MU students advocate for accessible student seating at Memorial Stadium

1 month 3 weeks 22 hours ago Friday, September 20 2019 Sep 20, 2019 Friday, September 20, 2019 3:38:00 PM CDT September 20, 2019 in News
By: James Stanley, KOMU 8 Reporter and Trinidy Thompson, Digital Producer
loading

COLUMBIA - MU students will pack Memorial Stadium to cheer on the Tigers during Saturday's SEC opener against South Carolina, but some students may not feel included.

One step on the east side of the stadium limits the ability for students using wheelchairs to access the student section.

MU students Madison Lawson and Olivia Holler use powered wheel chairs to navigate campus.

Lawson, a senior, first had an issue with the step blocking her path to the student section when she was a freshman.

She became frustrated with her inability to be a part of the student section and this led to her not attending Mizzou football games.

"It was just one of the fights I was like, 'You know, they will probably fix it eventually,'" Lawson said. "So I just kind of walked away that battle."

Four years later her freshman roommate, Holler, still could not access Mizzou's student section during the Tigers game against the West Virginia Mountaineers on Sept. 7.

"Now my roommate is having the same issue and it's just really not acceptable," Lawson said. "When you sit in a section that's a part from the student section, it just really makes you feel excluded."

"It's not a fun feeling," Lawson continued. "It's not the same Mizzou experience that everyone else gets and it's not an equal opportunity to that experience."

Holler and her friends arrived to the game more than an hour before kickoff on Sept. 7 and her issues with accessibility at the stadium began at the student gate.

Stadium staff place a maze of barriers outside the student gate 4E on the east side of the stadium to keep students in a line.

However, Holler was unable to navigate through the barriers.

"There [were] a lot of barricades," Holler said. "So we went through the accessible entrance."

When Holler tried to enter the stadium through the accessible entrance at gate 2E, game day staff gave her trouble about using her student ticket at a non-student gate.

"They told me my pass wasn’t going to work because I had to go to the student section," Holler said. "[But] that way wasn't accessible."

Eventually someone from the student section gate came over and scanned Holler and her friends into the game.

After entering the stadium, Holler made several attempts to enter the student section.

Each try was unsuccessful due to the step on the landing outside the tunnel that connects the concourse to the stands.

Holler said her power chair would have tipped over and gone down the steps leading to the field if she had tried to go around the step blocking her path.

She eventually ended up sitting in the designated accessible section behind Marching Mizzou.

"I was really defeated," Holler said. "I wasn't feeling like I was being included just because I wasn’t able to get in."

Before she left the game at halftime, Holler took a picture of the step and texted it to Lawson.

"She sent me a picture of what she was experiencing," Lawson said. "And I initially started crying."

Later that day Lawson and Holler reached out to MU's Disability Office.

In the weeks since Sept. 7, the disability office has set up a meeting for Lawson and Holler with Mizzou Athletics scheduled in the near future.

The Deputy Athletics Director, Nick Joos, said "we received feedback of a potential accessibility issue within the student section at Memorial Stadium."

"We look forward to sitting down next week with the individuals that brought this to our attention to review their concerns and our concerns and our solution in the near future," continued Joos.

"As a by-product of adjusting our student seating within the stadium prior to this season, we now have ADA accessible areas within the middle of the student sections that were not previously available," said Joos. 

Lawson and Holler are not looking for an immediate solution to the problem.

Both want to make sure that the issue will be addressed for future students attending Mizzou football games.

"I am not expecting improvement right away," Holler said. "But I would like to see some change."

Lawson says MU is an "inclusive university", but she would like to see more accessibility to Mizzou's student section at football games in the future.

"Accessibility and inclusion aren’t the same thing," Lawson said. "Having accessible student seating is really important."

"Mizzou Athletics is committed to providing the best possible experience for all fans visiting our venues," said Joos. "We will ensure that our game day staff are informed of the accessible routes to this new area."

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY — An out-of-control kitchen fire in Jefferson City damaged an apartment Monday evening. The Jefferson City Fire... More >>
28 minutes ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 10:48:00 PM CST November 11, 2019 in News
PARIS, Mo. — A veteran of three wars is one of 108 mid- Missouri veterans who are visiting their memorials... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 10:13:00 PM CST November 11, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Cougars hosted the Park University Pirates Monday night, for the chance to advance to the AMC Tournament... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 9:48:38 PM CST November 11, 2019 in Sports
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public Schools’ Board of Education unanimously approved its 2020-2021 calendar Monday night, aligning with a house... More >>
3 hours ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 8:13:00 PM CST November 11, 2019 in News
CALIFORNIA - Winter weather has hit Missouri and the cold weather is not leaving the state soon. People are continuing... More >>
4 hours ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 6:35:00 PM CST November 11, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Finding reason for optimism in a shut out is not easy. But true freshman quarterback Connor Bazelak provided... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 6:00:00 PM CST November 11, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Truman VA Hospital initiated a Warm Haven program to help shelter veterans overnight as community shelters are... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 5:58:00 PM CST November 11, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - MU students, faculty and military honored fallen Missouri student veterans in the annual wreath laying ceremony Monday. ... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 5:42:00 PM CST November 11, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- Some help is coming for Columbia's homeless students. Veterans United Foundation and Columbia Public Schools have partnered to... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 3:20:00 PM CST November 11, 2019 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - Deputies found two people dead at a home Sunday at the Lake of the Ozarks, according to... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 2:22:00 PM CST November 11, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia's Center for Urban Agriculture celebrated its new partnership with Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital with a ribbon cutting... More >>
9 hours ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 2:12:00 PM CST November 11, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Main mid-Missouri roads continue to be slick, while less-traveled roads are covered with snow but passable. Just... More >>
9 hours ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 1:28:00 PM CST November 11, 2019 in News
SUNRISE BEACH (AP) — Authorities say a man has drowned in the Lake of the Ozarks. The Missouri State... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 12:30:32 PM CST November 11, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Snow, cold weather and some slicks roads prompted scattered closings around mid-Missouri on Monday. The list of... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 10:20:00 AM CST November 11, 2019 in News
LINN COUNTY — The North Missouri Arts council will conclude its Veterans Day celebration with a special ceremony Monday. ... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, November 11 2019 Nov 11, 2019 Monday, November 11, 2019 3:30:00 AM CST November 11, 2019 in News
CENTRALIA — Many girls dream of getting a horse one day. For Gracie Smith, that dream came true today, thanks... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, November 10 2019 Nov 10, 2019 Sunday, November 10, 2019 8:43:00 PM CST November 10, 2019 in News
UPDATED FORECAST from the Live Doppler 8 First Alert Weather Team is updated multiple times every day and night so... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, November 10 2019 Nov 10, 2019 Sunday, November 10, 2019 7:18:00 PM CST November 10, 2019 in Weather
JEFFERSON CITY - Trees and wreaths filled the halls and rooms of the Goldschmidt Cancer Center Sunday afternoon. The Capital... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, November 10 2019 Nov 10, 2019 Sunday, November 10, 2019 7:17:00 PM CST November 10, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 17°
12am 16°
1am 15°
2am 14°
3am 13°