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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
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USC Student with Disability Seeks Accessibility Around Campus

University getting wheelchair accessibility projects rolling. ATVN's Kenneth Mashinchi reports.

Since its inception 24 years ago, Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act has been working to make facilities more accessible for people with disabilities. 

However, many contend that accessibility issues still exist today in many places.

One establishment that has recently come under fire is USC’s campus, as many students with disabilities have trouble getting around different parts of campus that are not yet tailored to wheelchair accessibility.

After a skiing accident left him paralyzed from the chest down six years ago, USC sophomore Zack Wentz has had to adjust to life in a wheelchair.

However, he has overcome great adversity and is currently pursuing tennis as one of his passions in life, both playing and watching the sport frequently.

But at USC, there’s an issue with that: “I can’t go to men’s and women’s tennis matches because there is zero access,” Wentz said.

At USC’s Marks Tennis Stadium, he can’t even see the court because the only access point to the stands is a staircase.

Wentz is trying to raise awareness about this issue and met with the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) earlier this month to discuss making USC more accessible to the disabled. They discussed accessibility issues in several parts of the campus, as disabled students have issues in many buildings, including dorm rooms, classrooms and various sporting venues.

“In one of my classes, the only option really is to sit in the back of the classroom in a spot where it’s just an empty space in the aisle and I’ve taken my midterms, quizzes, tests on my lap,” Wentz said.

Furthermore, he said that tennis matches are not the only sporting events that he has trouble accessing, as football games at the Coliseum have been less enjoyable for him in the designated wheelchair seating section.

Unlike most students who can sit as close to the field as they want, Wentz is confined to a small seating area about 45 rows up from the field.

Thankfully, USC has been very receptive of these issues, and Wentz has a meeting scheduled with Athletic Director Pat Haden to talk about some ideas for renovations focused on wheelchair accessibility at several sporting venues.

Furthermore, USG aims to expand wheelchair accessibility around campus as well, seeking improvements in classrooms and dorm buildings.

While Wentz is happy that the school has been receptive to his concerns, he hopes to see his influence extend beyond USC and into the city of Los Angeles.


I'm glad USG is expanding wheelchair accessibility around campus. Just wanted to encourage the use of person-first language when speaking about people with disabilities. Rather than "Disabled USC Student Seeks Accessibility" the headline should read "USC Student with Disability Seeks Accessibility" or similar.

Check out the link below for more info:

Great point. I went ahead and changed the headline. And thanks for sharing those guidelines. I will make sure to share with our team and push for implementing across all of our platforms. I don't see why that wouldn't be possible.

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