Accessibility Pledge

The Cambridge SU Disabled Students’ Campaign Accessibility Pledge is a pledge for any and all groups in Cambridge, such as J/MCRs, University and College clubs & societies, campaigns and activist groups, social and discussion groups, etc., to sign and adhere to. 18 different groups signed up for 2020-21, and registration is now open for 2021-22!

By signing the Pledge, your group will demonstrate to its disabled members and potential members that it is committed to considering their access needs, and to creating a positive, accessible environment!

Pledged groups

18 common rooms and groups signed up last year… Get your group’s name here! 

How to sign the Pledge

Guidance on accessibility

At least one of your group will need to complete DSC training, either via our online resources or at an interactive training session. The training covers how to improve accessibility for online and in-person events, and for websites and social media.

Some resources you may also find useful:

If at any point you aren’t sure how to do something accessibly, please feel free to contact DSC at any time with questions! Please also let us know if you find a resource you think should be listed here.

Text of the Accessibility Pledge

We will make sure at least one of our group has undergone DSC training, which is available for free via the DSC website and which explains how to meet the commitments within this pledge

The commitments below cover access needs that we can anticipate. When an unanticipated access need or a specific request is raised with us, we will do everything we can to accommodate and make that person feel welcome, getting advice from DSC if we’re not sure how best to do this

All meetings and events, both in-person and virtual, will have:

  • Short access breaks, and it will be made clear that people can leave at any time if necessary. (5-10 mins break every hour)
  • Detailed access statements (including both what we can and cannot provide) on publication, made available everywhere the event is advertised, including a designated point of contact who can be consulted for further access information
  • We will aim to hold a range of events that cater to different access needs
  • Content notes (where relevant) in event descriptions

All in-person events and meetings will have:

  • Unobstructed step-free/ wheelchair access (where possible)
  • Seating available (padded, comfortable chairs where possible)
  • If food and drink is provided, there will be non-alcoholic/ sugar-free/ gluten-free/ vegan/ halal/ kosher etc. options (where possible) with allergen information/ packaging available to check ingredients
  • Food and drink provided will be separate from the seating area so attendees can avoid food-related anxieties
  • A separate, designated quiet space at larger/more noisy events
  • We will check whether a hearing loop is available (e.g. from Porters)
  • Detailed instructions about how to find the venue, including any alternative step free routes if necessary
  • Wheelchair accessible/gender neutral bathrooms (where possible)
  • Live minutes (where relevant) to allow virtual attendance, and contributions invited in advance

All virtual events and meetings will have:

  • Automatic closed captions (these are automatic via Meet/Teams, and must be enabled by host on Zoom), manual captions, or live minutes (e.g. via Google Docs)
  • We will let people know that they are free to have their video or mic off and to contribute via the chat function 
  • We will make meetings accessible to those who cannot attend, e.g. via recording, livestream or live minutes (where appropriate for the type of event)
  • In-person meetings will have virtual attendance or live minutes
  • Virtual meetings will invite contributions in advance and provide minutes afterwards to those who couldn’t attend live

Our social media and website content will include:

  • All images will have an image description, including any image text, as a plain-text description and in the alt-text field
  • Printed or digital documents with text will either be available as a DOC, text-selectable PDF, or will have a plain-text version available wherever the document is advertised
  • Transcripts available for video/audio content
  • Closed captions for videos
  • Content notes where relevant
 

Examples of accessible practice

The DSC access statement generator is a simple way to create access statements for your in-person events. You can then copy-paste the statement into your event description, for example on Facebook, on Eventbrite or in an email.

