Kansas student with disabilities fighting for better accessibility on Washburn’s campus

Local News

TOPEKA (KSNT) – A Kansas student with physical disabilities is calling for more accessibility on campus.

Daija Coleman is a senior education major at Washburn University. She spends a lot of time in the Carnegie education building, Washburn’s oldest existing building. However, because she uses a wheelchair to get around, it can be a difficult process.

So, she created a petition, pushing for a new home for education majors in a building that’s accessible to every student.

“I believe that everyone should have access and to an education and as a teacher myself, I will do everything in my power to make sure that everyone has equal and accessible education,” Coleman said.

Carnegie Hall is only ADA accessible on the first floor, which causes simple tasks like going to the library to become a big challenge. According to Washburn Director of Public Relations Patrick Early, any time a student with mobility issues is scheduled in a building like Carnegie, the class is moved to a different room that is ADA accessible.

“Make sure that every program that we have on campus is accessible and we want to make the best possible experience for all of our students,” Early said.

Sometimes, classes can be moved to another building, which Daija said can be uncomfortable.

“You know it is very obvious to my peers that we move locations because of me,” Coleman said.

Early said over the years, Washburn has looked into putting in an elevator for students like Daija to access the upper levels, but it just hasn’t been in their budget.

Daija’s petition isn’t asking for changes to be made to Carnegie though; she’s proposing the building for education majors changes entirely to one that accommodates every student.

“I’m doing this so that I can make an impact that is better for the rest of the community that continues on even after I graduate,” Coleman said.

The group ‘Washburn Student Life’ has since reached out to Daija and is meeting to see how they can do better moving forward. To read Daija’s petition, click here.

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