The Disability Resource Center (DRC) accommodates 268 students on PLNU’s main campus, according to Nichole Hope-Moore, the director of the DRC. Hope-Moore is left to make the accommodations with only the help of two-support staff. Students are seeing the repercussions of having a small staff for a center that deals with the needs of such a large number of students.
Evelin Alvarez, a PLNU junior managerial and organizational communications student, says, “The people in the DRC are the sweetest and genuinely want to help their students, but they are extremely understaffed and lack the resources to properly accommodate students.” According to Hope-Moore, there has been a 25 percent increase in the number of students that have requested accommodations this year. She and her two-support staff are held responsible to meet the accommodations of each student.
“I am paying all this money for an education, yet it took almost a month to get my accommodations, and I’m still struggling with a major one,” says Alvarez. She has been working with the DRC since the beginning of the school year but has yet to receive certain accommodations, even this far into the semester.
The DRC offers academic, dining, housing, parking, and accessibility accommodations for students; the time it takes to make these accommodations, however, is a concern for students who need them. Hope-Moore said, “Processes are being tweaked to adjust to the increase in numbers.”
Tatum Tricarico, a PLNU sophomore christian studies student, has spent the last two school years working alongside the DRC. She has accommodations for functional blindness, which according to Tricarico, “means it hurts to see, so I have to function as if I’m blind.” The DRC has worked to give her accommodations including braille tests and quizzes, audio books, preferential seating and scribes for tests.
Tricarico speaks highly of her experience working with Hope-Moore and the DRC, but she said, “Nichole is one person, and she’s dealing with [almost] 300 people…I wish they could give her more support.”
PLNU students say the DRC is meeting their needs but feel like the center is also in need of more staff members to make it run more efficiently. Hope-Moore said, “It’s a topic of discussion” when asked if PLNU is looking to hire more staff to meet student accommodation demands.
Hope-Moore, as well as Tricarico, encourage those who have disability accommodations to seek further support from the Omega chapter of Delta Alpha Pi at PLNU. This is the International Honor Society that works to spread disability awareness on campus. Hope-Moore says, “they meet every other Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the MOSAIC Lounge.”
Evelin Alvaraz, junior Managerial and Organizational Communications major
Tatum Tricarico, sophomore Christian Studies major
Nichole Hope-Moore, director of DRC