Accessibility is an area in which OWU is not incredibly progressive; at least not in the way we used to be. Parking passes for medical accommodations have recently been exchanged this semester in exchange for an OWU bussing service.
Sean Bolender, director of Public Safety, explained this system during an admissions department briefing earlier this semester. The bus is a scheduled system that requires students to apply and input their classes into an itinerary. This isn’t the one-to-one replacement of the accommodation passes; meaning that it is not exclusive to students with accommodations.
Students were previously welcome to apply for what was the equivalent to last semester's A parking pass (now the E pass). This would allow students with ailments that prevented them from getting to and from class, or risked injury walking, to park anywhere on campus.
Senior L.E. Dodds has been using this parking accommodation the past 3 years.
“Disabled people cannot exist after 4pm,” said Dodds.
Dodds explains that this system is something that only runs from 7 a.m. till 4 p.m. and greatly limits her ability to function as a student. She is a member of the Marching Bishops and cannot get to practice due to the odd hours of the system. As previously mentioned, this could risk her getting to practice late or Photo courtesy of owu.edu. even hurting herself on the way.
Students that rely on this system are also tasked with the added responsibility of needing to call public safety to cancel. Some classes meet at irregular times or irregular locations. So students that have classes that don’t follow a typical schedule are put in a difficult situation.
This goes doubly so for students when class gets let out early. Dodds mentioned having a lab in the science center; this lab lasts anywhere from 40 minutes to three hours which means that when let out early, Dodds must either wait several hours or risk injury to get back.
There can never be a perfect system, but what replaced the previous one feels like a step in the wrong direction.
This is not to assume that the medical pass system has completely gone away. In speaking with an unnamed student that works closely with public safety, it was explained that the E pass can still be given out to students despite its ‘employee’ name.
The volunteer explained that “the change to the A pass name has caused confusion,” implying that the name, along with shifting delegation responsibilities to Public Safety from accessibility services, are to blame for the shift in applicability of the medical pass.