IGNITE finds top 5 accessibility issues

Eli Ridder | Report

IGNITE on Tuesday posted an article detailing the top five accessibility changes students want to see on campus, based on the results from their focus groups held over the few weeks.

Read the IGNITE post: https://tinyurl.com/ycv5ldnz

They found that these are the top suggestions: Awareness ad campaigns, making services easier to navigate, increased training for professors and staff, more equipment options, and safer spaces for those with disabilities.

“Campus accessibility is an important topic we don’t consider as much as we should,” Ally Buso writes for IGNITE, adding that “it is necessary to strive towards making our campus more accessible to the diverse needs of students,”

First, an ad campaign “would bring awareness to the student body about raise awareness and change peoples perspectives on issues facing the diverse types of people on campus and their specific needs.”

“Making people aware of the barriers is the first step in changing minds and taking action.”

The second top suggestion was to make services physically easier to navigate, specifically giving priority on elevators to those with disabilities that need them and widening checkout lines in the cafeterias so that those with accessibility issues can navigate them.

In an attempt to tackle attitudinal barriers to those with disabilities, the third suggestion was to include more training for professors and staff “in regards to specific accommodation requirements.”

Part of the suggestion was for professors to “share what they have learned in their training seminars with their students to raise awareness in their classes of different student accessibility needs”, however, that may result in unwanted social consequences.

The fourth suggestion was to improve equipment options for those with disabilities, including such items as standard chairs.

The most in-depth suggestion written about by IGNITE is the fifth one on “safe spaces”, where they acknowledge “more inclusive spaces at Humber College is a major issue that we are still trying to fix.”

“It is an ongoing struggle to balance the specific needs of all students, one that we continue to strive towards,” Buso writes.

“One of the major suggestions that came out of the focus groups was creating a resource centre dedicated to those with disabilities and those who want to learn more.”

IGNITE said those that attended the accessibility focus groups found that a resource centre “would help create a safe environment where those living with disabilities could meet each other and have an opportunity to de-stress and talk”.

This would operate along the lines of the LGBTQ+ Resource Centre on campus and would “create programming for students and faculty relating to accessibility issues and help to promote awareness of the cause.”

The suggested safe spaces are not only for emotional-based concerns, but also as a physical improvement to environmental safety with the example given of emergency notices and how they should be presented in different formats for those disabled.

IGNITE’s accessibly focus groups and an accompanying online accessibility survey are a major part of President Monica Khosla’s mandate, who was elected on improving accessibility and creating transparency.

The Avro Post’s Progress Report found that, halfway through her term as president, Ms. Khosla is working hard on the accessibility portion of her platform.

IGNITE’s not the first

The unofficial and now disbanded Academic Reform Group attempted to hold an “accessibility day” event earlier this semester at the University of Guelph-Humber to bring awareness to similar campus-wide.

However, they ran into barriers from the Guelph-Humber administration and couldn’t follow through on holding the event, according to several sources.

ARG was a one-time, short-lived IGNITE club and lost its status in March due to allegedly putting the association in negative light and committing offences, according to a press release by the group.

It continued as an unofficial club into September, but has since largely gone silent and mostly disbanded since the accessibly day event was not carried through on.

More details to follow. Image of IGNITE from The Avro Post.

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