The biggest challenge in being in a wheelchair/crutches/a cane was how long it took to get around campus. I don't know if the school can change this, but it's worth mentioning how those with impaired movements need to expend an extra amount of energy getting around campus. On the other hand, I found this aspect of University life enjoyable even though I was impaired. One plus to BYU is that unlike most campuses, most of the buildings with classes are fairly close together. Benches and places in between building to sit made things easier on me. I'm so grateful for that.
I feel like with admissions, there are certain requirements for how many people in each demographic the school has to accept, but they don’t have similar requirements for the accommodations that are made for those students after they are accepted. It’s almost like a false promise in some ways. If you’re going to accept this many students with a disability into your school, you need to be able to accommodate them.
I wish could say I had a better freshman experience than I did. I was living in on-campus housing and was taking more credits than I should have. At first, I could handle the challenge. Then my anxiety started to creep in. I would have depressive episodes that lasted for days, skipping classes, sleeping in, not being able to eat. It was terrible! My grades and my mental health suffered greatly.
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.
My daughter, Kendra Muller, and I had a very difficult time working with the BYU Accessibility Center. We were surprised in the lack of willingness to work with us to give accommodations for her. We went to several other state universities and were given much more personal attention and willingness to work with us on different needs for her accessibility. This was ironic considering the fact that BYU’s mission centers around Christlike love and service
I applied for an emotional support cat fairly early last semester, in about September. I was able to get a doctor's note very quickly and submit my request, and within about 2 weeks it was approved by the campus disability office. However, I still needed to get permission from housing, and that is where the problems came.
Then I got to the point where I could drive but I still couldn't walk very well and so if I had classes in the JKB I could park in the parking lot right next to it but if I had my classes and in the Joseph Smith building I'd have to walk all the way across campus, and that was really hard.
I wish that there was a place I could go on campus. There's nowhere to go to say I think I've been treated unfairly with my landlords. Because they haven’t technically kicked me out or said I cannot have a service dog, I can’t raise my concerns because they have the upper-hand. I also don't want to raise my concerns because I do not want to be evicted from my apartment on account of whatever they say I did wrong. At the same time, I feel this strong sense of injustice.
She was kind and explained that they had received previous reports of this employee being a problem, but the UAC had no jurisdiction over the testing center accessibility rooms. She could not do anything because she did not hire the employees at the Testing Center. I felt confused that the UAC sends its clients to the accessible testing rooms in the Testing Center, but has no say in screening the employees there. It is concerning that disabled students must rely on employees who appear biased against us and who treat us with contempt. I should never be subject verbal harassment because of my accommodations, especially after they have already been granted.
It was difficult for my sister to come back to BYU as a newly disabled person. It’s a big campus, and she was pretty weak. Most professors understood that it was difficult to attend class and allowed her to participate via Skype when necessary. She didn’t have many friends—by the time she got back to BYU most of her friends had graduated. I was disappointed in her ward for not reaching out or trying to fellowship her. She had some interactions with the BYU accessibility center, but I don’t remember any big adjustments after meeting with them.
I've noticed that many (many) elevator and access buttons are behind trash cans. Find me the logic in that. This is in Heritage especially, a technically accessible building complex.
Sometimes access buttons are broken for long periods of time. (for instance, I haven’t been able to get in the front of the Tanner on my own for a couple of weeks).
There is virtually no training for faculty members about accommodations and accessibility. Many of my good experiences with professors involved me doing that training myself and them being willing to learn from what I was saying. Many of my worst experiences with professors involved me being accused of asking for special treatment and denied accommodations. At the time I didn’t know enough about my rights to identify this for the discrimination that it was, and even if I had the power dynamic in confronting a faculty member for that is impossible to grapple with.
I wheeled back to Helaman Halls, building 9, and the elevator was out of order, I couldn’t call the elevator car to the 1st floor. This has happened two times just this semester, the second one being at the Brimhall, where the elevator was out for a day. Nine out of ten times, the elevators will work, but that one out of ten time is always a killer for me and the professors.
To be honest, I didn’t think I fit under the requirements to receive any accommodations. So i didn’t ask for any specific resources… I honestly thought the UAC was more for those who had a learning disability or just needed extra help from a peer because they can’t take notes or something. I really don’t know. But for some reason I didn’t feel like my case fit the criteria because I was still able to get all my work in on time on my own.