Accessibility At University

Updated: Oct 31, 2021

Accessibility is a hot topic and issue for disabled people, whether that be out in streets with no dropped curbs, in buildings without accessible rooms, and in finding retail and hospitality venues with facilities that accommodate disabled people.

I recently experienced a nightmare of inaccessibility while at Newman University, the room in which I was supposed to receive my lecture was located on the top floor of a building without a lift. I struggle with asking for help, but if I wanted to make it to my lecture I was going to have to!

Asking my fellow students and friends I was met with eager and kind helpers. Carrying my mobility scooter up two flights of stairs, with myself following rather slowly behind, as a group we made it to the top. Thank you didn’t cover the gratitude I felt after such a kind, helpful act. While I managed an exasperation of my symptoms, we settled, and the lecture began.

Upon the recommendation of my friends and lecturers, I put an email together explaining the issue, sending that email to my head of department, student support and the inclusion officer at the student union. Within five minutes I had responses flooding in, apologies and promises of help. After fifteen minutes I was informed the inaccessibility was a mishap of communication, that the room for next week’s session would be accessible, and that the accessibility of rooms would be a priority for future lectures.

I was blown away with the timely efficiency in solving the issue, when it comes to issues with accessibility disabled individuals are often meant with silence. However, Newman is an inclusive university that responds to issues of inaccessibility both quickly and fairly. After my lecture, my friends again carried my mobility scooter down the stairs, meanwhile I promised a drink as thanks! In my three years at Newman, this is the only serious issue I have had with inaccessibility. The main thing I took from this experience is that the staff and students of Newman go above and beyond to ensure disabled students are included and catered for in terms of accessibility.

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