By Grady Boris, Staff Writer
Most Xavier students get excited as the sleet starts to fall in the evening. The weather is only supposed to worsen from this point on, meaning that there will be a strong possibility of a snow day. Later in the night, the sleet mixes with snow.
Finally, the snow piles on, layered with ice, creating a mixture that grants the students of Xavier not one but two snow days. While this should be a joyous time for all and a fantastic opportunity to relax, sleep or potentially catch up on work, that is not the case for some.
For Xavier’s handicapped students, a snow day or two has negative repercussions. When the university begins to salt and plow the roads, they miss integral spots. At the time of my writing this, it hasn’t snowed for days, yet most of the sidewalks are still buried under a sheet of ice and a few inches of snow.
Ramps for handicapped students also remain iced over. A snow day or two has turned into a nightmare for the Xavier students who are handicapped.
Xavier tries to pride itself on its accessibility and inclusive community, but this is a bald-faced lie. The snow has shown the holes in Xavier’s approach to accommodating handicapped students.
This most recent storm is not the root of the problem, but rather accentuates certain issues within the infrastructure of the university itself.
Take the Health United Building (HUB) for instance. While there is a ramp on the outside of the building offered for those in wheelchairs or handicapped, those who use said ramp are greeted with a set of stairs as soon as they pass through the two doors into the HUB itself — a cruel irony. While there is an elevator available, this drastically slows down those who may already be moving slower than the rest due to their disability.
Better yet, take the parking spots outside of Buenger Hall, meant for students who are handicapped and have a car on campus. There is no ramp close to the spot itself, meaning that those who have to use this spot must find an alternative route to get up onto the sidewalk that leads to the dorm. How can a private university that costs a pretty penny for any student not have something as simple as ramps? It’s performative.
Not clearing the snow. Not having enough accessibility. Not helping those in our community who are handicapped or disabled.
If Xavier actually aims to be inclusive to all within their community, they must change their actions. I do not care what the university says about being inclusive or catering to handicapped students; this is nothing more than lip service until Xavier takes action.
If something as simple as a few inches of snow prevents people in our community from navigating campus, that is despicable. It’s a problem with a simple solution — shoveling snow and salting the walkways better.
Not only does shoveling eliminate a minor inconvenience for all, but it prevents the exclusion of a portion of our community. As a region that gets snow, this should be obvious, and it should already be done. Handicapped students should not have to fear not being able to go to the dining hall or get to their class on time if a few inches of snow fall.
Furthermore, there must be more ramps on campus and better ways for those who are disadvantaged to get around campus. If the school has the funds for a new auxiliary gym, they can find a few dollars to throw towards a small sidewalk renovation.
Handicapped students should not have to wake up several months of the spring semester wondering whether they could make it anywhere if it were to snow. or if ice were to form. Xavier has been hypocritical thus far, and their actions speak much louder than whatever words they choose.
Be better, Xavier. Your students need you to be.