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viewpoint

Accessibility

| Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Thank you, The Observer staff, for your thoughtful series last week on disability at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. It is an extremely important topic worthy of continued attention and priority.

We agree wholeheartedly that our community must be inclusive and accessible in order to allow students, faculty and staff to flourish during their time here, and experience Notre Dame to the fullest. We hope to clarify one point made in the editorial published last Friday that made reference to the accessibility of our historic halls.

Our residential tradition is indeed a hallmark of the Notre Dame undergraduate experience, and while it would be difficult to achieve full accessibility in each of the historic halls short of tearing them down, we are pleased to note that, already included in the next planned cycle of renovations outlined by Vice President for Student Affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding in her letter to the campus community this past January, all historic halls on the renovation schedule will be modified to ensure that they can be easily entered and that their common areas, restrooms and a complement of student rooms will be fully accessible to all students. The University is firmly committed to designing renovations, such as those that will be incorporated into Walsh Hall during this next year, that will provide every student access to any hall to visit classmates and friends without concern for accessibility.

We look forward to continuing improvements to the spaces and places that make our community distinctive, and we hope that this further information is of help in our ongoing campus conversations.

Doug Marsh
associate vice president, University architect

Heather Rakoczy Russell
associate vice president for residential life
April 26

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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