Disabled Students’ Officer Updates (from Michaelmas 2016)

In the interest of transparency and a useful record of the work of the disabled students’ officer, I have here listed updates that I gave at CUSU Council throughout Michaelmas 2016. This was before the disabled students’ campaign had its new website, and so I had nowhere to put them – but they’re here now!

  • Researched the processes of training supervisors and tutors, with view to introduce compulsory supervisor training for disabled students and students with mental health issues
  • Attended meetings with the University Equality and Diversity Committee
  • Completed Advice Service training, met with service providers, and worked on student casework
  • Updating DSC website to go live during term
  • Planning and researching for term events
  • Reviewing University Fitness to Study policy
  • Reviewing intermission policy
  • Attended ‘Transitional Events’ run by the DRC for incoming students with SpLDs and autism spectrum conditions
  • Reviewing the Code of Practice for Reasonable Adjustments
  • Attended committees for the University’s Digital Strategy – Lecture Capture Pilot programme
  • With the DRC, overseeing the application process for University funding for diagnoses of ADHD now that the NHS waiting list is closed
  • Working to oppose the change to the ‘Universal’ bus route
  • Reviewing and updating welfare resources, as well as creating new resources for college DSOs and students
  • Freshers’ Fair
  • Planning a student consultation on aspects of University policy usually (but not always) pertaining to disabled students – including intermission, exam arrangements, exam warnings, student support documents, etc. This will be for students to pose questions they’d like to have answered, so I can produce a guide that covers these issues as fully as possible. The consultation will take place on Tuesday 25th at 4pm, in the GU Lounge at CUSU (17 Mill Lane).
  • Writing the guide and interpreting University policy
  • Met with the disability consultant at the Disability Resource Centre to discuss plans for an accompanying workshop
  • Ran the DSC freshers’ squash
  • Attended a working group on exam arrangements, which convened to address the large rise in students needing exam arrangements for reasons of depression and anxiety, and consider ways of best supporting them. We are discussing, amongst other things, how best to encourage students to disclose disabilities and illnesses earlier so as to get adjustments in place before the deadline.
  • Advertising Facebook support groups
    Meeting with the Education Faculty, Homerton College, and Homerton’s JCR president to discuss movement forward with Uni4 bus route
  • Meeting with University Estates, Head of the DRC and Nick Bampos to discuss building access/egress and auditing University buildings, with the aim of making it a priority for the University.
  • Reviewing student experience of the freshers’ fair
  • Attending joint committee meeting of the Digital Teaching and Learning Subcomittee and the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning, to discus working together going forward
  • Began planning CUSU conference with the sabbs and staff
  • Attending Committee on Student Health and Wellbeing, discussing: Student Alcohol Survey, the University’s harassment procedure, the findings of the Student Workload Working Group, the UCS Mindfulness Project, and the scheme for a fast-track diagnosis of ADHD.
  • Meeting with the head of the Office for Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals (OSCCA) to discuss making documents accessible to students
  • Continuing to update the DSC website as there are some pages which haven’t been edited since 2011; ensuring institutional memory and making resources more widely available. Expecting the new website to go live by the end of Michaelmas.
  • Organising the DSC resource library.
  • Following the meeting with University Estates, the Disability Resource Centre and Nick Bampos, an Advisory Group has been set up to report on issues of building access and egress. This will meet termly, and I will be the student representative on it. If you have any concerns or examples of best practice regarding physical access in any University building please drop me an email.
  • Continuing to do casework and provide advice to students as part of my role within the Student Advice Service
  • Got in contact with Cambridge City Council concerning their data collection methods on the issue of disabled access to council properties; will be doing more on this issue following a lacklustre response
  • Held a meeting with members to formally vote on our position re. class lists and decide on the content of a placet fly-sheet
  • Wrote a placet fly-sheet (i.e. to campaign for the abolition of class lists), canvassed for signatures etc.
  • Gave comment to Varsity on the issues of intermission and the fly-sheet
  • Finalising the draft text for a Disabled Students’ Campaign Guide to Intermission. This will communicate factual information on the process but also advice from those who have experienced it on what to be aware of. If any student wants to include their testimony in their guide, please drop me an email for further information.
Disabled Students’ Officer Updates (from Michaelmas 2016)

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