Campus should be more accessible


Areebah Bharmal, Staff Writer

We have all experienced that moment when we are running across campus because we are late to class, or to meet a friend. A lot of the time that means jogging up the stairs in the Student Union or taking the outdoor staircase in the middle of Main Campus. These stairs always seem inconvenient and we may shake our heads at the idea of having to climb them once again, but we do it anyway because we have to and we can. But not everyone has the option of climbing the stairs and maneuvering around campus — for those who can’t use the stairs, navigating campus can and should be easier.

To get to most places on campus you have to climb stairs, go up a ramp or use an elevator. However, the locations of accommodations, such as ramps and elevators, are few and far between, forcing those who require them to take longer, more tedious routes. For those who are new to campus, it can be difficult to get situated due to the accessible routes being tucked away in corners and harder to find.

One of the main ways to get around the large staircase between McKinney Humanities and Multidisciplinary Studies is to use the stairs or elevator located inside the Student Union, and exit between the union and the MH building. However, recently this door was barred, forcing students and staff to take different routes. This made the already inaccessible campus even harder to navigate.

While the large staircase is inconvenient, even areas where there are only two or three steps are problematic for those who can’t climb steps. These are things that we may not even notice because going up or down a couple of steps does not seem that bad, especially compared to the other staircases scattered around campus. But even these couple of steps force others to seek out ramps that are out of the way. Ramps are supposed to make the campus more accessible and easier to navigate for those who need them, yet they are hidden away, harder to find and take longer to get to.

The Sombrilla in front of the JPL has a couple of steps surrounding it to get to the seating, fountain and entrance to the library. These are steps that we may not even think about until we can’t use them, and the two ramps necessary to get from the fountain to in front of the MH building are on opposite sides of the Sombrilla. Anyone who uses the ramps is forced to take longer routes because of their placement which seems counterproductive to their purpose.

UTSA’s mission states that it is “an institution of access and excellence,” and it is long overdue for the campus layout to reflect this.