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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

A Walk Around Campus

Walking around the campus can be troublesome and tiresome to any of the students or faculty. There are the uneven tiles in the courtyards, the hard to decipher signage in the buildings, and difficult to locate stairwells. Now take away a sense or ability. Imagine walking the campus with your eyes closed with a stick to find your way around.

What would happen if you are going down the right hand side of the stairs and somebody is standing or sitting there? You bump them and they turn around and ask you, “What the f**k?” They might see your cane, they might even apologize. But your heart skipped that beat. What if you were in a hurry? Your cane misses the person sitting along the edge on the fifth stair down. You go right over their head. Your knees against their back and over you go. Head first; throwing your cane to allow your hands to catch your fall.

You enter the stairwell in the Healey; the set near the 2 elevators on the UL. A male student, running down the left side of the stairs, slammeds his crotch into your hand as you reach out to grab the hand rail. The “gentleman” whips around with some choice words and puts his fists up (so you are told by passers by) to fight fight. You apologize and went on my way.

The Ross Center for Disabilities Services is located at CC UL211. You ask the person at the information desk in the UL of the CC where that is. The person says, “It’s down across from the café over there.” They pointed. To give directions to a blind person they pointed. You ask a couple more questions and determined that you need to turn right, go toward the elevators, then go down the hall and turn left at the café. You trail your cane along the wall until you come to an opening on the right. It smelled like coffee so you turn left. You come to a pole but you don’t find a door. You weren’t told that CC UL211 was set back 20 feet.

On your way out of the Ross Center you find several of those poles. You think wow it would be neat if I could count the poles to get to the Ross Center but that would put you on the wrong side of the hallway. It would be easy for you but not so much for the sighted people who are staying to the right.

You, some of the blind students, asked for a mat to be placed across the hallway outside the Ross Center. At first you are told by facilities management, “No problem”. It’s been a year. Last time facilities are asked about the mat they advise you that another blind person had found it. You guess the implication is that all blind people are the same; even the blind-perspective students coming to find out what this “Student Centered Urban Public University” has to offer. One would think a “Student Centered Urban Public University” could find a couple hundred dollars to put up a mat to make it easier for students to find the place designated for students that have disabilities.

Let me now speak from personal experience. Recently some of the automatic doors to the front of the Campus Center have been shutoff so that they don’t open. I’ve been told that they put up signs. My white cane can’t read signs. My friend’s guide dog is very smart, but alas it is illiterate. There are some cue line barriers across some of the doors. I can’t see those either. I understand the need to save energy. So at least open the same doors that you did last year. Or maybe look for a new solution.

My last rant; when a person jumps over my cane it’s scary. I don’t see you coming. I don’t know why you’re doing it. Sometimes you don’t make it. My cane gets stuck between your legs and you trip. You say your sorry and walk off. My cane is at best bent and I must fix it before I move on. Maybe you kicked it away and someone helps me find it. Or maybe you broke it and I am without my tool and out $50.00.

We, the students, are the Beacons that make UMass Boston a great light to our community. We are the Student Center of this Urban Public University. Let us see others as part of what makes this experience great. We are the students from around the corner and from around the world. We are the students who can see, who can hear, and who can walk. We are the students who cannot see, who cannot hear, who cannot walk. We are the students first. Let us all learn!