Associated Students will implement the Alternative Transportation Project (ATP), a program to assist disabled students with golf cart and pedicab services by the end of winter quarter.
ATP, which will operate on and off campus, is the work of a coalition of A.S. senators alongside the Commission on Disability Equality (C.O.D.E.) and Residence Hall Association (RHA). UCSB has accommodated disabled students in the past through a bus service in the 1960s and a tram service in the 1990s, but both programs ended due to budgetary reasons.
Off-campus senator, C.O.D.E. liaison and second-year undeclared major Natalie Jordan had the idea for the project after suffering an injury that left her wheelchair-bound for six weeks.
“Disabled students, both permanent and temporary, have been overlooked due to the misunderstanding that ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990] compliance has solved all the issues confronting disabled persons, when in fact there is much to accomplish,” Jordan said.
Jordan said she plans to establish additional services for disabled students while in office.
“I have high hopes to create a Medical Equipment Loan Closet for temporarily disabled students in addition to a new Disabled Students Study Room in the library,” Jordan said.
Third-year political science major David Ashalou said he fractured bones in his left knee last year and had to walk to class on crutches.
“The only problem I have with this project is that it didn’t come sooner,” said Ashaolu. “It was so hard to motivate myself to get up and go to class because every walk to school felt like a marathon.”
Off-campus senator and third-year political science major Austin Hechler said UCSB does not have sufficient disability services.
“How is a person on crutches supposed to make it from 66 or 67 DP to class at a reasonable time?” Hechler said. “Furthermore, renting equipment is really expensive and consequently leaves students with no options to get to class or around campus.”
According to Hechler, A.S. is relying on funds from the parking lock-in fee to operate ATP.
“It seems every time students demand services, whether it be mental health councilors, disabled person transportation or other initiatives that students demand from their institution, the University looks upon the students to fund it through lock-ins and additional student fees,” Hechler said.
A version of this story appeared on p. 3 of the Oct. 15, 2015 edition of the Daily Nexus.