Arthur Christory / Gavel Media

CSD Launches the Boston Accessibility Review

ICON Nightclub is a fun place to dance with friends on a Friday night, but getting to the bathroom requires taking a steep set of stairs. Union Street Restaurant is a great date-night location, but they have strobe lights for events, which they often activate before checking for customer sensitivities. The Circle is a fun spot to get food and drinks, but the basement is difficult to access. There are great restaurants, bars, and clubs around Boston College and in the greater Boston area, but these places are not accessible to everyone. The Council for Students with Disabilities (CSD) is developing a guide to rating the accessibility of various locations.CSD needs help from the BC community to make the most comprehensive guide possible.   

CSD is a branch of UGBC that "advocates for (the) accessibility and inclusion of disabled students on campus through event programming, meetings with administration, and peer interface." The CSD consists of five coalitions, all of which work together to affirm this mission. The outreach coalition is one of the five sections, and it is currently leading the effort to build the Boston Accessibility Review (BAR), a guide listing the accessibility of various facilities based on whether a location meets a set of standards.

Pioneered by Katherine Sinars, MCAS ‘23, the BAR includes criteria that apply to people with visible and invisible disabilities. The criteria that determine the grade of a location are whether it is wheelchair friendly, has accessible seating, parking, and restrooms, if it has online menus, and ramps, allows service animals; and if it has a brief description of the staff's attitude. Additionally, the list provides a place for "other notes," in which specific details are included; for example, if there is an elevator or whether the aisles are tight or easy to move through. While many people think of elevators or ramps when considering accessibility, the BAR includes accessibility factors that many may not consider. For instance, online menus are important for people with partial blindness to easily see menu options, giving them the option of adjusting the menu brightness and zooming in.

 All criteria included provide individuals with disabilities or individuals accompanying people with disabilities reassurance that they will not encounter roadblocks when entering a facility. When creator Sinars says, "the mission of the BAR is to give people of all ability statuses the opportunity to enjoy the world around them," she encapsulates the message of the BAR. Everyone has the right to feel safe and welcome in these places, whether they are restaurants, bars, movie theaters, or shops. The BAR helps to preview and find places that are both enjoyable and accessible for all." 

So far, the BAR has graded seventeen faculties on their accessibility. These seventeen places have grades ranging from As to Ds. While CSD has been working diligently to collect and grade places on the BAR, they are looking to BC students and faculty to contribute to this list for a more thorough resource of accessible places. The help of the BC community will allow for a more diverse and comprehensive list. So, next time you are out, please answer "yes" or "no" to the above criteria and DM your answers to the CSD Instagram at bc_csd. If you do not have an Instagram and still want to help out, feel free to send your review to sinars@bc.edu. Your contributions are significant.

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