Student input on services given

Julie Salguero
October 19, 2005
Filed under News

The Supportive Services program has modified the Bakersfield College campus in order to accommodate the growing number of disabled students.

One change is the set routes for the courtesy carts according to the Courtesy Cart Service brochure. Alos, all elevators are functioning without the use of a key, except for the elevator located in the Math and Science Building, because it is an “exterior” elevator and for safety reasons it remains locked.

The carts are offered as a courtesy by BC for “any student with a verified permanent or temporary mobility impairment.” However, in order to use a cart, one must be an “authorized user,” said Joyce Kirst, BC learning disabilities specialist. An authorized user is given a Supportive Services card with the student’s name on it.

According to Kirst, 1,200 BC students are currently being serviced throughout the department. Disabilities include deafness, blindness, a fractured arm or leg, a learning disability and even “psychological disabilities such as depression.” The department is happy to say that all are being accommodated.

“Students are pleased with our service,” said Kirst.

Another service provided through the department is a section in the BC library where students with disabilities have accommodated computers with special electronic tables that adjust for students in wheelchairs.

Marcela Lopez, deaf studies major, uses the Kurzweil program to “scan” her books. Another accommodation Lopez is grateful for is the testing accommodations offered through the Supportive Service Department. Students with disabilities are allowed to take a test outside of class and are allowed more time.

“They are very helpful with my needs… some [students] need more accommodations, but I feel mine are met,” said Lopez.

Another feature that disabled students enjoy at the library is that accommodated computers are set aside for them to use and one is always available.

“It makes things easier to come in and actually find a computer,” said Lopez.

Yet BC student Mike Gomez, who is illiterate, complains ” sometimes when we come to the library we have no chairs to sit on.” Gomez refers to the chairs that are set-aside for the disabled students that are taken by other non-disabled students. Yet, Gomez said that the department has made changes and his needs are being met.

Enrique Martinez, psychology major, who is bound to a wheelchair said, “we need more ramps; the elevators working and the electric doors are not the point.” Martinez plans to speak with President Bill Andrews about adding more ramps to the BC campus during the campus renovations.

Jesse Collins, psychology major, who is also bound to a wheelchair said, ” The library is accessible to some point, yes.” Collins wishes the electronic tables would be placed upstairs as well. One major concern for Collins and Martinez is that there is no designated area for the GET bus express.

“The express drops off students on an island and we have to cross the bus path, which is dangerous,” said Martinez.

Another improvement made by the Supportive Service department was the addition of another courtesy cart that can hold a wheelchair; it is able to give wheelchair- bound students a ride to class. Martinez said the following in regards to the cart, ” we need more than just one.”

If a student is wondering whether they have a learning disability, any student that is currently enrolled at BC is eligible to take a learning disability test; yet, “taking the test does not guarantee a student’s eligibility for service,” said Kirst.

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