Reopen ADA Rooms on first floor of Nugent Hall at UIUC

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Reopen ADA Rooms on first floor of Nugent Hall at UIUC

 

On June 18, 2020, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announced that the campus would reopen for fall instruction. However, on July 7, (nearly 3 weeks later), it was announced that Beckwith Residential Support Services (BRSS) would remain closed for the Fall 2020 semester due to a staffing shortage.

 

Founded in 1982, BRSS provides extensive daily living support for college students with physical disabilities. Services offered by this program include residence in an ADA accessible dorm room, access to Personal Assistants to help with daily living needs, and additional 24/7 support for needs outside of regularly scheduled shift times. These services are essential to the success of the program’s residents.

 

The exclusionary decision to close BRSS, and the delayed timetable under which it was made, mean that students in this program now have less than five weeks to make alternative housing arrangements and secure adequate Personal Assistant staff.

 

In spite of the closure of BRSS, we are urging UIUC University Housing to make the 26 ADA rooms normally allocated to our program available for incoming and returning BRSS students. These rooms should be made available because they are already furnished with the highly specialized equipment that most students rely on to complete daily living activities.

 

Additionally, while there are ADA accessible rooms in other dormitories outside of BRSS, the number of these is small and likely to fail to accommodate the number of students who need these accommodations wishing to return to campus.

 

Lastly, certain crucial amenities found in all of the BRSS rooms are not available in other dormitories. These amenities include a ceiling track lift system used for transferring, automatic door opening and locking technology, and private bathrooms containing roll-in showers.

 

For decades, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has maintained a legacy of accessibility and inclusion for individuals with disabilities that is unparalleled in higher education. With the closure of BRSS for Fall 2020, this legacy has been tarnished. The signers of this petition urge University Housing to make the BRSS rooms available to students for whom these rooms were built and intended.

 

Please help us re-establish UIUC as the hallmark of accessibility and inclusion by signing this petition demanding UIUC to stop these exclusionary and discriminatory actions.