Student Accessibility In and Out of The Classroom – Accommodating students at HSU

By Garrett Goodnight
Flapjack staff

Traveling across the campus of Humboldt State University can often take an entire day’s worth of energy, in order to make it to class on time. Some students will often have to travel from one end of the campus, to the complete opposite end in a matter of 10 minutes.

ICat Garabay, 23, anthropology major suffered a lower body injury while she was hiking in the forest last semester.

Garabay expressed her thoughts towards the services provided on our campus.

“They’re super beneficial when getting around campus, especially when you have one class in the Behavioral and Social Sciences building and your next is in the Siemen’s Hall,” Garabay said. “The services on campus are extremely helpful especially because of the hills and stairs that make campus so difficult to navigate.”

The HSU campus has informally earned the nickname of Hills and Stairs University for the amount of stairs and hills located on the campus. Because of the campus’ terrain, its staff has prepared for any and every type of injury. HSU provided students with a wide variety of services to accommodate any injury or disability needs.

If a student happens to get injured on or off campus during the semester, there are several ways to go about handling the situation. Let’s say a student happens to get injured off campus, they have the opportunity to go to their local practitioner or doctor. After they are diagnosed they can have their paperwork sent to the Student Disability Resource Center, that way they can properly access the student’s needs.

If a student happens to get injured on campus, they have the option to call the University Police Department to receive service, or they can go to the Student health Center to receive medical attention immediately.

The Student Disability Resource Center promotes their services to any student in order to maintain student’s success at Humboldt State University. “We are a resource to the HSU campus community in its goal to facilitate accessibility and promote Universal Design in Learning,” SDRC About Us statement.

The Student Disability Resource Center has several options open that are available not only to students with new injuries, but available to any student with a pre-existing disability or injury. The school offers accessible classroom furniture, alternate media, assistive technologies, deaf and hard of hearing services, disability-related advising, equipment available for checkout, exam accommodations, LD resource specialist, note-taking services, priority-registration and registration assistance, support group, and transportation on campus from class to class.

Student Access Services Director, Kevin O’Brien elaborated on the system and how it operates.

“If a student can’t make it to class, they will get transportation services and we will communicate with the faculty to set up guidelines,” O’Brien said. “There is a nice collaborative process in place so the student isn’t running around, we really make it a point to see how these limitations will cause barriers for their academics.”

This desire to help students with their disabilities allows any student the ability to receive assistance. Suffering any type of injury during the school semester can really intervene with a student’s ability to participate in the classroom, especially if you are involved with a sport.

Sports require a lot of commitment, as students will often travel across the country to participate and represent HSU. One of the more prevalent injuries that are associated with sports is a concussion, which can often be tricky to recover from.

Humboldt State University has a specific concussion program in place that is run by Justus Ortega, from the kinesiology department. The North Coast Concussion Program was set up to help accommodate students and student athletes if they suffer a brain injury.

On top of the Student Health Center and Student Disability Resource Center working together in a collaborative process, the North Coast Concussion Program is connected to them as well.

Their system works as a network, allowing each center access to student’s reports. Their system allows them to stay up-to-date on very important situations, making sure that students have the best chance to succeed in the classroom.

Suffering a concussion during the semester could perhaps require extra accommodations that are specifically connected to the brain and how to heal properly. Some of the side effects might require students to break from class, as learning and focusing on anything of substance could potentially damage the brain, making the concussion worse.

“The accommodations are there to protect and prevent the further injury of a concussion,” said Ortega. “They are there to ensure the students success in the classroom!”

Ortega believes that Humboldt State University does a really great job at making sure student’s health comes first.


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