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Spring: A Time for Change

Spring3/21/2007 - All the beautiful signs that spring with its awakening and renewal abilities has hit the South Alabama campus are in full glory. Comrades Of Courage is also in a renewal of sorts. A new attitude, a new website, and lots of new members have awakened a new excitement within the group. With this new found energy there was a call for a new push to remove all the barriers on the campus. To this end, COC intends to hold an “Automate all the Humanities Center’s Doors” petition signing drive during the second week in April. We intend to collect as many signatures as possible and then present them to Dr. Johnson in hopes the Humanities doors will be automated this semester.

Three years ago this organization submitted a detailed proposal (cost included) to every dean of every college. The proposal recommending USA have all main doors at the University automated for people with disabilities. We think its time the Arts and Science College bellies up to the bar and makes good on their promise of last semester to get the doors automated.  Tied into our Automatic Door Proposal was a section that recommended the old Humanities bathrooms be torn out and refurbished. Now that the bathrooms have been refurbished and look great, it’s now high time to do some more spring cleaning at Humanities and get those doors automated!  

Would you like to be involved with the petition drive or become a member of Comrades Of Courage and help make a difference on the campus for yourself and your fellow students? Please contact us and we will respond to you shortly.

The Case of the Sticky Handed Coke Machine

Vending MachineMar. 25, 07 – Have you lost money at the Humanities Center when you tried to get a soda out of the Coke machines? The outside machines (I am not sure about the upstairs machines handicapped people can’t get there) on the exterior of the North and South Towers of the Humanities buildings have been there for well over five years and are notorious for taking your money and delivering notta. I personally have lost many dollars in these infernal machines. Well last Friday was the final straw for me.

I was parched after a long class and put my dollar in the machine to get a Diet Coke but it just blinked “OUT OF SERVICE”. I pressed the return button and unexpectedly got my dollar back—we South students have gotten used to the dang things taking our money. After securing my crinkled dollar bill I pushed fate and tried every machine in the Humanities courtyard, not one of them would work. I cursed the Coca-Cola gods loudly and briefly considered committing a Coca-Cola machine homicide, but then thought better of it as a curious teacher walked up and asked if I needed help. I though about saying, “Hell yes I need help! I need a heavily caffeinated Diet Coke and I need it right now!” Instead, I just mumbled incoherently to myself and sulked off to find my car.

It was fortuitous fortune that as I was leaving the North Tower basement the Coke man was bringing in a load of cokes. We talked for thirty minutes about the situation and he admitted the machines were old and in bad shape. I asked him how much it cost to come and repair these machines each week (yes they break that often) and he told me it was over a thousand dollars a month. “Well, I said. “Doesn’t that cut into the old bottom line?” He was quite frank and told me it was a real profit killer and bit into his commission too. Well, if anyone knows me, you have to know what the next question I asked was. “So.........(long pause) why don’t you get Coke to replace the dang things and save everybody some money?”, I mumbled moodily. My moody response might have seemed a bit snippy, but after all, I had missed my afternoon caffeine fix and I was starting to fall into a decaffeinated coma. The nice Coke man did not take offense at my moody response, however, promised he would call his supervisor about replacing the old machines with new ones. I warily asked him when would he do this deed and he said right then.
Well I liked the guy, a real no bull, all action kind of guy and his promise filled me with caffeinated dreams of actually being able to get a Coke without all the hassle the current machines give all the students at South, especially me. Nevertheless, I am not satisfied to leave it in the hands of this one Coke guy. As President of COC I have decided to write a letter on behalf of all the jilted students at South Alabama to Butch Emmons the Asst. VP of Auxiliary Enterprises. Butch is the man in charge of all the Coke sales and machines on the campus. Hopefully he will get this situation resolved in a hurry. I am deeply concerned however that you may continue to get jilted by Coke and their sadistic machines. So to combat this problem I have learned that if you give Butch a call, or send him a email to let him know how much you have lost in the machines he will work it out with you (at least he did for me). So here is Butch Emmons email address and telephone number:bemmons@usouthal.edu, 460-6481. Good Luck! We hope to have this situation resolved in the next couple of weeks.

