I have been able to go to many campuses across the country and I have to say BYU is probably one of the least accessible campuses I have been on. It is also the one that I have been on the most so I have more time to notice things that would be helpful if available.
First of all the UAC is in a very difficult to find place and not the easiest to navigate to using a chair. I only went there one or two times the entire time I was on campus because I never really needed accommodations. The majority of the accommodations offered by UAC I felt like were geared more towards people who need help with notes in class or extra time on assignments. Very few options were offered for physical access to buildings and getting around campus. There were very few times I used a wheelchair on the main part of campus but when I did it was very difficult to get around. Particularly getting from lower campus by the RB and the IPF up to the main part of campus. There is no good way to get up the RB stairs in a wheelchair unless you go to the opposite end of campus and through 3 different buildings.
As far as housing I never worried about my housing being handicap accessible but I know several people who have looked and there are 1 or 2 options for handicap accessible housing outside of on campus housing which is geared almost solely to freshman and sophomores. The options that are there are very expensive and do not have any parking.
Another huge problem that I had was parking which is a problem for every student. Whenever I would try to park on campus near my classes all of the handicap accessible spots were taken and the closest ones that were available were on the opposite end of campus as my class. There were many times I drove around for 30-40 minutes trying to find a spot available and was late to class. Most days it isn’t a big deal for me to walk a lot but there were times that my prosthetics hurt or I would have to go spa lot of hills that made this a huge hassle and made getting to class very difficult. Many of the buttons to open handicap accessible doors are also broken and the doorways were not wide enough or bare wide enough to fit a wheelchair through.
I never really had my chair on campus unless I was playing wheelchair basketball so I never really paid attention to the handicap accessible bathrooms but I can tell you that very few buildings had bathrooms that were handicap accessible and the ones that did they were in very weird places and difficult to find.
I was a swimmer and wheelchair basketball player before coming to BYU and competed at the national level in both sports. Coming to BYU and I had communicated with the head swim coach and worked out a plan so that I could continue training and competing in swim once I came to campus. I came my freshman year expecting a lot of different things and none of them worked out. I was essentially kicked of the team because I couldn’t keep up with the collegiate swimmers and was stuck training by myself. I had no options to train or continue athletics of any kind. I decided to stop swimming and after that I just swam recreationally and played wheelchair basketball on campus.
So, a lot of this I could be pretty biased on because of what I have seen at other campuses but, the most accessible campuses I have been to all have an entire building dedicated to adaptive athletics. Now these schools also have collegiate wheelchair basketball programs, rugby programs, and many different options for adaptive athletics. I don’t know if that is the most practical thing for BYU. However, As I would come and try and use the weight rooms and basketball courts the courts were taken over by intramural and pick up games. I very rarely have a court that I could go shoot with by chair that I wasn’t in the way of putting someone else in danger. If I would find a court to play on many times it would be taken over by a bunch of guys trying to play a pickup game and would get kicked off. I was trying to get ready to try out for the national team and I really had nowhere to go while all of the other students athletes had teams and designated places to train. I don’t know if I have a solution. I think this was a pretty unusual thing that I had to deal with that a lot of other students with disabilities may be didn’t. Oh , also IF the RB was full I would go to the Smith Fieldhouse to shoot around and play but many times the ramps to get onto the court were put up and not placed in a way that I could get onto a court. I would have to ask people to help me get the ramp down or get out of my chair to get on to the basketball courts in my chair. That is definitely something that can easily be fixed. If the collegiate teams move the ramps (which they shouldn’t anyways) they need to put them back right away so it is accessible.
Now the weight room. The weight room is completely inaccessible. Students with physical disabilities have no way to use the equipment. It is all ellipticals, treadmills, and things too high for someone in a wheelchair to reach. It would be very helpful to have some hand cycling machines and weight benches with more stability to allow student with balance issues to use the weights and exercise. For long time BYU had adaptive intramural programs such as wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby and I talked to the intramural program extensively while I was there and they refused to do them stating that they would not get enough support but I now lots of students that would be interested in playing.