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The Northerner

Accessibility concern addressed

Jesse Call

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Complaints have prompted the university to place a no parking sign in front of the accessibility ramp in front of University Suites.

For more than fi ve years, Pat Skrocki, a retired schoolteacher who independently volunteers to assist NKU students with special needs, has been active in trying to get the university administration to enforce the parking restriction. She said access to the ramp is essential when she transports stu- dents with mobility limitations. When the ramp is blocked, she must either wait for the ramp entry to clear, or lift students on her own from the vehicle.

Skrocki feels that she has been “given the runaround” by the university on this issue after having her request forwarded several times. She had been called by the university in August 2009, and was told the problem would be resolved.

Skrocki said this is one of many of NKU’s failures: caring for the needs of students with disabilities, and maintaining a blasé attitude regarding them. Her most recent formal complaint was addressed to Steve Meier, associate to the Dean of Students, in November 2008 after reading an article about a Student Government Association safety walk in The Northerner.

Again, she was told twice that her complaint had been forwarded. The duty to enforce parking rules is in the hands of University Parking Services, and University Police can also enforce them.

Peter Trentacoste, director of University Housing, said that housing staff usually do not enforce, nor report, parking restriction violations.

According to Larry Blake, assistant vice president for Facilities Management, the main cause for the lack of enforcement was that there was no sign regarding parking at all. Blake was the person who ultimately received Skrocki’s request that the area be marked. After he was asked about its status, Blake became very apologetic and admitted he had not done the proper follow-up to make sure the area was adequately marked.

“(After receiving the com- plaint), I requested the ramp area be painted yellow and marked ‘no parking’ that same day but the weather at that time made it impossible to do the painting on the pavement. Unfortunately, I did not follow up later — I just assumed it happened,” Blake said.

He also said he would personally make sure that a temporary sign be posted immediately until the weather improves.

“I am very sorry that I did not follow-up to ensure that the ramp area was marked as ‘no parking.’ We will get something in place as soon as possible,” Blake said. “I have also asked campus Police to frequently patrol the area and ticket those who choose to block the ramp.”

But an apology and a temporary sign was still not enough to appease Skrocki.

“Too bad, though, that any courtesy toward myself in responding to my e-mails over the years has yet to be delivered. Until the time that somebody in the administration and/or its division of labor gives me that courtesy, NKU will remain in my mind, as a rude, and indifferent entity,” she said.

“I have heard the president speak on this campus, and he has always invited students and parents to express any concerns. I do believe that this gentleman is genuine; and it is too bad that his hired hands in his administration do not possess that same respect for students and parents,” she added.

Story by Jesse Call

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Accessibility concern addressed