Problem: Disabled students at BU face a range of issues that are not addressed. These include: lack of information about support available, barriers to the access of support, the ability to get a diagnosis not being acknowledged as something often only affordable to the privileged, BU policy threatening students security on the course, lack of effective wellbeing support, accessibility issues both online and on campus, lack of representation/not having their voices heard, lack of accessible social opportunities, discrimination, and erasure towards those with mental health difficulties/invisible illness.
Solutions: 1. To communicate with students what support services are available and eliminate barriers to use
2. To create a holistic approach to student wellbeing, by increasing communication between support services and dealing with all issues as interconnected
3. End/reform discriminatory policy
4. Increase accessibility both online and on campus
5. To reduce stigma surrounding disability by doing educational work
Ideas for implementation:
1. Upon enrollment, and at start of term, ALS to contact all students with list of services available and offer of support.
2. SUBU to work with ALS to remove the need to provide medical proof to access additional internal support, in line with the NUS Make Inclusive and Accessible Environments Standard policy.
3. Lobby BU for an end of the discriminatory fitness to study procedure.
4. SUBU to publicly endorse the reform of DSA and provide 1-to1 support in student applications to DSA and PIP.
5. SUBU to work with BU Wellbeing, SUBU Advice, Ask BU, ALS, program support officers, course leaders, other support services to communicate more and (with consent) inform each other of a students status, that they may need extra support, and provide better signposting to each other.
6. Lobby BU to create a dedicated captioning service. Auto-captioning minimum should be standard on all events and lectures, and live captioning should be provided by a member of staff within breakout groups for those with accessibility needs and processing difficulties.
7. Lobby BU to have breaks in lectures/fieldwork hourly, and allow short breaks up to every 15min during lab work for those with chronic illness that need to leave the lab to safety drink water/eat/etc., regularly for health/safety.
8. Lobby BU to provide lecture material 1 week in advance of corresponding lectures/practical.
9. Lobby BU estates to drop curbs around campus to allow wheelchair access to grassed areas, polytunnel, etc.
10. Lobby BU to introduce an island of tables in the library/row of tables in Open Access where eating is not permitted, so those with allergies can use these services safety.
11. SUBU/BU to pay/otherwise reimburse a focus group of BU Actually Disabled students to undertake an accessibility assessment of the campuses
12. SUBU to create a dedicated regular in-person accessibility forum, and online anonymous forum, for students to come forward and talk about accessibility issues they have faced at BU/SUBU.
13. SUBU to incorporate mandatory accessibility and inclusivity meetings for 5* society award.
14. SUBU activities to create dedicated fund for making clubs and socs more accessible, e.g. to go towards long handled tools.
15. SUBU to address subtle ableism e.g. signs shaming those taking lifts for just one floor, using plastic straws, or driving to university, via educational materials.
16. SUBU to provide information on disability justice and the social model of disability, and the issues with the medical model of disability.
17. SUBU to shine a light on disability, particularly invisible illnesses, via awareness campaigns
To be implemented by: Toluwa Atilade (SUVP Welfare & Community), Chiko Bwalya (SUVP Education), Luci Phalp (SUBU Disabled Students Officer), and Disabled Students Campaign.