Disabled Students' Officer– Blythe Varney
What’s your favourite film?
What’s your biggest achievement?
Surviving severe illness during my teens and still getting into university.
What’s a fun fact that people may not know about you?
I love crafting! Anything from knitting to jewellery making to paper crafts. I just like making things!
New for 2018-19 RUSU have created student-run, peer-support networks for you. This is your opportunity to meet other students from similar backgrounds, share common experiences and receive advice and support from each other. RUSU’s Disabled Students’ Officer will be running a peer-support network for students with disabilities. You can find out when and where the next meeting is here.
Increase Accessibility of Buildings
A lot of the older buildings on campus are inaccessible, or accessible only through one entrance which makes for a trek to find either the lecture/seminar room or a lift to get to other floors. Adding ramps and electric doors to the buildings to help everyone access the buildings easily. Consulting disabled students on the general needs helps money to be spent properly. Gaining funding for disabled access should be a key part of the university development.
Enforcing Disabled Parking Spaces
Parking lots on campus all have clearly marked disabled spaces but more often than not this is ignored and people without blue badges park there. Having the university enforce the blue badge scheme will make life easier for people with mobility problems, and generate respect for disabled people and our rights to accessibility. This issue has been raised previously with the university but they have responded only by putting the responsibility on others and not accepting their role as carers of their students.
Raising Disability Awareness in Staff
Training for staff in disability awareness shifts responsibility for accessibility from individual disabled students to the staff of the university. This includes making sure staff are aware of any limitations they are implementing on accessibility during their lectures and seminars, and showing how to improve this. Training should be implemented by people who are disabled so that staff members can understand the disabilities directly rather than having able-bodied people make assumptions about the effects of disabilities.
- Increase building accessibility - Generate funding for development of building accessibility, including ramps and automatic doors
- Enforcing blue badge scheme - Ensuring disabled parking spaces are reserved specifically for blue badge holders
- Staff training - Develop knowledge of university staff and highlight awareness of disabilities/inclusive learning