The accessibility projects are improving how people get around campus, as well as upgrading existing facilities that pre-date the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The updates have focused on improving accessible entrances, auditorium seating accommodations, and restroom facilities. “The improvements reflect the University’s ongoing commitment to foster an inclusive environment,” says Aaron Hodukavich, director and ADA coordinator in the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services . “These are positive steps to ensure that everyone feels like they are part of our community.”
Projects across campus have included such work as a heated ramp to the Syracuse University gateway sign just north of the Place of Remembrance; the Einhorn Family Walk, which provides a gentler slope and better access to buildings along part of University Place; a new elevator to serve Gifford Auditorium in Huntington Beard Crouse Hall, where there had only been an exterior ADA entrance to the auditorium; the creation of single-occupant accessible restrooms in various residence halls and campus buildings; and the addition of accessible teaching stations. “Having improvements to access is not only essential but vital to everyone’s experience of a welcoming campus that expects and emphasizes the value and ethics of belonging,” says Diane R. Wiener, director of the Disability Cultural Center .
Having improvements to access is not only essential but vital to everyone’s experience of a welcoming campus that expects and emphasizes the value and ethics of belonging.
Removing physical access barriers is among the initiatives the University is deploying as a result of the Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion’s short-term recommendations. As part of the commitment, the University brought on ADA consultant Danny Heumann ’91 to work with Campus Planning, Design, and Construction. “What’s wonderful about being here is that Syracuse has given me so much in my life in terms of making me the person that I am today,” says Heumann, who discovered the challenges of navigating the campus in a wheelchair as a freshman. “I wanted to take my talents and motivation and inspiration and bring it back to my alma mater—especially when my alma mater wants to do everything in its power to be the most accessible, inclusive university in the country.”