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.
In addition the lack of parking makes it very difficult for me to make it to classes. They continuously build new things and take away more parking access. It’s frustrating
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 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.
BYU also does not have enough handicapped parking. When I had a torn ACL and when my friend was in a wheelchair, we learned that we had to be at campus bright and early if we wanted to get a handicapped spot. There simply are not enough spots to accommodate the students that need them. While a handicapped pass at BYU qualifies students to park in any parking spot, parking on the far end of a parking lot is completely disheartening when you know you have 8 minutes to make it to class, and a whole lot of ice and snow to crutch over.
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 am a student athlete at BYU and I spent 10 weeks on crutches last year. I ultimately stopped going to class for the rest of the semester because of the amount of anxiety it gave me to go up those stairs.
My main complaint is with BYU Parking. It took me over a year to figure out BYU's policy on where students with disabilities can park, because only until about a year ago was the information clearly displayed on the website. For over a year, I was never sure where I could park, even though I have a handicapped placard. Now I know that I can park in any parking lot, in any slot (excluding those reserved for service vehicles, deans, or specific placard numbers) as long as I have my placard up.
I found myself taking twice as long as typical when traveling from the TMCB to the JKB. I had to walk on sleet every day. Fortunately, the sleet would melt relatively quickly as it became later in the day, but that doesn’t mean it’s an acceptable or safe condition for me to adapt to. At 9am there is a rush of kids heading south on campus and that gives me and the others heading toward the JKB a significantly smaller piece of the sidewalk. I should not have to worry about being knocked over, slipping, or being pushed off the sidewalk.
A lot of buildings–especially the older ones–only have one elevator. So if it breaks down you are out of luck. This has only happened to me once, but I thought I would mention it just to acknowledge that the problem exists and it would be cool if BYU tries to make sure this isn’t an issue for the new buildings.
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.
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 did notice that my map of the campus became very different and I became accustomed to remembering where the elevators were instead of stairs. Whenever an elevator would be broken I would have to go out of my way to find another one that would get me to my destination
I believe I was very lucky that I was extra motivated at the start of the semester so I got ahead of all my classes so when I needed to take 2+ weeks off to recover from surgery instead of having to withdraw from classes