Cutting corners cuts handicap spaces

Cutting corners cuts handicap spaces

by Kari Koehler

I know we’ve all seen those signs that say “90 steps to better health” and I also know we all ignore them. When it’s cold I’d rather cut through a building than take the long way outside just for that little bit of warmth.

But when does cutting corners go too far?

I live in Colonial and there are students who cut corners in their own way – they park in the handicap spaces. I don’t know why they do it, but they’re not the only ones. Sadly, parking in the handicap spaces is not only common at Simpson, it’s common everywhere. And when I refer to parking in the handicap spaces, I’m not talking parking there for five minutes outside Kresge to load your laundry. I’m talking students who park there for days.

I live in the bubble world of Simpson every now and then; living by rules that could only apply here and never cut it in the real world. But a line has to be drawn somewhere, and I’m drawing it. No able-bodied student should park in the handicap spaces.

Just because a handicap student is not living in the housing unit doesn’t mean handicap people will never be around. One Saturday my disabled father had to park in the second row and walk further because two students decided to park in the handicap spaces. I highly doubt I am the only person with a disabled family member or friend.

I don’t know what it’s like to be disabled. Besides my father, my first experience with the reality of being disabled was reading Born on the Fourth of July. Like most Simpson students, I came from a small town where diversity is sometimes hard to find. That’s no excuse. It’s so easy to use ignorance as an excuse; we’ve all done it. But nobody is ignorant enough to think disabled people aren’t ever going to come to campus.

Do people actually find it OK to park in handicap spaces here at Simpson? Are you willing to gamble that no disabled person will need the space while you occupy it?

People are awarded the permits to park in handicap spaces because they need them. I know we all compete for the front spaces to be closer to the building, but are we desperate enough to park in a space that will make disabled people have to travel further to get to the building? Does this not sound ridiculous to anyone else?

I’m an able-bodied young person and it sucks to have to walk from the back of the parking lot. But I would never park in the handicap space because by doing so, I’m making it okay for everyone everywhere to do so, and that means my dad has to walk farther.

Unlike most problems, there is a solution here. Simpson students and the greater population need to get it through their heads that handicap spaces are for people with the stickers or license plates. They’re not for kids who don’t want to walk another 50 steps to their building and they’re not for someone running late and needing a place to park at the grocery store.