Scarce accommodations for wheels on The Hill

Monday was a tough day on the Hill.

No, it wasn’t raining, and no, I wasn’t trying to make it to the financial aid line before the employees close its doors at 4 p.m., even though all signs read the office hours are from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. I had one problem; how do I get around campus on wheels?

I’m not wheelchair-bound, but I had to take my wonderful nephew with me while I ran some errands, and he just so happened to be in a stroller. But I never noticed until then that Florida A&M University is not particularly wheelchair-friendly. I know FAMU is located on one of the highest hills in Tallahassee, and that in itself can be a reason for the problem. But can we get some more ramps please?

I have to admit that prior to pushing my nephew around campus in his ever so light stroller, the thought of not being able to run up or down the stairs or trot up a hill to take the shortcut to class never crossed my mind. I never even thought about how difficult it can be for someone who is unable to walk to class.

Yes, I did say walk; something that many students take for granted.

If you have classes back to back, FAMU allocates 15 minutes between classes. Now on foot I can attest to the fact that if one of your classes is clear across campus from the other, then 15 minutes gives you just enough time to get to where you have to go. But when it comes to traveling on wheels, 15 minutes can just be impossible at times.

I know FAMU provides additional time and accommodations for individuals in wheelchairs, but the university needs more ramps, and some of the bathrooms on campus need to be widened to accommodate wheelchairs.

Most of the new buildings on campus are very wheelchair-friendly. But there are those old buildings – you know the ones I am talking about – that scream, “Please remodel me!”Just think about it. How hard would it be for someone in a wheelchair to get around in the dorm rooms? Could they even use the showers and bathrooms in some of the dorms? Don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing this great institution of higher learning, but there are just some things that can use some much-needed upgrading. I think this issue should at least be placed on the list for next year’s improvements.

As for me, the next time I take my nephew on campus I will give myself an extra 20 minutes to get to my destination, an action that will forever make me appreciate the fact that I am able to walk to class.

Katrelle Simmons is a junior English education student from Orlando. She can be reached at