Doors are too heavy in the Langeveld building – including those to the disabled toilets. The echoing sound in many rooms makes it difficult for hearing-impaired people to understand anything. Because of the large amount of grey used in the building, the contrast is too low, which makes life difficult if you have a visual impairment. The button for the lift is in a corner and therefore cannot be accessed by people in an electric wheelchair. The list of ‘areas for improvement’ is long, says philosophy student Kyra Mulders. “As a student with a disability, it makes you feel less valued at this university.”

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Criticism of the (lack of) accessibility to the Langeveld building for people with functional impairments

Long before the Langeveld building was completed, Erasmus University had been warned that…

“The first thing I thought when I saw the article was: how is it that we are still unable to think inclusively?”, says Lucille Werner, member of parliament for the CDA party. “And certainly when we’re talking about new buildings. If the accessibility is not in order, the emancipation of young people with a disability will not get off to a good start.”

Wide-ranging problem

Erasmus University was warned long before the handover of the new education building that the building would not be accessible. The university claims to have acted according to the rules. The contractor is said to have constructed the building in accordance with ‘specified requirements’ for accessibility. “However, EUR was aware of signals that the building did not yet meet the standard in terms of accessibility”, a spokesperson said earlier. “Subsequently, the contractor BAM was advised to tackle this issue. In future projects like this, we want to get better control of accessibility.”

The three MPs put the questions to Hugo de Jonge, Minister of Housing and Spatial Planning, and Robbert Dijkgraaf, Minister of Education, Culture and Science. The questions range from ‘What do you think about the fact that the Erasmus University building is not accessible to people with various types of disability?’ to ‘To what extent do universities have the freedom to opt for a particular accessibility standard?’ “It really is a wide-ranging problem”, says Werner. “Accessibility isn’t up to par outside universities either. The disadvantage and exclusion of people with disabilities is a persistent issue.”

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