Wilson’s elevator system lacks accessibility

Isabelle Posner Brown

Per the Americans with Disabilities Act, Wilson has multiple elevators so that all students can arrive to class safely and on time. Yet, elevator passes aren’t readily available to students who need them, making transition periods challenging for students with physical limitations.

As a freshman, and one on crutches, the incredibly-limited amount of information available to students about the passes made figuring out who could help me understand how to get one virtually impossible. 

Recently, I tore my ACL, meniscus, and sprained my MCL, which left me on crutches. With a physician’s note, I went to the main office and was told that there were no more elevator passes. It is unclear how elevator passes are distributed, and when I tried to ask administrators for more information on pass distribution nobody could, or would, tell me. 

The solution proposed to me was to wait outside the elevator for someone with a pass to let me in. Though staff members have been accommodating, this solution is not sustainable or efficient.

The elevator pass issue is not only a frustrating example of ableism, but has negative effects for educational accessibility. Because of the lack of passes, I leave class early or arrive late to my next one, totaling 20 minutes of missed instruction on any given day. It is even harder to reach health classes in the A wing because the elevator to get there has not worked for months. I am forced to walk down a small flight of steep steps on crutches. Even worse, those in wheelchairs have no possible way down.

Additionally, many students have what are called “invisible disabilities.” My physical limitation is obvious given my brace and crutch, so teachers let me on the elevator with no hesitation. But, some students who need the elevator have invisible disabilities. For example, my sister—who struggles with balance, dizziness, and fatigue due to a chronic illness—may look like an able-bodied student trying to sneak in for a ride despite being permitted to use the elevator. My sister also has a 504 plan, which is a legally binding document, but because of the pass shortage she is unable to use the elevators.

The one silver lining is that this will likely be just a short term frustration for me; I’ll be done with crutches in the spring. However, there are students at Wilson with more serious and long-term physical disabilities that impede their ability to maneuver around the building. 

I implore administrators to revisit elevator pass distribution. Giving students in need access to the elevator ensures their safety, while improving their overall academic and social experience. •