We are 3rd Year (Chloe – MPsych Neuroscience) and 1st Year (Scarlett – BA Sociology with Social Psychology) disabled activists with cool matching hair who want to build on the fabulous work of previous disability officers and make university life better for disabled students. Whether you are mentally ill, physically disabled or have a condition such as Dyslexia or ADHD we will be there for you. Anyone can be or become disabled and this is nothing to be ashamed of - this is why our role is important for everyone.
Chloe has experience of studying as a disabled student at York for many years now, as well as experience as a representative on YUSU committees, and Scarlett has recent experience of the transition to university life as a disabled student, as well as experience representing disabled people on a society committee. As your disabled student officers, these are the goals we would wish to attain.
Continue to lobby for increased physical accessibility on campus – e.g.: wheelchair accessibility, clear signage and visibility strips.
Continue to lobby for accessibility in societies, by providing societies with information on how they can be more accessible to disabled students and promoting these materials to new committees as a part of Presidents’ training and to newly ratified societies.
Work with the Sports President and Sports Societies to pursue better disabled access to sports at York.
Increased accessibility regarding Fresher’s week, including ensuring there is a range of non-clubbing activities in each college which are heavily promoted.
Ensure Fresher’s Fair is accessible to disabled students both in its layout and through the accessibility hour – including exploring solutions to ensure societies set up in time for accessibility hour.
Continue the campaign to produce a map of different accessible routes on campus.
Work to provide a map online of where the toilets are on campus.
Campaign for more accessible UoY club and campus bar event nights.
Awareness and Signposting
Extending the existing ‘not all disabilities are visible’ campaign by working on expanding it to signage in different areas of campus (e.g.: disabled study spaces) and potentially collaborating with the university bus routes to have small signs displayed near the accessible seats.
Running campaigns through the DSN to raise awareness of the diverse types of disability and to reduce stigma against disabled students – e.g.: campaigning during national periods of awareness for disabilities such as Mental Health Awareness Week in October.
Run campaigns to acknowledge the achievements of disabled individuals in history as well as modern day figures and York alumni - to celebrate this history and to reduce modern stigma.
Continue to promote the available mental health services to UoY students and improve signposting to more extensive services outside of the university (e.g.: York Mind) as NHS waiting times for mental health treatment are up to 18-months.
Improve signposting on the website for incoming disabled students – for example, improving the information about applying for financial support by signposting to charities that provide support for PIP applications and appeals (e.g: the RNIB)
Work with careers and departments to improve careers and placement advice for disabled students, including more tailored advice specific to an individual’s needs.
Promote information and national campaigns about disabled people in work – e.g.: Disability Employment Awareness Month.
Continue existing work to ensure that departments are following Student Support Plans as provided by Disability Services.
Improve support for students with Mental Health problems at York by encouraging the use of Student Support Plans for mentally ill students with continuous problems.
Encourage all departments to send out general and contact information about Mental Health services at UoY during exam seasons.
Work alongside the academic officer to encourage the use of lecture capture by departments, highlighting the benefits for disabled students.
DSN & Activism
Holding DSN social events during Freshers Week and ensure colleges let their Freshers know about them.
Campaigning alongside local charities and organisations for disability awareness and promoting inclusivity of disabled staff in DSN campaigns – e.g.: the ‘not all disabilities are visible’ campaign
Work with the university and disabled services to decrease financial cost of getting diagnoses for students (e.g.: for Dyslexia) – not having these diagnoses can prevent students from getting all the support they need from the university and elsewhere.
Investigating the possibility of somewhere on campus for students registered with disability services to safely nap or rest during the day. Many students with fatigue or sleep disorders, or disability related sleep problems can find it difficult to get through the day and could benefit from a resting room system similar to The University of East Anglia’s.
To monitor the health services available to UoY students – e.g.: Unity Health – and to act on concerns raised by disabled students wherever possible.
Design a better system of support for students on leave of absence, in particularly when they first decide to take leave, and around the time when they are preparing to return.
Working alongside other members of the liberation network to improve accessibility and promote intersectionality – e.g.: ensuring there are LGBTQ pride events that are accessible to autistic students.