NYU to create task force amid campus accessibility complaints 

Some disability-rights advocates are calling for the university to revise its tap access policy for accessible doors on campus, which they claim violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.


The university is assembling a task force of campus organizations in order to discuss accessibility complaints from students. (Hannah Cohen for WSN)

Nicole Lu, Senior Staff Writer

Disability-rights activists on campus say that NYU is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to ensure all of its building entrances are fully accessible. Students who need to use ADA doors, which often open automatically, to enter university buildings are required to disclose their disability in order to enter some buildings without assistance, which some have claimed violates the act.

While many ADA doors on campus can be opened with buttons on the outside of buildings, some doors that are not in the view of NYU Campus Safety officers stationed at posts inside require tap access to open automatically. Without the assistance of an officer, students are unable to enter buildings alone without disclosing their disability to the Moses Center for Student Accessibility, according to Christina Beck, the senator-at-large for students with disabilities and chronic illnesses on NYU’s student government. She noted that the Silver Center and Palladium residence hall both require tap access to automatically open doors.

Students have previously had tap access to accessible doors at university building entrances. In 2019, an undisclosed client of the university requested for tap access to these doors to be restricted to only faculty and staff, according to Beck. University spokesperson John Beckman did not respond to a question about the identity of the client.

“Why would you wait all the way to January to allow students to get in the building that they paid to be in?” Beck said. “Everybody who is able-bodied or somebody that can go through a revolving door has free access to get in and out. But if you have a disability, you have to sit there and wait for the guard to see you.”

Beckman said that NYU is assembling a working group of representatives from the Moses Center, Campus Safety, the Office of Global Inclusion and the Office of Facilities Management to review current accessibility concerns and propose solutions.

“The university takes these concerns seriously and wants an approach that works well for the members of the NYU community who use these doors and that also ensures that our building access protocols promote security,” Beckman wrote to WSN.

Ron Hall, the chair of student government, said that representatives are working to connect students and building maintenance representatives to discuss building accessibility during a meeting in January. The university has recently agreed to make residence halls more accessible as part of an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department.

“We’re trying to identify what are the primary concerns, and ultimately, trying to get to that goal that our buildings have to be more accessible — they just have to be,” Hall said.

Contact Nicole Lu at [email protected].