Turn To Tara: Student says college evacuation policies for disabled people still fall short

SUNY Purchase College says it has instituted new policies for evacuating disabled students during fire drills following a Turn To Tara story, but one student there says the policies fall short.

News 12 Staff

Jan 15, 2019, 10:54 PM

Updated 1,918 days ago

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SUNY Purchase College says it has instituted new policies for evacuating disabled students during fire drills following a Turn To Tara story, but one student there says the policies fall short.
Sonya Rio-Glick is a sophomore at Purchase College and has cerebral palsy. As News previously reported, Rio-Glick says the school failed to evacuate her during a series of safety drills.
She said she was left stranded in her third-floor dorm during a series of fire drills as hundreds of students evacuated. Her repeated complaints to school administrators went unanswered until News 12 started asking questions.
In response, college officials assured News 12 that they would have new policies in place by December and even stage another safety drill.
One month later, Turn To Tara followed up with Rio-Glick to see if any changes had been made.
She said there is a sign that identified stairwells as the place to go for disabled students in alarm, but she says when they did a safety drill at 2 a.m., she called university police and at no point did the office help her evacuate the building.
           
“Stuck again. Still. And if there was a fire alarm tonight, I would be stuck again and tomorrow I would be stuck again,” she says.

News 12 obtained a copy of the brand-new policy that spells out emergency protocols for disabled students. Rio-Glick says it contains none of her ideas and falls short.
“It doesn't address what school involvement is. It’s a longer explanation of what’s expected of students,” she says.
Rio-Glick says she is not giving up, claiming disabled students remain vulnerable not only in Purchase, but at every SUNY school in New York .

SUNY oversees 64 colleges and universities across the state, but when News 12 asked for a copy of their emergency protocols to evacuate disabled students, they refused to release it. News 12 filed a Freedom of Information request.
Officials from Purchase College say they are looking into Rio-Glick’s claims and will get back with News 12.
 


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