According to the United States Census, a report found that in 2010, roughly 19% of the population, 56.7 million people, are on a range of disability.
Disabilities range from mental to physical, and seen to unseen. Up until 1990, it was legal to discriminate against someone based on his or her disability.
In July of 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) placed a law prohibiting discrimination against disabled people whether that be employment or public services.
The unemployment rate for a disabled person is twice as much as a non-disabled person, at 8% (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
In more urban and big cities, the opportunities for people with disabilities continue to grow more available. Most businesses allow service dogs, have handicap accessibility and specifically hire disabled people.
For example, a bakery in Carmel, Indiana called, “No Label on the Table” employs many workers who have autism. The thought first began when the business owners wanted to give their autistic son a job.
Although some places put effort into hiring disabled people, but many places do not try or want to accommodate.
Many businesses refuse to let disabled people in with their emotional support animals or service dogs.
In her latest video, Molly Burke, a famous blind YouTuber, talks about being denied access to places because of her guide dog. She uses her guide dog, Gallop, to navigate and to be mobile. Without him, it would be extremely difficult to get places.
Regarding college campuses, Indiana State University does try its best to be accessible. However, there are some flaws.
Many of the older buildings doorframes are not large enough for wheelchairs to fit. Recently, the door outside the Starbucks was made into an automatic sliding door and is big enough, but some doors in the older buildings have dividers and the chairs cannot fit through them.
I have also noticed that the cross walks surrounding the campus are not handicap accessible. For example, at Ball State University, their surrounding crosswalks talk when the buttons are pressed. They tell you when to wait, and when to walk.
There is also a lack of stoplights within campus. Many people do not stop at stop signs and even if they do, there is not anything to tell a student when they can walk and when they should not. I think this poses a massive safety hazard for disabled students.
Concerning mental disabilities, the university does allow emotional support animals, but it is a very lengthy and drawn out process. Even after a student is allowed the support animal, there are still restrictions.
The Animal Legal and Historical Center describes an emotional support animal as providing therapeutic benefit and comfort to its owner through companionship.
According to ISU Emotional Support Animal Guidelines and Responsivities, if the animal is not a service animal, they are not allowed inside anywhere but the residence hall of that student unless they have written permission by the university. I think this can sometimes hinder the student from being their best academically.
For some students, being in a lecture hall of 50 students can cause anxiety. With the anxiety comes lack of focus, which then prohibits the student from learning the needed information.
Large masses of people can also cause anxiety, like in the commons. During most times of the day, the HMSU Commons is filled with students. For some, an emotional support animal might provide a student with the comfort they need to take on places like this.
An article written by the Indiana State University Newsroom in 2015 stated that 53% of the 11,000 undergraduate students that attended that year fell under the umbrella for Student Support Service Assistance.
Many disabilities can qualify for this assistance, but over half of the school in 2015 qualified as such. Since then, the number of students who attend ISU has grown which means the number of students who have disabilities has likely grown as well.
While ISU still needs to make improvements, they do offer many resources to disabled people. Offering note-taking services, testing accommodations, and reading services as well are all examples of potential academic accommodations.
Campus accessibility is offered as well with elevators, curb cuts, automatic doors, handicap parking permits, and more modifications for physically handicapped students.
Although ISU does try hard to accommodate the wide variety of the population here, I think further steps can be made to make everyone more comfortable.