EDITORIAL: All buildings should be held to the same standard of livability and accessibility

Elmhurst College should ensure that all spaces are accessible for every member of its community.

Students with mobility disabilities have limited options for accessible spaces. Even in buildings where elevators are present, there are still small or heavy doors and narrow hallways to get in and out of the elevator, making it difficult to access.

On top of that, some spaces have all of the above issues, and do not even have an elevator.

When space in Cureton and West Hall fills up, some students find themselves in a dorm with wheelchair accessibility, such as in Schick, which has a ramp, but also has small rooms, no air conditioning, and only one accessible floor.

Some faculty offices are only accessible by stairs, and some classrooms are cramped and require extra tables to accommodate students, and at that point, space becomes limited.

Some classrooms are set up on risers that would require a wheelchair user to sit directly in front of the teacher or to lift their chair over a step to sit at a desk.

Another example that hits close to home is The Leader newsroom, which is located in the basement of Dinkmeyer. If an editor or a staff member who uses a wheelchair wanted to join The Leader, they would not be able to access our office.

Students deserve an education that goes above and beyond to ensure their equal inclusion and opportunity to succeed. Is this not what the school proudly boasts in their mission?

Even if these standards are acceptable within the American Disabilities Act’s rules, we believe EC should be responsible for more.

Our handbook mentions disabilities and accessibilities, and it puts the burden of requesting “reasonable accommodations” on the student.

While EC cannot anticipate everything, the handbook should mandate certain guaranteed protections, resources, and processes for students with disabilities beyond “reasonable accomodations.”

The school covers several bases and stays within the parameters of the law, but we should hold the school to the highest standard possible.

Our living and learning environments are limited to only certain populations of the campus, and that is not fair. It is not enough that certain buildings have elevators; the entire campus needs to accessible beyond the requirements.

The school should explore the possibility of creating a more inclusive environment to live up to its own expectations of inclusion.

Everyone deserves the opportunity to learn comfortably, and EC must be held accountable for ensuring this beyond the bare minimum.

COLUMN: They are humans, not 'bad hombres'

Nova Uriostegui

COLUMNIST

Border security is not something new; however, the dialogue around it has become filled with misconstrued information. It is time to challenge and fix to have more educated discussions and not just uninformed arguments.

The misconception that all immigrants are monstrous rapists and drug dealers has become the main stereotype when talking about undocumented citizens.

This is far from the truth.

We have actually observed a decrease in violent crimes in certain areas where the undocumented population has actually risen since the 1980s.

Individuals who come to the United States have no interest in breaking the law, especially when that means deportation.

Additionally, many immigrants come to the United States for a better life, new opportunities, and even asylum, and bring with them only what they can carry while they dangerously depart to the United States. Most of them are not even guaranteed entry.

When they do arrive, many have no family, no money, and can have hard times finding an employer that will even hire them.

Most jobs require social security numbers, and they do not have that, so they settle for jobs that do not ask questions, often leading to poor working conditions, being taken advantage of, and getting little pay—all with the threat of deportation being held over their heads.

It is also a rumor that these undocumented citizens do not pay taxes, yet they are able to abuse the welfare programs.

Many employers who hire these immigrants actually do take taxes out of their pay, yet unlike individuals with social security numbers, they are not able to file for tax refunds at the end of the fiscal year nor are they able to even apply for welfare.

You need a social security number for all of these things.

Yet people still believe much of this rhetoric when discussing border security, and very few tend to fact check or investigate any further than surface level.

The undocumented citizen story is often very unique and different than the common misconceptions that are blindly followed.

There are stories that need to be shared to show the flaws and struggles in the journey of becoming a legal citizen.

The journey boils down to money, lawyers, and a bit of luck, but even then, nothing is promised.

Just as the journey into the country was one of ambiguity, the journey of finally being recognized by the government is just the same.

While border security is something that needs to be discussed, the citizenship process and bold stereotypes need to be addressed as well.

The misconceptions need to be challenged.

Just because it aligns with one’s political affiliation does not always make it true, and not every undocumented person you meet is going to be a “bad hombre” simply based on their citizenship status.

There is a reason you cannot tell the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’.

COLUMN: The liberal left's true colors: why MAGA country is all of America

Noah Pearson

OPINIONS EDITOR

On Tuesday, November 29 “Empire” star Jussie Smollett was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack at the hands of several men wearing MAGA hats. They called him racist and homophobic slurs, yelled “this is MAGA Country,” poured chemicals on him, and tied a noose around his neck.

Instead of the expected righteous outrage and various anti-homophobia/anti-racism media campaigns that could be expected following a remarkably violent hate crime, the response has been a combination of conspiracy theories and victim blaming.

What is even more shocking than the active harm that many are spewing online is that it is coming from liberals from diverse pockets of the internet.

Gay individuals, black individuals, jewish individuals, members of the theatre community, and any other identity group that Smollett can claim have members boldly claiming that he was lying, or that he created the situation for himself by being out at 2 a.m. without protection.

Several sources including NBC Chicago reported that the police reported the attack to be a hoax. The police then had to release a statement disproving this, forcing these sources to admit to lying and false reporting, and eventually arrested two persons of interest in the case.

While it is painful to admit and no excuse, “MAGA Country” as Smollett’s attackers put it, is to be expected. When the president creates a campaign based in hate for specific types of people using pre-civil rights era rhetoric all while encouraging violence against his dissenters, this behavior is no surprise.

What is surprising is that those who MAGA Country love to hate have turned against a member of their own communities, proving to MAGA, and any future and past victims of these crimes, that if they happen to be attacked at a bad place and time, they will not have your support.

When the communities at risk point fingers at victims of one of the most visible non-police related hate crimes in recent history, the mentality that created MAGA Country is reinforced across every side of the aisle.

Why are we all of a sudden detectives when Smollett is asking for community support, but silent when in 2017, over a thousand hate crimes related to sexual orientation were committed, according to the FBI Hate Crime Statistics?

What happened to everything we learned from the #metoo movement about believing victims, even when they bite their tongues for decades?

Even if Smollett for some insane self-publicity-related reason had lied about his attackers, what this shows MAGA Country is that they can not only get away with hate crimes, but get away with the active support of the communities of the victims.

If communities dissolve when their support is needed most, it shows the rest of the world that there was never any community in the first place.

Is the generation born in the wake of Matthew Shepard's death going to be the same generation that allows MAGA Country to be the only country we know?

Jussie Smollett being attacked was a gruesome test for all of us, and we failed, and those who wish to make America great again will take notice, and soon, may just get what they want.