Letters to the Editor

Freedom of Speech Burned
As an active student in both Hillel and Anteaters for Israel, I was shocked when I heard that the apartheid wall constructed by the Society of Arab Students was burned down Thursday night. While my contemporaries and I do not share political perspectives with the members of SAS, we certainly respect their right to express their opinions on our campus. The necessity of preserving freedom of speech on our campus is paramount, and must be recognized as such by the students and administration of UCI alike.
The destruction of their wall indicates a blatant lack of respect on our campus and is something which needs to be addressed immediately. I feel that if the clubs across campus can work together towards maintaining open and civil dialogue, despite our religious or political affiliations, we will be better prepared to avoid such violent outbursts in the future. I hope that we can work together in the future to help combat any future impingements against freedom of speech here at UCI, and avoid the destruction of another group’s hard work, their property and their message.

Brianna Ames
political science major

UCI Campus not Disabled-Friendly
As a Campus Representative, I proudly walk backwards around UC Irvine showing prospective students and parents our beautiful campus and boasting about the wonderful services we provide for our students.
However, since I got injured and broke my foot two weeks ago, I was shocked to experience the unpleasant side of our university.
I am thankful for my friends who drive me to campus and back to my apartment every day because I cannot drive myself to school. I am grateful for the Parking and Transportation Services for taking me to classes every day. Unfortunately, I had a lot to lose since I got injured. Due to the budget cuts, PTS can only afford to take injured students to academic classes. They cannot make stops or go back to any locations if I happen to forget something. They cannot take me to the student area for club meetings or to the administration building to work.
The buildings themselves are hard to get around in.
Students in normal physical health would not believe the trouble the disabled students go through to get to places on campus. I, for one, have to hobble through a long hallway, get on two elevators, and walk through the Student Center just to attend one of my meetings. In old buildings like Humanities Hall, while healthy students run down the stairs to get to class, I would have to go around the building, hobble through a long and narrow ramp, get on a shaky elevator, then walk back around the building to get to the same class.
Even some classrooms are not disabled accessible. I have had to wait patiently until a kind passerby would open the door for me. Even then, not all classrooms have easy-access seats for those on crutches. Should a student sign up for class depending on whether the classrooms can accommodate them or not?
The restrooms are also another big problem even for a temporary disabled person like myself. Although many restrooms have the familiar blue placard for the disabled indicating that it is accessible for us, it is truly a false alarm because we cannot even open the door. Once again I would have to wait for some kind woman to assist me in.
Fortunately for me, I only have to deal with this ordeal for a couple more weeks. But each time I take a route different from everyone else, I cannot help but think about those who have to do this for the rest of their lives. Not many of us are aware of the hardship, the weird stares or the unbelievable paths disabled people have to contend with. It would be great if every door opened with the push of a button, every classroom had easy-access seats or every ramp was not so out of the way. But until then, a little help with the door is good enough.

Mary Joy Gamueda
political science and criminology, law and society major