Example access statements

In-person event 1

DSC Forum in the SU lounge at 17 Mill Lane. The lounge has wheelchair & step-free access via a lift. There is a variety of seating including armchairs and sofas. There are gender neutral bathrooms, including a wheelchair accessible bathroom. There is a hearing loop (please ask for this to be turned on when you arrive if you need it!). There will be snacks and drinks, including vegan and gluten-free options. Forum is a relaxed event; you may move around the room, lie down, arrive or leave whenever you wish, etc. Forum will be live-minuted into a google doc to enable remote attendance. For any other accessibility info, please email disabled@cambridgesu.co.uk

In-person event 2

We will meet on Christ’s Pieces, by the Memorial Garden, which is in the centre with flowers and benches. Message an organiser if you would like any help finding us! The park is directly by Emmanuel Street bus station, and there is wheelchair access via a path. We will sit on the floor and bring some blankets, cushions and snacks (fruit), but feel free to bring your own; we will be 2 metres apart and there will be hand sanitiser available. You are welcome to choose whether or not to wear a mask; if you find it hard to communicate with people who are wearing a mask please let us know and we can help explain this to others. There will not be an interpreter or hearing loop, and the nearest toilets are the public toilets (including a partially accessible toilet, which also serves as a gender neutral toilet) by the bus station, which take 20p coins. The partially accessible toilet has a radar key to access. You are free to move to a quieter area or leave at any time and we will take regular breaks in the discussion. Anonymised notes will be available afterwards. For any queries please contact disabled@cambridgesu.co.uk

Online event

Our meeting will take place over Microsoft Teams at [link]. There will be automated captions and minutes will be available afterwards. You can contribute in advance by adding to our agenda [here]. You are free to attend with camera and mic off, contribute via the agenda, chat or out loud in the meeting. We will take access breaks on the hour. Please let us know your access requirements and contact disabled@cambridgesu.co.uk with any queries!

Mixed event

Our meeting will be both in-person and virtual. You can attend in the JCR, which has wheelchair access, padded seating, low tables, power sockets, and also a hearing loop if requested in advance. There won’t be a BSL interpreter but we can set up Live Transcribe if requested in advance, or you can use it on your own device. The designated quiet space is the seating area outside the JCR. To find the JCR please check the map [here] or contact us with questions. To attend online, please visit [Google Meet link], where there will be automated captions. There will be live minutes via [Google Doc link] and you are free to move around, leave, turn off mic or camera at any time. We will take a break halfway through, and if you have any requests or questions please contact Anna SU via Messenger or email disabled@cambridgesu.co.uk!
 

Example social media posts

Twitter:

Colour contrast is good; text large with a plain sans-serif font. Image has alt-text “Medical Evidence Information updated for Michaelmas 2020. Cambridge SU Disabled Students’ Campaign”. Link directs to full series of images which have alt-text and plain text image descriptions.

Applying to the central uni for exam access arrangements, course extensions or intermission? Whether you’re undergrad or postgrad, we’ve brought together the information that’s currently available on what medical evidence you will need: https://t.co/DMD5E5ReM7 pic.twitter.com/2ssGs7j0Ji

— Cambridge SU Disabled Students’ Campaign (@CambridgeDSC) August 25, 2020

Twitter video with captions (but no transcript or description of visual features):

Congratulations to everyone receiving their #gcseresults today! Are you unsure on whether to go to University and want to try it out? Or know someone who might? Find out more about the Cambridge SU Shadowing Scheme in this video! #GCSEResultsDay #GCSEResults2020 @SU_AEPUG pic.twitter.com/xsbmsjo2Af

— Cambridge SU (@CUSUonline) August 20, 2020

Facebook:

Link to Facebook post. Colour contrast is good; text large with a plain sans-serif font. Image has alt-text and image description: “I spent 2 yrs without exam adjustments … When I finally got them, my grades improved massively, and I got into my Master’s program!”
Sound familiar? All sorts of health problems can count as a disability. Equality Act 2010 entitles you to adjustments in public services, at uni and work – more info, advice and support at: [Cambridge SU] Disabled Students’ Campaign

Facebook video with captions (but no transcript or description of visual features)

Other:

CamNeuroDiversity talk ‘Autistic People, not Gendered Minds‘ with audio and transcript available

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