Weber State has a beautiful campus, but it can be tricky to navigate, and that’s just on a good day.

Snow falls on Weber campus Feb. 6, 2020.  (Nikki Dorber / The Signpost)
Snow falls on Weber campus Feb. 6, 2020. (Nikki Dorber / The Signpost)

When winter hits campus, it becomes a snowy, slushy, icy monster. That makes trying to get to campus impossible when you have a disability.

Each day when I wake up, I look out my window to see what the weather is like. If I’m lucky, it’s a good day for me. However, most days during the winter leave me feeling anxious and overcome with dread.

There’s usually snow, and that means it’s a nightmare for me. Having a physical disability means I’ll never be blessed with amazing balance. Adding snow on top of that just means there’s an 85% chance I’ll wind up falling. Then, factor in the cold weather and muscles spasms and my day usually sucks before I even get out of bed.

I’m tired and angry, but somebody should be. I’m angry that I have to be writing this in the first place. I’m angry that I haven’t been getting the help that I need, especially when I know that something can be done.

When I first came to Weber, I thought that all my concerns and needs would be taken care of because in high school, they were.

My one request was simple: I just needed help getting to campus from my dorm and to classes when it snowed. I thought I’d be able to get the assistance of a golf cart. Naturally, I went to the Disability Services center. Come to find out, they don’t use golf carts to help out students anymore.

The A1 parking lot outside Elizabeth Hall on Feb. 6, 2020. The lack of plowing made it difficult to navigate safely. (Nikki Dorber / The Signpost)
The A1 parking lot outside Elizabeth Hall on Feb. 6, 2020. The lack of plowing made it difficult to navigate safely. (Nikki Dorber / The Signpost)

I was persistent and went back multiple times only to be told, “There is nothing we can do to help you. Let facilities management know, and they’ll make a path for you.”

This is an unacceptable response.

The sad part is that after getting that answer, I still used to try and make it to class when the weather was bad. I’d bundle myself up and leave my dorm almost an hour earlier than I needed to in an attempt to get to campus. I’d take baby steps while trying to ignore the ice patches and snow and slush that were still on the sidewalks even after shoveling.

I fell a lot. I ended up with bruises, pulled muscles and eventually a bruised tailbone. All of my — luckily — minor injuries added to my ever-mounting frustration and sadness.

Now, I prioritize my safety over my education. I shouldn’t have to ask my roommates to send pictures of how campus looks and to let me know if it’s ridiculously icy and snowy, but I do. A good majority of the time, I can’t even leave my dorm because I risk my safety when it snows. I email my professors in hopes they’ll understand, and I do as much classwork and homework to stay up to date with my classes as I can.

Snowy conditions proved difficult on everyone during the Feb. 6, 2020 storm. (Nikki Dorber / The Signpost)
Snowy conditions proved difficult on everyone during the Feb. 6, 2020 storm. (Nikki Dorber / The Signpost)

Recently, I had to miss almost a week of classes because it snowed so much. Despite campus being somewhat shoveled, it was still icy and nearly impossible for me to make it to class.

Since I had to miss a whole week, I’m failing a class. I failed a test, which I know I could’ve done better on if I had been able to get to class. I asked my professor if there was a way to attend virtually, only to find out it wasn’t possible.

In an attempt to actually pass this class, I had to get accommodations to get my unexcused absences taken care of. I shouldn’t have to have my professors ask me if I’ll be in class on a certain day, but they do.

I shouldn’t have to promise my mom that if the weather is extremely bad I’ll stay home, but I do just so she can have some peace of mind.

I’m tired and angry, but somebody should be. I’m angry that I’m not the only one that has had to suffer.

I found out that I’m not the only one that’s struggled. I got in touch with an old classmate’s sister. Her name is Senecca Corsetti. Corsetti is in a wheelchair, and during her time at Weber, she struggled to get around campus when it snowed.

“I called several times about snow removal. The office seemed pretty understanding and claimed they were frustrated by the situation too, but nothing ever changed,” Corsetti said.

Corsetti was often late to classes or wasn’t able to attend because she had to find alternate routes to campus due to snow having fallen on the wheelchair ramps or even being piled onto them from shoveling.

“They would always shovel the stairs first,” Corsetti said. “They should do the ramps first since everyone can use the ramps, but not everyone can use the stairs. Because of this, I didn’t have the same educational opportunity as my peers some days, even though I paid the same tuition and did everything on my end to be there.”

Accommodations are not perks or favors. They’re made to make life easier, and that’s what myself and others like me need. We need a way for our lives to be easier when coming to campus.

Whether it’s bringing back golf carts or adding the option of virtual class when the weather is bad, something needs to be done.

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