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Student In Wheelchair Claims College Campus Is Breaking Promise Of Accessibility

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GARY, Ind. (CBS) — For Danielle Gandy-Dunn, a simple trip to class can prove almost impossible.

She says lupus and a muscle disorder have weakened her legs so much she needs a wheelchair to get around campus.

She enrolled at Ivy Tech Community College in Gary because its disability support services office promised her access, despite her physical challenges.

But that didn’t happen, she says.

“I can’t believe that something so simple as getting into a building is stopping me from being educated,” she says.

Gandy-Dunn says she told the school some of the ramps are too steep for her.

“The plan was for me to be able to come onto campus, dial the security desk and for security to come out and assist me up the ramp,” she says.

But when she arrived the first day of school, she says she sat in the parking lot begging for passersby to push her because security would not.

She complained to the school and showed CBS an emailed response from the vice chancellor stating that the issue of her getting to class from her car was never addressed.

Gandy-Dunn says that response won’t stop her from fighting for her education.

“This was supposed to be the bright and shining star moment, you know? And it turned out to be a disaster,” she says.

Ivy Tech sent CBS 2 a statement saying the college ensures the building is accessible for learning.

Gandy-Dunn says she was told having security help her is a liability issue, but she doesn’t understand why steep ramps don’t have handrails.

The U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights office is now looking into the case.