With the new season comes new space for Student Counseling Services (SCS), previously located in a non-handicap-accessible space on the quad. Over the summer, the University relocated SCS to a more open and accessible space in the Alumni House on South Woodlawn Avenue.
Michele Rasmussen, dean of students in the University, suggested SCS move from its location on University Avenue after the Alumni Affairs staff relocated to Harper Court.
Rasmussen cited both wheelchair accessibility and more space as reasons behind the move. “Woodlawn has several advantages over SCS’s former space on University Avenue. These advantages include wheelchair access to the building, an elevator, more spaces for therapy groups, and offices and meeting rooms in a much better state of repair. 5555 South Woodlawn is also large enough to accommodate the entire SCS staff,” Rasmussen wrote in an e-mail.
The old space, occupied by SCS for 20 years, had a sidewalk buzzer in lieu of a handicap-accessible entrance. This obstacle forced wheelchair-bound students to wait outside for assistance to get inside, or to schedule an off-site meeting with a counselor.
The University has pushed for increased handicapped accessibility since 2004, when the Department of Justice found multiple campus violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Rasmussen cited changes such as the Student Disability Services’s new location and a wheelchair ramp in the Reynolds Club accessing the Center for Leadership and Involvement’s Advising and Activities Center.
“The University is committed to ensuring accessibility and meeting ADA standards in new buildings and doing everything possible to enhance accessibility to existing spaces when the opportunity presents itself,” Rasmussen wrote.
Dr. David Albert, director of the Student Counseling Service, said that students he talked to were generally positive about the relocation. “Students have been especially enthusiastic. Those who have seen the new space tell us that it feels brighter, roomier, and generally more comfortable,” he said. “We have heard from a number of students that our new location feels more private than our previous one. And many community members—faculty, staff, and students—have voiced their appreciation of the increased accessibility for students who, because of mobility needs, may have had difficulty being seen in our previous space.”