Campus News

New tour offers glimpse into UB’s accessible pathways

Stefan Kothe outside in front of Crofts Hall.

Stefan Kothe, a UB employee and alumnus, shares his tips and tricks for navigating campus during accessibility tours of the North Campus on Sept. 7 and 15. Photo: Douglas Levere


Published September 6, 2022

“UB is the most accessible campus in the area, by far. ”
Stefan Thomas Kothe, UB staff member and leader
PSS Accessibility Tours

If you feel like you don’t know the North Campus very well, then let Stefan Thomas Kothe be your guide on an Accessible Pathways Tour.

Kothe, a UB alumnus and buyer in the Division of Finance and Administration, uses a mobility device to get around campus. He is highlighting the most accessible pathways and occasional mobility barriers on the academic spine, Student Union and UB Commons during tours on Sept. 7 and Sept. 15. The tours run from 2:30-3:30 p.m. and begin at 60 Capen Hall, outside of the office of Accessibility Resources.

The tours are sponsored by the Professional Staff Senate’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee.

Anyone, including students with disabilities and those who would like to learn more about how to best advise students with disabilities, are welcome to join a tour.

“As a student, I would spend the majority of my day in the Baldy Hall walkway,” Kothe recalled during an informal tour he led recently for UBNow. “It’s very accessible — there’s a power outlet in an easy-to-get-to spot to plug in your laptop, and the tables are usually open.” 

The third floor of Capen, he said, is another place with lots of accessible and quiet places to study. And there are other advantages, too. 

“There are a lot of handicap accessible bathrooms all throughout this floor,” Kothe pointed out during the tour.

A video version of the tour Kothe leads through North Campus.

Kothe noted he occasionally encountered obstacles as a student, and those issues were immediately addressed through the proper channels. 

“If you’re having any issues with accessing a classroom, Accessibility Resources will make the classroom accessible for you,” he explained. “And if the class isn’t accessible, they’ll completely move the classroom, depending on what other options are involved.” 

Kothe visited the newly completed One World Cafe as part of the UBNow tour, as well as the Student Union. 

“I usually don’t have any issues ordering food in either location,” he said. “The employees are great and are always willing to take my order so that I don’t have to go through the dividers in my scooter. I usually just wait off to the side and they’ll bring me a piece of paper to write down my order, or they’ll just take my order and bring my food.”

The Commons and the UB Bookstore were the two places where Kothe had difficulties navigating due to the lack of automatic doors, but he pointed out how helpful other students and the university’s employees are when navigating those spaces. 

“The employees at the bookstore are really great. If you just give your class schedule to one of the workers, they will go and get the books for you. They’ll go get them and bring them to the front of the line, so even when it’s really busy, I’m not here long — maybe 20 minutes— which isn’t bad since there’s usually lines all over the place at the beginning of the semester,” he said. 

When it came to deciding which college he would attend, Kothe said UB was his top choice.

“UB’s spine, being interconnected like it is to all the buildings and not having to go outside during the winter months, makes it a lot easier to travel. UB is the most accessible campus in the area, by far,” Kothe said.

The idea of doing an accessibility tour became a reality after Kothe suggested to Jessica Byerly Coram, associate director of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and PSS Inclusion and Diversity Committee co-chair, that he could share his tips and experience as an alumnus. Coram was thrilled to take Kothe up on his offer.

“We are so thankful to Stefan for volunteering his time and providing this extraordinary service to the institution,” Coram said, adding that she hopes everyone who is interested will take a tour with Kothe.

Visit the event calendar for more information about the tour or to RSVP.


Thank you, Stefan, for this wonderful service you are providing to the campus.

Mary Clare Fahey

No one should have to depend on the availability and willingness of other people for something as simple as gaining access to a building. UB should make sure that motorized doors are available for ALL buildings.

I suggest that someone do a similar tour on the South Campus. I could point out a number of points where it would be impossible for a lone wheelchair-user or person on crutches to have access.

Also, the new medical school building was designed with several conversation areas that are completely unusable for someone in a wheelchair.

Susan Udin