MSU Faculty Classroom Accessibility for Students With Disabilities

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Meet Katie Feirer, an advertising junior born with cerebral palsy.

“I was born 13 weeks early, I was two pounds,” Feirer said.

She came to MSU because of campus’ accessibility for students with disabilities.

“The last college I went to, there was only accessible restroom on campus,” Feirer said.

Michael Hudson, director of the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, says his office serves a small population on campus.

“We’ve registered about three percent of the students–slightly over three, three-point-one percent–1,532 students worked with our office last year,” he said.

It advocates for accommodations for disabled students.  Especially those that are not so obvious such as problems with mental, health, and vision.

“Disabilities are situations in your life that affect major life activities,” Hudson said.  “So the easy ones to understand are seeing, hearing, walking, moving, but there are a lot of other things that can happen to people such as chronic health.”

And most faculty like engineering professor Dr. Recktenwald does not see many students with disabilities in his classes.

“Most of the time I am dealing with a disability I get a note from the center for disabilities,” Recktenwald said.  “So it’s something usually related to text anxiety or perhaps small font size and things like that that are easy to accommodate.”

He’s learned how to address issues with students who are color blind, learning not to use red font on important text.

“And I was very glad for that,” Recktenwald said.  “Because it was clear that I had a red font in a very important place and it just never occurred to me that a student could be color-blind and not notice a red font.

Student seating is still an issue on campus.  While many lecture halls are fit for the average student, it is difficult for handicap students to access the front.

“In a big lecture hall, I can only sit in the back of the classroom,” Feirer said.  “So if a professor doesn’t use his microphone I can’t hear what he’s saying.  He then has to write on the chalkboard which I can’t see from the back of the class because he writes so small.”

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