Paul McGowan, President

The Student Center’s Open Door Policy?
By Heather Shapiro
Member since 2003

Heather ShapiroMarch 14, 2007—Three years ago when the COC was founded one of our first and biggest fights was automating all of the main Student Center doors. Having Automatic doors meant that anyone who was in a wheelchair or was physically unable to push open the doors would then be able to push a button and open the doors, both from the inside and the outside. Last year the doors were installed and this was a proud moment for the members of COC and its leaders and a triumph for the physically challenged.

The struggle to automate the entire Student Center was not an easy mission for Comrades Of Courage to accomplish. We had to push the administration, eventually going over the Student Center Director’s head and straight to Dr. Adams, Vice President of Student Affairs, who worked with Butch Emmons, VP of USA Auxiliary Enterprises, to make sure all automated doors were installed correctly.

The reoccurring problem now is a failure to make sure the doors are turned on and working properly when the Student Center is opened in the mornings. The Student Center staff frequently forgets to check to make sure the doors are turned on and that the push-pads have working batteries. The batteries for the push-pads cost approximately four dollars each and in the eyes of David Hilton this is too much money to spend, therefore the push-pads for the doors often don’t work. This is problematic for many of our members who are unable to open these doors by themselves.

Recently COC has learned there are plans to hardwire the push-pads with 120VAC and eliminate the need for batteries altogether. However, no progress towards this goal has been observed by me or any other members. Eliminating the need for batteries is a great idea; nevertheless, this still does not address the issue of Student Center staff not turning on the automatic door mechanisms every morning. The doors, whether actuated by battery-operated push-pads or 120VAC push-pads is a moot point if the mechanism to open the doors are never turned on in the mornings. Either way, this is ongoing struggle which needs to be resolved as soon as possible. I will continue to monitor the situation and bring you updates as I receive them.

Humanities Bathrooms get a Much Needed Facelift

Humanities Bathroom3/25/07-Finals at the end of the Fall 2006 semester were an interesting time for students in the Humanities buildings. A constant racket of hammer chisels could be heard in the classrooms closest to the bathrooms, and this nerve-wracking noise was going on while finals were being taken. Worse yet, all the bathrooms on the North Tower were shut down as the work of demolition was being carried out. Thank God it was only the last days of the semester.

That semester is long behind us and as we were returning for the Spring 2007 semester Comrades Of Courage bit their collective nails as we wondered if the bathrooms would be finished in time, and would they be accessible for our members. The executive council blew a big sigh of relief as we finally got to take a look at the new bathrooms—quite frankly, we were delighted to see that everything on the inside was made to ADA and ANSI code and had extras like huge handicapped stalls (like the one shown above), freshly pained walls, new color-coordinated tile, new commodes, sinks, mirrors, soap dispensers (with soap in them) and last but now least, new paper towel dispensers. We sent in our member in to test the usability of the facilities and got only a few bad remarks, and those mostly because a sink or soap dispenser was not working. After informing the office of the problems which were quickly fixed, we can now truthfully say those renovations on the inside of the bathrooms are complete and beautiful!

Recently all the doors on every entrance into the Humanities bathrooms throughout the complex have been replaced with a lighter door. They were also flipped on their hinges so they will open from the right side instead of the left. Previously the doors opened in such a way as to put you against the wall making opening the door by wheelchair-bound student impossible.
Now that the work of updating the doors and the bathrooms is completely finished, Comrades Of Courage want to thank both Dr. Wimms and Dr. Johnson for their hard work getting the funds appropriated for the project and then ensuring the project went by the numbers. We hope Dr. Johnson can now work with us on getting the Humanities doors automated with the same type of dedication.

Will the New Recreation Center have a Indoor Pool?
Comrades Of Courage Weighs In.


