Disability committee established after student petition


A COMMITTEE has been established to employ recommendations from a disability report after students signed a petition calling for its implementation. The committee was established to identify and improve difficulties for students with disabilities in UCD in both the long and short term.

Vice-President for Students, Dr Martin Butler, stated that the committee has identified a number of issues that can be addressed immediately. Dr Butler emphasised that the committee members would be an active force in identifying areas for improvement for students with disabilities in UCD, in particular parking, signage and disabled toilets. They are going to “become an action-driven group, a results driven group, as opposed to a talking shop.”

Dr Butler commented that making all students in UCD familiar with the protocol relating to disability parking on campus was a priority. “The parking issue is just for us to make sure that other UCD users are familiar with and do not wrongly occupy spaces dedicated to students with disabilities,” Dr Butler explained. “I think that we have the various processes out there to avoid people parking in wrong places. Then the other issue is how many parking spaces should be reserved for Disability Support Services (DSS)”.

Students’ Union (SU) President, Aodhán Ó Deá echoed the statements of Dr Butler saying that “all they need is a lick of paint to highlight extra spaces so that’s a short term thing, that should be easy to do.”

Mr Ó Deá referred to problems regarding the disability toilets on campus, stating that in certain cubicles in the Newman Building, the emergency cord does not work and poses a serious risk if a person with a disability was in difficulty. He also referred to the ‘emergency plan’, which leaves disabled students unable to access the different floors of any building as the elevators shut down.

A petition was distributed throughout various lectures during Disability Awareness Week highlighting the need for the disability report to be implemented into the university.

Former SU Welfare Officer, Vivian Rath, compiled the disability report before submitting it to UCD President, Dr Hugh Brady. In the report, Mr Rath laid out five short-term and five long-term issues to be examined and acted upon by the university.

The disability committee consists of members of the Disability Support Service (DSS), the SU, the Inclusion Participation Awareness group (IPA), Dr Martin Butler, and the General Services Manager, Michael Rafter.