Students have launched a petition for the installation of a ramp for Trinity’s Loyola Building, due to frequent issues with the lift leading up to the entrance of the building.
The lift was out of service on at least nine days since the beginning of Michaelmas term, “and has even been replaced altogether, but continues to malfunction”, according to Eve Wright, a member of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) disability committee. The lift leading up to the entrance of the Loyola Institute is the only way for people with mobility issues to access the building.
At least two full time students in wheelchairs require regular access to the Loyola Institute, which houses the School of Religion and the Irish School of Ecumenics. Classes are sometimes relocated to a building “quite a distance away, mostly Trinity Central on Pearse Street, which is quite inconvenient for students with mobility issues”, Wright told Trinity News. Sometimes classes are not relocated and students have to miss class, she said.
She added that these students can feel as though they are inconveniencing the class by having to have it relocated.
Niamh Herbert, an affected student, said that she feels angry, upset and neglected by College because of the inaccessibility of the building, which she describes as a “recurring issue”. The lift is “the only way that I, a wheelchair user, can access my classes. This isn’t the only lift in Trinity I have regular issues with but it is the one that I need to use most often”, she told Trinity News.
Herbert began studying in the School of Religion last year, and found that the lift broke down “at least once a week”. The lift was replaced during the second and third week of term this year, which Herbert argued should have instead occurred over the summer, when students didn’t have classes.
Yesterday afternoon, a group of contractors told Herbert that they were making further changes to the lift “and that it wouldn’t be in use for the next day or so. It was too late to reschedule my class, so I just returned home”, she said. “I am wondering why this work was scheduled during class time and the School was not informed beforehand.”
Eve Wright said: “With the possibility of having more students who will need a lift to access the building, we think it is important that a ramp is installed so that students don’t have to rely on a faulty lift. This would also make the building more accessible for students with mobility issues who don’t use a wheelchair but still find using the stairs a struggle.”
She argued that there is space for a ramp to be installed, “but the college seems to be preoccupied with maintaining the look of the building than making it fully accessible for all students”.
In addition to launching the petition for a ramp, students have pledged to not go to a class if a classmates cannot attend due to an accessibility issue, according to Wright. “If the class is not relocated, we will stand outside in solidarity with our friends who are not being accommodated properly and block the steps.”