A Rampin’t Rant

LU offers slippery slopes and snowy ramps this holiday season.

By Tim Smith, Copy Editor

This week, I was going to write a rant on my frustration with people who don’t signal or, worse yet, are selective signalers when driving around Thunder Bay. However, as I was leaving our weekly Argus meeting, I spotted a student having difficulty using the ramp outside the entrance to the UC at the Outpost. This particular student had broken her foot/ankle and was using a wheelchair temporarily. The narrow snow-covered ramp didn’t help her descent.

Throughout my years as a student at Lakehead, I’ve slipped enough times on campus to know to watch my step. Yet, every year I forget about those who have to watch their roll. Unlike the participants in that yearly Kine assignment (that confusing week where you see a student in a wheelchair or on crutches one minute and then jogging to hand in a late assignment the next), students who rely on wheelchairs or similar mobility devices are bound to be frustrated with the accessibility options here on campus. The outdoor ramps are narrow, icy, and covered with snow; slopes like those to the ATAC are difficult to ascend by wheelchair.

The message this sends is that accessibility is not a priority here on the Thunder Bay campus. I understand it’s difficult to keep up with the snowfall in these northern climes, but during class hours there shouldn’t be any reason the ramps, stairways, and paths can’t be cleared. The ramps themselves are narrow, or have awful bends in them like in and outside of the Agora. It’s obviously not that easy to outright replace them, but, in the future, any ramp built on this campus should be widened and directed in a straight line. I can’t figure out why anyone would ever design them any other way. Even the ATAC, one of the newest buildings, has probably the shittiest ramp but the ATAC gets chirped enough as it is. Space saving shouldn’t matter more than ease of use and access.

While commuting to classes this winter, make sure to bring a shovel, a sandbag, and lots of extra padding in case you bail. If you see a student around campus stalled by a bump or ramp, don’t be afraid to inquire if they’d like a hand (never assume they need one, however). Lakehead’s got other priorities, like repairing the leaks in the tunnels and fixing the front door to the ATAC…again.