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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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CSU doesn’t give enough resources for their disabled students

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Colorado State University chooses year after year to leave their disabled students behind.

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CSU is failing its disabled students by only doing the bare minimum. Across the board, CSU doesn’t do much more than what is legally necessary to help their disabled students. CSU needs to give the department the funds and attention that it deserves so they can fully support disabled students.

The reason isn’t that the people working for Student Disability Center aren’t trying. It’s that they don’t have enough funding.

According to CSU’s operating budget for the 2016-2017 year, the budget was near $585 million. In that year, Resources for Disabled Students got about $645,000, which was $0.11 percent of the annual budget. This can sound like a lot, until you realize that only funds around 18 staff members at an average market salary, according to PayScale.

That does not include any other additional cost beyond just paying the staff. Because of all of those extra costs of running a department, only nine people work at the Student Disability Center  . They are responsible for helping over 3,600 students, according to an average from the National Center for Education Statics. The students have learning disabilities ranging from slight ADHD to severe autism, and physical disabilities ranging from a broken leg to paralysis.

They do what they can, but with little respect from other departments. With a mess of outdated buildings around campus, including residence halls without elevators, their efforts often fall short.

Many students with disabilities agree that far more could be done. Morgan Howerton, a junior political science major who uses a wheelchair, discussed the many times he didn’t get the help he needed from CSU’s faculty.

“I knew they wouldn’t help me,” Howerton said. “Earlier in my first semester, I had some sort of stomach flu and couldn’t go long without getting sick.”

Howerton said that week he got sick, he missed an exam. He contacted his professor and explained it can be especially difficult with his disability to get around while sick, so he couldn’t make it to his exam.

“They responded with a cold, ‘Take it up with student services,’” Howerton said. “They gave me nothing.”

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With the funding they currently get, SDC can’t do much more than help students force teachers to let them reschedule tests and offer some students the choice on how they want to take notes.

CSU should give them the funding they need and have faculty and staff go through training on providing care and assistance to their students who have disabilities.

“I knew they wouldn’t help me… They gave me nothing.” Morgan Howerton, junior political science major

CSU is responsible for the way their students are treated in the classroom, and this lack of care and understanding is unacceptable.

The main offices of SDC are a welcoming place where they try and work one-on-one with many disabled students on plans and strategies to succeed in college. Those offices are located in the TILT building alongside the Oval.

As it stands, SDC is an underfunded department that CSU only seems to have because it legally has to.

The solution to this is fairly straightforward. CSU should give them the funding they need and have faculty and staff go through training on providing care and assistance to their students who have disabilities.

The technology available in the classroom also needs to change to meet students needs. Accessibility should be at the forefront of the plans for every new classroom and lecture hall, with a focus on helping people with sensory issues and handicaps. 

It’s time that CSU did more than the bare minimum for students who don’t need another hurdle to get over, and live up to the inclusion they say they stand for

Fynn Bailey can be reached at letters@collegian and onTwitter @FynnBailey.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article previously referred to the Student Disability Center (SDC) as its old name, Resources for Disabled Students (RDS).

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