By Jen Lassen
Disabled students on campus feel that they are at a disadvantage due to the lack of a help center solely for them.
“As the system is now, it can take a long time for disabled students to get what they need to succeed,” said Will McDonnell ’14, a student with a vision disability that makes reading for a long period of time very difficult.
According to the University, there are approximately 200 students attending that are considered disabled. These students, encompassing over five percent of the entire student body, include those coping with learning, physical or developmental disabilities.
“Bucknell does not have a disabled help center because [the University] may not feel that it is needed or that it will not be well utilized,” McDonnell said.
Yet Dr. Robert Midkiff, Associate Provost and Dean of the University’s Summer School, points out all of the resources that disabled students can utilize.
“Students with disabilities are served by a variety of folks on campus; these offices include the Offices of the Deans of the Colleges, the Dean of Students Office, the Provost’s office, Student Health Services, Psychological Services, Housing and many others. In addition, these students are supported by faculty and staff throughout the university,” Midkiff said.
Dean Susan Lantz further pointed out how disabled students can receive help.
“For example, in situations where a student has issues with mobility, Dr. Midkiff would contact our staff to assist with residence hall accommodations. Members of Housing Services will meet individually with students to discuss housing needs. The assistance we provide is very student-centered,” Lantz said.
The Disability Services and Resources link on the University’s website provides a wealth of information about where disabled students on campus can go to for help, yet many, if not all, of these locations are shared by the other students who attend the University.
Even though various offices and staff members deal with disabled students, currently the disabled students do not have one office they can go to that is entirely theirs.
“A help center for students with disabilities would provide resources for both professors and students–providing uniformity and support across the board. For a university of Bucknell’s caliber to not have something like this is uncharacteristic of a university that strives to provide the best for its students,” McDonnell said.
Midkiff also offered information on the types of disabled students on campus.
“Those [students with] disabilities span the spectrum from sensory impairments to physical disabilities to learning disabilities, the majority of these students being those with learning or developmental disabilities,” Midkiff said.
“These types of students waste so much time getting what they need to perform successfully. The University should fund a center, train faculty and raise awareness among the staff,” McDonnell said.