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SHSU closer to reviewing ADA compliance

Associate Editor

Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 01:02

The Sam Houston State University main campus is one step closer to finding out if it is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Doug Greening said in an email that the university is “working to address the issues listed in [Student Government Association’s safety report].”

“[We] intend to provide complete responses to each element in the report before the end of the semester,” Greening said in the email to SGA’s University Affairs Chief Spencer Copeland.

The 2013 Campus Safety Report by SGA stated there were at least 68 individual spots on campus that were in noncompliance with ADA. These range from wheelchair ramps being too narrow to restroom accessibility issues.

The report brought up accessibility problems witnessed by various senators within SGA in Academic Building I, the Bobby K. Marks Administration Building, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dan Rather Communications Building, Evans Building, Health and Kinesiology Building, Lowman Student Center, Music Building, Smith-Hutson Building, Thomason Building, University Theatre and White Hall. Every small house on campus was reviewed and reported on in a separate report.

Copeland authored the report and said Greening has been more than helpful in the whole process.

“We raised concerns, which were unknown to him, and now we are working together to get problems on campus fixed,” Copeland said. “He started work immediately and has taken concerns raised in the SGA Safety Report seriously. We couldn't have gotten as far as we have without his help.”

Greening said the review of the report will be conducted in-house by a faculty architect who is well-versed in ADA.

SGA is expecting students to raise more concerns about their experience on campus in order for SGA to act as the official voice of the student body.

“We, as students, need to vocalize our concerns and bring it to the attention of the administration,” Copeland said. “Once we do this, we need to continue to work with the administration to get our goals accomplished. It is our hope that the university will do all it can to ensure our compliance with the law and will work, with our help, to improve life on campus.”

Some of the issues brought up regarding small houses won’t be taken care of, according to Copeland, due to the scope of the issues they bring. He said nothing short of demolishing and rebuilding the dorms will do.

Complaints on the report about 13 of the small houses on campus include the lack of elevators, ramps, automatic doors, handicap parking, brail and handrails.

Copeland said SGA is satisfied with how the university is handling the ADA noncompliance situation.

“Overall, we are very happy with the response we have gotten from the university, but we will continue to work until all of our problems are fixed,” Copeland said. “There are still a lot of problems to fix, but the only way for them to be fixed to through cooperation between the university and the student body.”

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