage indicating elevator locations. Anything would be a step in the right direction to help those in need.

Without these accommodations, this campus is slowly turning away an entire demographic because the disabled community can feel unwelcome or like they won’t be able to move around the way they need to.