Handicap buttons should be a requirement on campus restrooms

Fabienne Fleurantin/Staff Writer

In my first semester at FIU, my best friend and I would always hang out in the law building. We found it extremely sophisticated and perfect for getting work done because of how silent it was. But I noticed something else — before entering the women’s restroom, there wasn’t a handicap button to open the door for disabled students.

When I saw this, it irked me. How are disabled students supposed to open the restroom door without proper accommodations? Doesn’t this violate the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990?

The ADA was enacted to “guarantee the right of individuals with disabilities to receive reasonable accommodations in order to work and participate in all aspects of society. It prohibits disability discrimination,” as mentioned on www.olmsteadrights.org. The purpose of the ADA, as stated by Congress, is “to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.”

On the University’s College of Law website, it states that: “Students should not assume that because their application to law school indicates the presence of a disability that this information is known to the Disability Resource Center.”

Yet, the accommodations for students with disabilities are not as adequate as one would think.

The law building is not the only place on campus that doesn’t comply or properly accommodate students with disabilities. There are restrooms in the Management and Research Center building that need to be physically opened instead of having a handicap button to automatically open the door.

Title II of the ADA prohibits public entities, including state and local governments, from discriminating against “qualified individuals with disabilities” by excluding them from services and activities due to their disability. As part of the ADA, federal regulations were created to enforce the Act.

One of the regulations created by the United States Justice Department is called the “integration mandate.” It requires public entities to “administer services, programs, and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of the qualified individuals with disabilities.”

FIU has done an incredible job of providing the necessary resources for students with disabilities; they have the Disability Resource Center as a place where students with disabilities can go for support and help throughout their college career. However, more needs to be done in order to make every student feel accommodated and their rights respected.

Putting a handicap button in the entrance of restrooms would be much more helpful and benefit students with disabilities to feel more at ease in their academic institution.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of FIU Student Media Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Image retrieved from Flickr.

1 Comment on "Handicap buttons should be a requirement on campus restrooms"

  1. Stephen Metzer | October 5, 2016 at 12:38 PM | Reply

    Automatic door openers are not required anywhere in the ADA Standards. They are encouraged, especially on exterior doors which have a much higher threshold for opening force (15 lbs.) than interior doors (5 lbs.). In some cases door openers are a solution where other standards, such as clear spaces at manual doors, cannot be attained.

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