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. 28 different groups signed up for 2019-20, and registration is now open for 2020-21!

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

28 common rooms and groups signed up last year… Get your group’s name here! In brackets is the term when the new committee hands over and the committee will need to renew their pledge.

  • Cambridge SU Disabled Students’ Campaign (Lent ’21)
  • St John’s JCR (Lent ’21)
  • Cambridge SU Class Act Campaign (Lent ’21)
  • Gonville and Caius SU (Lent ’21)
  • Newnham JCR (Lent ’21)
  • Cambridge SU LGBT+ Campaign (Lent ’21)
  • Queens’ JCR (Lent ’21)
  • Student Minds Cambridge (Michaelmas ’21)
  • Christ’s JCR (Michaelmas ’21)
  • Jesus College SU (Lent ’22)
  • Samuel Butler Room (John’s MCR, Lent ’22)
  • ECSU (Emma JCR, Lent ’22)
  • Selwyn JCR (Lent ’22)
  • KCSU (Kings’ JCR, Lent ’22)
  • Pembroke JPC (JCR, Lent ’22)

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
  • 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

All in-person events and meetings will have:

  • Unobstructed step-free/ wheelchair access (where possible)
  • Padded seating available
  • If food and drink is provided, there will be non-alcoholic/ sugar-free/ gluten-free options with allergen information/ packaging available to check
  • Food and drink provided will be separate from the seating area so attendees can avoid food-related triggers
  • A separate, designated quiet space
  • We will check whether a hearing loop is available (e.g. from Porters)
  • Detailed instructions about how to find the venue

All virtual events and meetings will have:

  • Automatic closed captions (e.g. via Meet or Teams), 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
  • 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 (unless solely decorative) 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
  • All video content with speech will have a transcript of the speech (e.g. in the video description) and, where possible, also closed captions
  • All video content with text embedded will have a transcript of this text
  • All video content with important visual features (e.g. a graph) will have this described in the transcript and, where possible, also in audio

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) by the bus station, which take 20p coins. 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 Rensa 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.

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

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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