Susan Wise is the Disabilities Services Coordinator at Elon University. She is a part of
Academic Services. Wise works directly with students to accommodate physical and mental
disabilities on campus. We interviewed her to find out what constitutes a disability on Elon’s campus and what Elon is doing to help those with registered disabilities.
Q. What constitutes a disability? What does Elon recognize as a disability?
A. Our duty to provide accommodations to persons with disabilities stems from the
federal definitions set out by the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Americans with
Disabilities Amendments Act, and the Rehabilitation Act. It is therefore not Elon’s definition, but the federal government’s. With the ADA Amendments Act, many more people would “qualify” for accommodations than before.
Q. What is Elon doing to make the university more accommodating for its students with
A. Currently the University is undergoing an accessibility audit that examines the accessibility of Elon’s programs, buildings, services, and curricula and identifies barriers to that accessibility. We will also develop a timeline and plan to address the identified barriers.
Q. How many students at Elon have documented disabilities?
A. Currently, there are over 500 students registered with Disabilities Services.
Q. How many Elon faculty and staff have documented disabilities?
A. I am aware of one or two at this time.
Q. Are all of our buildings accessible for all (i.e. ramps, elevators, etc.)? If not, are changes being made?
A. There is one classroom building still without an elevator (Long). We will be looking to
make changes as the barriers are identified.
Q. What services do students receive if they have a disability?
A. Students with disabilities get accommodations to ameliorate the effects of their disability and level the playing field. Each student’s disabilities are individualized to meet their needs.