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
Occasionally there would be semesters that were so bad health-wise that after a while, it just got so embarrassing to email to professor that I just stopped. I felt so ashamed. And then even when I did feel good, sometimes I couldn’t get myself to go because it had been so long since I’d been to class. I was ashamed and embarrassed and afraid. My accommodations letter stated that the professor needed to be lenient with absences and that the student and teacher needed to decide on a specific number of absences that would be appropriate. However, when you have a disease that makes you so sick you are bound to your bed for hours, and sometimes days, you just can’t pre-determine how many days that semester, for that specific class you’re going to be healthy. That’s just not how it works.
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.
I originally didn’t know that there were accommodations for people with mental illness until my friend at BYU-I suggested it, because she got some for ADHD. I made an appointment, but it took me weeks to get in. By the time I got in my mental health was a wreck. I came in crying and hyperventilating with doctors’ notes and he still tried to push me into having less accommodations. I was at a breaking point, and I finally got the accommodations that I so desperately needed.
The stairs are also something I never want to deal with again. I am grateful I have the ability to walk up the stairs, but during days of fatigue, aches and pain, and general brain fog attributed to the fibromyalgia condition, stairs and inclines were just the daily torture. The hills were sometimes worse than stairs. I remember trying so hard to rush to my classes, and being in just a lot of pain. And the pain wouldn’t go away right away.
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.
Probably the most frustrating thing about trying to go to BYU as a disabled student is how hard it is to feel normal. Laws and ramps and elevators are great and all, but if the professors aren’t willing to help, it can be so difficult. I’m here at BYU because I want to learn, because I want to be a good student. But I can’t do my best because things happen.
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 assumed that they were just processing the paperwork, but when I reached out to them several more times, they admitted that they had just forgotten about me. And all that time I had gone without services. Since my hearing loss is only moderate, I was still perfectly able to be successful in my classes, but it was such a great help when I was able to start having transcribers join me in my classes.
Though I was only in a wheelchair for a few months, I truly came to understand what it meant for BYU students to “go forth to serve.” There definitely needs to be some improvement to the accessibility of BYU campus, but as long as the students and faculty continue to show love, all will feel welcome.
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.
I am honestly curious about what other accommodations could have been made had the University had the same structures in place then as they do now. But, I will say that my experience went much better than it could have gone, and I was able to return to full coursework in January of '97 without difficulty. I am grateful for the medical professionals and the professors (and the administrative professionals) I worked with during that semester that allowed me to have the 'leave of absence' I needed for my health without too much of an issue.
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.
When I became disabled, I felt I became worthless to both BYU and church. I have contributed so much to both. Feeling forgotten and cast aside has been the foundation of my faith crisis.
I was refused accommodations when I became wheelchair bound. Which, I know is absolutely illegal, but it’s hard to know which fights to choose.