LCC Disability Club brings awareness - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
insty prints lansing
finish your ferris degree in lansing - ferris state university

LCC Disability Club brings awareness

Disability Club

From left, LCC Disability Club members include Hunter Holloway, Adviser Frank Taylor, Paul Palmer and Erica Mupin.  Photo by Mallory Stiles

Mallory Stiles

By Mallory Stiles
Editor in Chief

Out of all minority groups, people with disabilities make up over 20 percent of the overall population in American, and are considered the largest minority group in America. Somehow, however, they seem to have no place in today’s society.

They are often not seen, celebrated or heard, but instead hidden, ignored and dehumanized.

Paul Palmer, both a student at LCC and president of the LCC Disability Club, works hard to make sure that is not the case on LCC’s campus.

Palmer said he knew he would have to be the person to step up to the plate because no one else would be able to offer the expertise that comes from his own lived experience as a person with a disability. So in January of this year, he started a club.

“I look forward to building camaraderie and promoting advocacy,” Palmer said. “It’s open to anyone, not just the disabled. It’s for everyone on campus to mingle and make friendships.”

Academic Success Coach and Club Adviser Frank Taylor has known Palmer for over 20 years, and works closely with him on all club-related matters.

“Basically, it’s an organization that comes together for folks to advocate for themselves,” Taylor said. “(The purpose is) to really make it obvious that there are people with disabilities on this campus who belong here as much as anyone else.

“It’s just about getting together and saying, ‘Hey look, we are here, we exist; let’s make this a place for everybody.’”

The club has 15 people on the mailing list, but is always looking to expand and find more allies, advocates and friends. The club usually meets for 30 minutes twice a month, during which members address some of the more important issues facing the community.

Palmer said that while the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 has helped, it was not enforced regularly enough to have a serious impact.

On LCC’s campus, none of the buildings with more than one story have the ability for a wheelchair user to independently exit the building if the elevators are out of service.

The plan currently is to have them wait patiently in a stairwell until Emergency Medical Services can literally pick them up and carry them to safety. Unfortunately, there isn’t a centralized list of who has mobility limitations for EMS to follow.

So if someone is in a wheelchair and there is a fire, there are a lot of ifs, which is a terrifying thought.

“It scares me quite a bit,” Palmer said. “I’m OK in my chair but I cannot walk down stairs.”

Another student with a sensitivity to noise had to buy noise-cancelling headphones to walk through campus at night because there is a buzzing that comes from the outside lights.

Most of the time, the solution in this situation is installing a higher-quality replacement. While some might say it is irrational to change several lightbulbs for one student, there are plenty of others who would argue that it is not.

The Disability Club is full of stunningly-brilliant people who fight for each other, both on and off campus. They make phone calls, send emails, show up at events and are planning events of their own, all in the name of advocacy.

Every member of this club is grateful for what LCC does have to offer in the way of accommodations, and understands that what is lacking is not an intentional slight. However members say they feel that less would be overlooked if there was more input from those who are being accommodated.

After all orders of business are mulled over, the club plays games and can be known to get lost in a good conversation. It is a group that knows how to stick together, get things done and have a little fun.

“Having people here with some different views and different abilities just kind of brings some extra vibrance to campus,” Taylor said.

For more information on the LCC Disability Club, contact Adviser Frank Taylor at taylorf5@lcc.edu

Discussion

Sponsors

finish your ferris degree in lansing - ferris state university
Back to top