The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - 53

Disabled Sudents Living on Campus

of the four colleges in this study contributed
in important ways to students' perceptions of
their accessibility (or inaccessibility). Structural limitations and lack of resources to repair
and update residence halls was a concern of
students, particularly at College Y. As Allie explained, "I think the problem is that they want
to be more accommodating than they are, but
the dorms . . . are all kind of old and run down."
Allie added that College Y was generally
unfriendly for students with mobility impairments and that the air vents were clogged
with dust, which affected students with allergies and ear problems, such as herself. The
lack of air conditioning in his College W residence hall particularly affected Garrett, whose
medication increased his body temperature.
Sintysa, who had many co-occurring disabilities, also noted, "All the cinder block walls kind
of raised my anxiety. It just isn't a comfortable
place to be." While accessibility is generally
considered to relate to the physical structure
of buildings, proximity to faculty and conditions such as cleanliness, room temperature,
and building materials are also important considerations, as these students pointed out. If
the study had included more participants with
ongoing mobility impairments, it is likely that
more physical accessibility concerns would
have been mentioned.

Flexibility
Students indicated that institutions could
improve flexibility in housing options and
housing policies. Rigid room selection policies
discouraged social integration. Policies that
gave room preference to students who indicated they wished to be roommates created problems for some students, such as Caleb, who
could not find another student willing to share

a room with her in a more accessible hall. Additionally, a policy requiring first-year students
to live in suites with four people at College Z
was stressful and unsettling for Sally and Will,
both of whom had psychological disabilities.
Policies requiring students to live on campus
were also problematic. According to Allie, less
stringent policies regarding living off campus
would have been helpful to students like her
who had several co-occurring disabilities.
Allie's disabilities included problems with
her knees, allergies, panic disorder, and OCD,
which made finding a suitable residence hall
room very difficult, especially since her college's (Y) residence halls lacked elevators and
were not well insulated from noise.

Staff disability awareness and
responsiveness helped to create a
caring atmosphere that addressed
many of the problems mentioned by
students, while unresponsive staff
were additional barriers to students'
social integration.

Although campus dining is not always
part of campus housing, students in this study
viewed these two entities as coupled. Participants indicated that policies requiring all students to eat in the dining hall and not allowing
them to take food back to their rooms were problematic. For instance, Rainy, who had an eating
disorder, found it very difficult to eat in front

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The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - Intro
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - Cover1
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