The Association of Chronically Ill and Disabled Students (ACID) held their first wheelchair campus tour, in which participants tried to navigate campus in a wheelchair to get to their regularly scheduled classes.
ACID is a student-led organization founded in Oct. 2014. Olivia Auriat, the president of ACID, said, “Our focus includes trying to make sure RAs are trained to deal with disability and chronic illness properly so that they can deal with things like allergic reactions and asthma attacks that might not seem like chronic illnesses.” ACID additionally hopes to ensure that when facilities are being renovated, the university plans for a more accessible future.
The event last Saturday held 14 different participants, including Mount Allison Students’ Union President Dylan Wooley-Berry. “I was shocked to discover just how hard it was to move around campus in a wheelchair,” he said.
Wooley-Berry said he will be sitting on the committee which is reviewing the master plan of the campus. “The Mount Allison Students’ Union fully intends to work with stakeholders to bring forward policy to the university senate,” he said.
The event revealed that the Marjorie Young Bell Conservatory of Music and Hart Hall cannot be accessed by a student in a wheelchair. Additional problems include the absence of a handrail on the ramp in Flemington.
In terms of improvement to the campus, ACID is looking for “small things,” said Auriat. “We are aware that we’re dealing with an older campus. We can’t make everything accessible, but at the same time […] we don’t see any reason why – with proper planning and consideration – we can’t do that here,” said Auriat.