SHSU Official On ADA Compliance: “We’re Going To Correct It”
The Nov. 19 edition of the Houstonian notes that SHSU Student Government Association (SGA) officials met with SHSU facilities management to discuss their recent Americans with Disabilities Act and Safety Report findings:
Robert Ferguson met with Associate Vice President of Facilities Management Doug Greening Wednesday and questioned the university’s position on SGA’s report.
“We agreed that [the university] would look at all the stuff in the report and try to accomplish as much as we can,” Greening said. “We’re doing a lot already. What we’re going to do is...go through all these things and try and identify them...[i]f there’s something there we need to correct, we’re going to correct it.”
SHSU does not necessarily conform to ADA, but it conforms to the Texas Accessibility Standards. According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, TAS meets and exceeds the expectations of ADA. Greening said that if the school is in compliance with TAS, it’s in compliance with ADA.
Ferguson said that this report was just the “tip of the iceberg." "I guarantee that we could fill an entire report on one building at a time,” Ferguson said. Ferguson also said that the university wouldn’t install railings in the mall area for the sake of aesthetics, a fact that Greening himself confirmed.
“If we were to put handrails on all of those walkways, it would probably look funny,” Greening said. “It would probably take away from the landscape. A lot of people don’t use those unless there are steps involved. If that’s the only alternative we’ve got, then maybe we’ll have to take a look at it.”
Greening said that the university is testing out a new spray adhesive on the pebble walkways in an effort to make getting a firm grip during wet weather more feasible.
Ferguson is a disabled veteran and has been pressing the university for two years in reference to ADA. He said the measures the university is taking are a “quick-fix” and regardless of a grip-increasing spray, still make most of the ramps on campus noncompliant with ADA.
“The ramps are designed for golf carts,” Ferguson said. “We have 1,300 veterans on this campus right now, and more and more are coming back with severe injuries. When it rains, you never see a single disabled student on campus. This pea gravel is very aesthetically pleasing, but functional? You’re sure as hell not going to stop yourself from slipping and sliding if you’re in a wheelchair.”
Although working closely and cooperating with the university, SGA isn’t relenting if SHSU does not follow through with fixing its alleged noncompliance.
“They’re finally figuring out that I’m not going away,” Ferguson said. “I am educated on it, and I know who I can talk to whom, if it comes down to it, can shut this school down.”