Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.
Threw my back out the other day. Irritating. It happens whenever I spend more time sitting at a desk then I do standing, walking and exercising. It’s pretty excruciating, and years ago, I’d occasionally have to go to the hospital when it happened. One thing it always does, though, is put me in other people’s shoes. Quick movements or lifting my feet to go up steps can set off a spasm.
Monday, I was on my way to my linguistics class at the University of Nevada, Reno. I was crossing Ninth at Center, on the north half of the street, when a car launched off the stop sign and then braked hard to a halt, apparently in an effort to scare me out of the crosswalk. It had California tags, so I presume the driver didn’t know the law. Since it was 3:15 p.m., and she was on her way to the same 4 o’clock class as I was, I know she wasn’t late.
And speaking of assholes, I walked to the new Pennington Student Achievement Center. I was hoping for a stand-up table to study for my test. Since steps are very difficult for me, I looked for the ramp. There was none. Or rather, it was so cleverly hidden that standing directly in front of it, it couldn’t be seen. Think the campus could afford to add a $15 blue-painted steel sign to direct disabled students and guests to the ramp on a 78,000-square-feet, $44.5 million “student achievement center”?
The punchline is that UNR’s Disability Resource Center is housed in that building. People in the DRC office said they lobbied for a sign for the ramp but were denied.
UNR put the ramp on the building because it’s required to by the American With Disabilities Act, but they’re so ashamed to have students in wheelchairs or on crutches that they won’t put up signs to enable them. The University of Nevada, Reno has a problem with diversity of all sorts—gender, race, economic status—at all levels. And if I, as an entitled, middle-aged, white guy, can see it, I’ll tell you who can really see it: disabled visitors, prospective students and people of color.