Students are required to take one University Writing class on the Mount Vernon Campus. Between the trek from the Foggy Bottom Campus to the Vern, traveling can be time-consuming and tiresome, but it does not need to be.
Riding the Vern Express to attend a mandatory UW class tacks on time for students to travel back and forth. For some students, especially those with a physical disability, the trip can be more difficult because they may need to spend extra time getting on and off the Vex.
The Vex is also crowded with students before and after UW classes are held, making the ride even more discomforting for a student with a disability. Officials have a responsibility to students to ensure all classes are accessible, but GW cannot fulfill its promise when all UW classes are not located on the main campus. The University should hold some UW classes on the main campus to ensure students with disabilities can more easily access the required class.
Getting on and off the Vex can be difficult for someone with a physical disability. Although the Vex accommodates wheelchairs, there is not adequate space for students with physical disabilities to have a comfortable ride. The issue is exacerbated during peak travel times when UW classes are beginning or ending. Students with disabilities should not need to worry about traveling on the Vex to attend a mandatory course.
But it is not just the required class on the Vern that disadvantages students. Most UW professors hold office hours on the Vern, which can be troublesome for students because office hours are held outside of class time, and students would need to travel back to the Vern to visit a UW professor. In addition to holding UW classes on Foggy Bottom, officials should also consider moving professors’ office hours to the main campus.
The University may currently hold UW classes on the Vern to ensure first- and second-year students can experience both campuses. For a student who lives on Foggy Bottom, they may not have any reason to travel to the Vern unless they know a peer who they want to visit on the campus. But officials are doing a disservice to students who struggle to get to the campus. While the UW department is located on the Vern, the University should strive to designate some classes on Foggy Bottom.
Making it to the Vern is not easy, especially for students with disabilities who may already struggle to access academic buildings on Foggy Bottom. Other students who do not have disabilities may also struggle to attend the class if they have classes directly before or after their UW. Students should not have to take extra time to attend a required course if they do not need to.
The University should be aware that students with disabilities and students with crowded schedules struggle to travel to the Vern and should work to offer more UW classes that are not on the Vern. Officials could add UW classes to Foggy Bottom and allow students who are registered with Disability Support Services to be the first students to register for classes on the main campus. Other students could fill up the remaining slots.
UW is a mandatory course, and the University must ensure everyone has equal access to it. While the Vex might be accessible, it is not comfortable or convenient for students, especially those with disabilities who might have trouble getting on or off the Vex while rushing to class. Designating some UW classes to Foggy Bottom creates a more accessible campus for all students.
Kiran Hoeffner-Shah, a sophomore majoring in political science and psychology, is The Hatchet’s opinions editor.
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