Perspectives on SIU accessibility

By Dean Reece, Daily Egyptian

Sam Goodin, director of Disability Support Services

Goodin, who previously served as assistant dean of students at the University of Michigan, said SIU is a phenomenal campus for people with disabilities, but there is always room for improvement. 

“[SIU] couldn’t even come close to the most accessible campus because some campuses were built entirely after the passage of the civil rights legislation… requiring all buildings to be made accessible,” he said. 


The university is continually improving its accessibility, Goodin said. He said Evergreen Terrace will transform one of its three bedroom units into an accessible two-person bedroom, and a new elevator will be installed in Woody Hall within the next year.

Goodin encourages anyone with accessibility issues to notify Disability Support Services.

Clarence Council, an SIU student with Cerebral Palsy who uses a motorized wheelchair

Council, a freshman from Chicago studying radio, television and digital media, said getting around in Carbondale is challenging on the weekends. He said he has turned over his chair on campus before.

“I have flipped my chair a few times once in the Pulliam circle drive, and once while getting on the bus at the Student Center,” said Council, who also has poor vision. “Curbs are not my friend.”

Phil Gatton, director of Plant and Service Operations

Gatton, who has worked at the university for more than 15 years, said SIU’s reputation as an accessible friendly campus is true considering the number of people with disabilities who attend it.


“The beauty of our campus starts with the fact that it’s all kind of one location and it’s all flat terrain,” he said.  

Since he began working here, SIU has spent about $10 million on renovations following updates around the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Of the complaints he has heard, Gatton said people continue to emphasize the need for power assisted doors. He said the university is adding more to department suites, restrooms and main entrances of buildings throughout the campus. 

Gatton also said SIU is adding unisex restrooms to upcoming projects, which will allow a safe area for someone with a disability and their attendant.