Story by DEVIN NEGRETE, for The Muleskinner—
Ever wonder who is behind the elevator emails that seem to be sent on a daily or sometimes hourly basis?
To find the source of these emails, look no further than the Office of Accessibilities in Elliott Union where you will find Linda D. Persing. Persing is from Springfield, Ohio, and has a long history of working with people who have disabilities, beginning with her own childhood.
“I grew up with three brothers who are blind and got an early understanding on how difficult life can be for people with disabilities,” Persing said.
She knew she wanted to help those who were disabled and has done that throughout her career. Early in her career, Persing began working for several attorneys and quickly moved forward to working overseas.
Persing said she’s worked at two Department of Defense educational schools at air force bases in Europe, has worked as a special education aid at a school in England, and has been an assistant to the special education manager in Germany.
Her list of accomplishments is impressive for the woman who most people only know as the sender of the elevator emails. However, sending out those emails isn’t the only thing she does for the Office of Accessibilities.
Persing maintains a database of more than 600 students that are documented with disabilities. “She prepares and maintains a spread sheet for every campus building which helps provide those students safety in case of an emergency,” said Barbara Mayfield, director of the Office of Accessibilities.
Persing helps set up special seating for students in classrooms and notifies professors when students are absent due to a disability. Persing also intakes potential or existing students with disabilities, including obtaining student documents and working with students and their families. Not only does she help these students, but she also meets with the students who are registered with the office every semester to set up their accommodations with professors and in their classrooms.
Many UCM students have said they think the elevator emails are annoying. Marissa Moberly, an office aid for the Office of Accessibilities, said it is annoying to get the emails, but it is also necessary.
Not only are these emails meant for students who are registered with the Office of Accessibilities, but for those who take the elevators on a daily basis or for people who have had an unexpected injury or accident and cannot take the stairs.
“I’ve heard from a lot of other students on how annoying the emails are and how much people make fun of them,” said Ashley Frischman, another office aid.
Moberly said at one point there was a fake Twitter and Facebook account about Persing and the elevator emails. There are also memes that can be found by searching “Linda Persing” on Google Images.
Some students use these emails for comical purposes, but for some students they find the emails just plain annoying.
Persing has received hate emails because students were so annoyed, and some students have sent emails wanting to be removed from the list. “Students send emails back wanting to be removed from the list, which is something that I and our office cannot do,” Persing said.
She said there is a way students can block the emails. Students can have their UCM account forwarded to a personal account and the emails can be blocked from there. Persing said she hopes students understand that there is more to her job than what students think. Informing the student body of the elevator outages is just a small portion of her job.