The University of Mississippi maintains the department of Student Disabilities Services to assist students with self-disclosed disabilities that require accommodation and give support where it is needed.
Student Disabilities Services Director Stacey Reycraft explained that temporary injuries are not officially a disability under federal law. However, the university is able to make some accommodations to those who have injuries that affect them inside and outside the classroom.
The most frequent injuries the office of Student Disabilities Services deals with are those that impact writing, such as broken arms and shoulder surgery, and those that impact mobility, such as broken legs and knee surgeries.
“The most common accommodations we provide for students with temporary injuries are note-taking assistance and assistance writing for exams and tests,” Reycraft said. “For students whose mobility may be temporarily impacted, we can try to move classrooms if a class is not easily accessible. Students with temporary injuries are also encouraged to communicate closely with their instructors regarding any difficulties they are having in class.”
Transportation is also a part of a student’s daily routine affected by an injury.
While there is no legal obligation on the university to provide transportation to any student on campus, the university does create accommodations to assist students during their difficult times.
Director of the Department of Parking and Transportation Mike Harris detailed ways in which in the university aids in a student’s daily commute on campus.
As for students who have their own vehicle, the university has means for them to park close to their classes.
“Currently, we allow those with a handicap placard and a University of Mississippi parking permit to park in handicap designated spaces anywhere on campus, including the Circle,” Harris said. “We also allow them to park in any available legal space that is not reserved for someone else by a posted sign, creating campus-wide access.”
For transportation means other than a student’s personal vehicle, the Oxford-University Transit buses are equipped to be ADA accessible.
Harris also said many new sidewalks have been built and new parking spots created to assist with accessibility.
“This will continue to be the case as the university grows,” Harris said.
Students can also obtain a medical hangtag from the university with the approval of a doctor that will allow them to park in faculty spots. Reycraft mentions that students can also talk with friends and see if they can be of help to take them from class to class.
Junior accounting major Heath Jansen is currently on crutches and described how he is accommodated during his day.
“I’ve been getting my sister to drop me off close to my classes, which makes it so much easier,” Jansen said. “Many people on campus are also nice about holding doors open or realizing I need a little extra space to get through places. The handicap buttons beside the doors on campus are also very helpful, so that I do not have to open them myself.”