Henderson Learning Resources Center has had its elevator out of order a number of times since the fall semester. This has been an inconvenience for both students and faculty in the building that need this service to be able to attend class and work.
The building is home to the School of Business, as well as the mass media, sociology, anthropology and political science departments. There have been complaints coming into the school’s office that students with wheelchairs and disabilities have not been able to attend class recently.
“I had a student last semester in a wheelchair and currently have one in one of my classes,” said Kathy Menzie, chair of the mass media department. “These students work hard as it is, and I worry about them.”
Menzie also mentioned that there are multiple professors in the building that require the elevator due to their physical disabilities. With this continuous problem, both teachers and students are finding it difficult to get to their destinations in a timely manner.
There is an elevator that helps students get down to the front of the classroom in auditorium-style rooms on the first floor that can be used as a backup. However, on the first day of the spring 2016 semester, that elevator was out of order along with the main one.
Multiple teachers, including Menzie, reported a student was trapped on the second floor of Henderson as he was unable to navigate the stairs due to his wheelchair. Five students carried his wheelchair while he crawled down the stairs.
“The elevator’s an important piece of equipment and caters to both faculty and students that are unable to negotiate the stairs,” said David Sollars, dean of the School of Business. “It seems the elevator is often broken for indeterminate amounts of time.”
Sollars said that many teachers have been moving their classes to the first floor to accommodate their students. They are worried about emergency situations that may put students who are dependent on the elevator in danger, such as fire evacuations.
Students and staff have expressed their worry that the elevator may follow the same pattern as last semester and are worried for students that have been seen struggling.
“It has to be hard, and I wish the best for the students during this semester that work so hard to attend class and do the best they can,” Menzie said.
Attempts to contact Washburn Facility Services were not answered.