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Making Progress on Access and Barrier Removal

The scaffolding and construction barrier walls are just the most obvious signs of TC efforts to improve access to the campus and its programs for people with disabilities. Richard M. Keller, Director of Services for Students with Disabilities, says: "There's a whole line of commitments to improving access beginning with President Levine's tenure."

The ramp that is under construction at the entrance of Main Hall is the latest project, but Keller said that the College has made a number of improvements over time and more projects in the works.

  • An adaptive technology laboratory in the library is equipped with special software and hardware to assist students with disabilities.
  • Lifts are now available to provide access to the stage of the Horace Mann auditorium and to provide between Main and Macy Halls.
  • New electronic "eyes" will be installed in the elevators so that the door doesn't close prematurely.
  • TTY phones for deaf students and personnel currently are installed on the first floor of Main Hall and in the basement of Grace Dodge Hall. The TC Committee on Access and Barrier Removal has recommended that additional phones be installed in key TC offices.

In addition, a mapping project has resulted in the design of three access maps of the College. The first two to be produced are a graphic illustration of access routes and a tactile version of the map that is available for loan from the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities. The third map will be a series of wall-mounted combination maps, which can be read by both sighted and blind individuals. The College decided to order combination graphic-tactile maps "is to foster collaboration," Keller said. Even with that much progress, Keller notes: "There's lot of stuff that still has to be done."

"The law says that you have to have a plan. The goal is universal access, but it takes time," he continues. "How do you take a building constructed in the 1800s and make it accessible? It can be done, but it is a complex issue."

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