Winther Hall continues to experience elevator hiccups this semester, and it’s more than an inconvenience to some.
“It doesn’t seem right that the elevators are acting up like this,” Winther Hall computer lab assistant Rebecca Starkweather said. “If it’s a repeated issue, it should be a higher priority.”
The general public may take elevators for granted, but to many disabled Warhawks, they’re a lifesaver. At UW-Whitewater almost every building has an elevator, but it’s not just for convenience. The Whitewater campus was home to over 4,930 disabled students from 2013-2017, according to the UWSA Annual Services for Students with Disabilities Report.
However, this doesn’t affect just students. Several faculty and eldery staff require functional elevators to get them to offices and classrooms. This not only limits accessibility for the individual, but affects the ability for offices and classrooms to meet schedules and deadlines, according to Dr. Anne Stinton, professor of Educational and Professional Studies, who suffers from arthritis.
“It seems like they break down once a month or so,” she said.
“People are not merely kept from class or work, but are in danger if something should happen while they are already in the building.”
While most can just take the stairs when the elevator is out of order, many are blocked off from the majority of the building.
Many construction projects planned for the campus this year will affect students with disabilities, according to the Center for Students with Disabilities. The West Campus Utility Project in particular will affect those students, faculty and staff.
“I know a lot of people who have disabilities who live in areas that aren’t accessible, and a college campus like Whitwater is renowned for its accessibility. It’s liberating for students with disabilities because this enables us to be independent,” said Lindsey Zurbrugg, member of the women’s wheelchair basketball team.
Facilities, Planning and Management were unable to be reached for comment.