SMU DASS Accommodations

“Getting around campus can be hard enough if you’re able-bodied,” said Peter Davis, co-medical director of SMU’s Health Center. “Getting from place to place, certainly if you have an injury, particularly a knee or hip or ankle. It can make it even more difficult.”

Sophomore Carlyn Mattson had a seven hour surgery to fix her lifelong hip dysplasia just weeks before the start of school. She was confined to a wheelchair for two weeks and has been on crutches for twice that long. One obstacle she was not expecting was a lack of transportation assistance on campus.

“I had two classes that are back to back on opposite sides of campus and there was no way I was going to make it on time,” Mattson said.

Carlyn contacted the disability assistance and student services office for transportation help to make it to her classes, but they declined, stating that DASS does not offer transportation between classes. They suggested she contact SMU Police if she needed help.

Director of DASS, Alexa Taylor, said the university is not obligated to provide transportation across campus, but to make our campus accessible.

“It was frustrating because DASS wasn’t able to set that up for me and we had to go through the whole hassle on our own,” Mattson said.

Carlyn decided to try TapRide, a student-wide, on-campus golf cart transportation service. Through an app, she can call a golf cart a few minutes before class and it comes directly to her.

“It was very efficient,’ Mattson said. “All the Tap Rides were extremely friendly and they actually gave me their direct number – an even better number – than just calling PD and having them call Tap Ride.”

The only problem is…

“I think most students are unaware of those services on campus,” Davis said.

The university is taking strides to ensure that students are more aware of their services. They already provide ramps, elevators and smooth sidewalks. To learn more about the accommodations around campus, visit the Disability Accommodations and Student Services website.

For SMU-TV, this is May Bolte.