Campus “still not accessible for all” following construction chaos

3 mins read

PLANS to improve disabled access on campus are now being put in place, following the concerns of worried students.

Last month, Disabled Students Officer Sonny Bailey hit out over the lack of access during the construction works.

He recalled walking through the ‘maze-like corridor’ between Haldane’s eatery and the Atrium.

He said: “It felt like a very tight space. All around me was nothing but white. There is nothing to grab hold of and it was an extremely uncomfortable experience.

“I see that the wheelchair ramps haven’t been addressed either. So just exactly what is this money being invested in to make campus look so good?”

VP Education Amy Smith shared Sonny’s concerns, which she raised at  the Campus Central project board.

She said: “Magnets are being added to the fire doors so that wheelchair users do not need to push the heavy fire doors at either end of the corridor.

She also highlighted that the union is implementing a quiet hours policy from 10-11am at Fresher’s Week events, which is being held in a marquee outside the Union due to the ongoing works.

This is in line with the motion passed by Sonny at the last Union General Meeting, to make campus more accessible for all.

Jacqui Lenaghen, the university’s head of accessibility said: “A consultant has fully appraised the Campus Central Project Design.

“As planned, one side of the connecting corridor in the Atrium was painted grey earlier this week.

And last week, graphics depicting the history of the university were added to the other side of the corridor.

Lenaghen added: “Money from the Vice Chancellor’s Fund will provide a transition event for autistic and visually impaired students and wheelchair users.”

However, Co-curricular officer Svea Horn has explained that “the corridor between Haldanes and the Atrium is still not accessible” for all.

Both doors only open in one direction, meaning that wheelchair users and those with poor upper-body strength will have to wait for somebody to open the door for them, or take an alternative route.

VP Communities Joshua Muirhead said that these concerns have been raised but no concrete solution is in place as of yet.

Responding to the updates, Sonny replied: “I’m happy there are now things in place to help disabled students out, but I am still concerned with wheelchair access.

“I just hope that the level of support being proposed continues.”

Featured image credit: Sam Ormiston

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1 Comment

  1. Great work in highlighting this issue and assisting to address matters. Still a long way to go to allow students feel more confident and able to access the atrium without relying on others to hold the doors open of which there are several and the lack of signage is very frustrating.
    It would have been helpful to have had information on accessible routes prior to semester commencing too.

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