Pool3/25/07 – Comrades Of Courage has gone to bat for all the students, staff, and administration at South Alabama who desperatly want a pool on this campus which they can  use year round. We mean a  real pool and not the one USA tries to pass off for a real pool (shown below). This “pool” barely deserves the name since a small group of students easily fills it up and everyone else is left looking on. If you want to lap in this “pool” it’s not really worth it because you get in just two good strokes and one kick and its time to turn around and head back in  the other direction. If you’re handicapped forget about getting in this pool because there are NO facilities for those with disabilites. No lifts. No zero entry. Nothing!

When we first heard that there was going to be a new Rec. Center with a pool COC immediately set up a meeting with Dr. Adams, V.P. of Student Affairs, Dr. Theodore, Director of Campus Recreation, and Brad Christensen, University Architect about the new proposed facilities. We discused the need for total accessibility for all studets in all areas of the Center, everyone agreed this was something that would be done. The last thing we spoke of is something close to my own heart, an indoor heated pool. Dr. Adams said the whole pool idea was still in the air as to whether it would be in the facility or not because of cost issues. I was adamant that the Rec Center needed to have a indoor pool. Dr, Theodore echoed my sentiments and said, “I could have it scheduled 24/7 with activities for all students”. I felt sick to my stomuch that USA administration was even considereing not putting in a indoor pool. A pool is the best exersise people can get without impact-type activities. Many of these types of activites are not really feasible for some people, the pool is the next best option.

I can’t imagine that we will build this multi-million dollar facility and it be only for basketball, weights, ardio, and other activites many of which the physically disabled cannot participate in. Why don’t you weigh in with Dr. Adams and let him know how you feel on the issue. We want a real pool! There are plenty of basketball, racketball, and aerobic rooms already, what we need now is a real pool.

Paul McGowan, President

Graduating Member Delivers a Stirring Testimonial

Dirisu Musa3/21/07Member Dirisu Musa, of the now notorious College of Nursing (CON) debacle, gave a stirring speech at the end of the March 21st meeting. He told of how much Comrades Of Courage has meant to him during the dark days of the CON incident, as they relentlessly tried to frame him for cheating. Musa, as we all affectionately call him, was completely exonerated of any wrongdoing in the scandal, as were our other members Terry Pervine and Donna Lee.

Comrades Of Courage objects strenuously to the treatment of our members and to the allegations the CON erroneously brought forth against these upstanding students. We also found the tactics of the CON to be outrageous in the extreme. They invaded member Donna Lee’s privacy by going into her University email account without permission, which they later claimed they had attained from her. The CON has continued to harass Musa with the use of strong-arm tactics and blatantly threatening language. We urge CON to immediately discontinue such tactics and at least try to maintain some small measure of decorum and professionalism.

The whole incident has left Musa, Terry, and Donna with  deep bitterness towards the CON and the University in general. They all graduate May 5th of 2007 and have all expressed enormous relief at the prospects of leaving South Alabama and the College of Nursing program. We find it to be a great disgrace for South Alabama when a graduating student cannot look back to their Alma Mater and speak of it with pride instead of malice.

Musa asked that the entire COC membership come out and support them as the take their final walk at USA; the short walk across the graduating stage to accept their diplomas. He then surprised us all by announcing that his belief in Comrades Of Courage was so profound that he intended to double what we had in our meager coffers. Musa made a donation of $118 dollars to the general fund.

We would like to thank Musa for his generous nature and to congratulate him on his upcoming graduation ceremony. We wish him all the luck in the world with his chosen profession and we sincerely hope that he and his family continue to have success in all their endeavors.

Comrades Of Courage will continue to monitor the CON for further signs of discrimination and threatening behavior, and if warranted, we will seek legal recourse against the college to right any wrong made against any student, staff, administrator, or member of this group and university. No student, no matter their sex, race, sexual orientation, or disabled status should be the subject of an intense witch-hunt such as the one so recently perpetrated by the College of Nursing.

Paul McGowan, President
Read the Vanguard Articles spawned by the CON incident:

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