Newman Students’ Union strives to be an accessible support network and voice for ALL students. As this years’ Vice President, it has been my goal to listen to students and really understand what it means to be accessible and inclusive for our members.
In the UK this year, Disability History Month runs from the 18th November to the 18th December. As the month comes to an end, I thought I would update you all on the work I’ve been doing around accessibility, inclusivity, and more!
Let’s start from last year. As academic representation officer began to review the dyslexia support that students can access from us and the University. From this, a few focus groups were formed and students gave us some valuable feedback! This year, we're continuing this work by gaining more student voice. We currently have a typeform for students to fill in, asking what support students are aware of and what dyslexia is. So far we have feedback from 60 students, which is great! Help us reach an even bigger audience by answering our questions here: https://form.typeform.com/to/gubUFZp1.
For lifts, I’m in the process of looking into the weight restrictions. Students who rely on lifts are already limited by our campus, and should not be further limited by lifts that don’t work for them. This is not a tick box exercise, students should be able to access their education!
Whilst this is happening, I’m also reviewing how we view those who have a disability. If we’re going to be an inclusive organisation, we need to understand how to treat our students exactly as they are; students. We are not a representative organisation, so let’s at least get trained on how we can become aware and support those we represent.
I’m also looking into hearing loops across campus. Due to interference, not every room can have a built in hearing loop. However, other rooms that do not have one can use a portable hearing loop. Why does no one know this? Why do we not use portable hearing loops more often? How do we access them? These are questions that I’m looking to answer.
There’s still a lot of work to do. Whilst some areas are bigger to tackle than others, I’m continuing to have conversations with members across the university. Whether it’s about the campus physically, or the support the University and the Students’ Union offer to students, my goal is to break the barriers that students are facing. One barrier at a time.