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October 11, 2010 | by  | in News |
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Doing wheelies currently disabled around Student Union

Due to Campus Hub construction, there is currently no wheelchair access to parts of the Student Union Building.

Soon the VUWSA office will join Salient’s office in being out of reach for disabled students.

VUWSA President Max Hardy says that it is an inconvenient situation.

“We are working with Disability Support Services currently to ensure our office and services are accessible as
possible.

“We are very concerned that the office will not be accessible for any period of time, although we have limited this time to only a part of the third trimester.”

The time period over which the offices will be unavailable to disabled students was carefully planned, says Director of Campus Services Jenny Bentley.

“There will be no wheelchair access to VUWSA and Salient’s offices, now on Level 2, between mid-October and when construction is completed in mid February 2011.

“The work was planned for this period to minimise impact on students and we worked with the university’s Access Committee to find a solution for access.”

Bentley says that although inconvenient, the blocking off of significant parts of the Student Union Building was unavoidable, due to Wellington City Council requirements.

The university is planning on installing a phone that disabled students can use.

Bentley says that this is planned to enable full access to the services of Salient and VUWSA for disabled students.

“To ensure that all students continue to have access to VUWSA and Salient’s services, the university is putting a phone in the atrium for students to call VUWSA or Salient and arrange to meet in a suitable location,” says Bentley.

The phone will be in place by mid-October when wheelchair access to VUWSA is cut off. Disabled students can then call VUWSA with the phone number detailed on signs at the Student Union Building entrances.

A problem still clearly remains for Victoria students who are both in a wheelchair and are deaf and/or mute.

Bentley says that they have forewarned students and staff about the upcoming access problems.

“Disability Services has emailed registered students and briefed key contacts around the campus about the changes.”

Victoria’s Disability Services Manager Rachel Anderson-Smith says that although the blockages are problematic, the construction will help in the long run.

“When this project is finished, all students, including those with impairments, will have a much more accessible Counselling Service and Student Health Service.”

“While not perfect in the short term, the project is a significant leap forward in creating a fully accessible Victoria campus.”

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  1. Faafetai Taase - VUWSA Clubs Officer 1985-1986. says:

    VUWSA has been instrumental in making positive changes to the campus since the building of the Quad Roof in 1985. The construction of the Union Building’s Extension, the upgrading of the Recreation Centre, and changes to the Central Library. The University is over 100 years old, but the last 26 years have bought about impressive changes for VUW’s students’ with disability, past Presidents: Stephen Daw – the Quad Roof; Simon Johnson, Jeremy Baker, Andrew Little – the Union Extension, Ramp Access to Student Health; Paul Gibson (legally blind, and later the President of the Disabled Persons Assembly of NZ) – $10 Million of Govt Funding on Access to Tertiary Education – while ably representing all students on every issue. I am glad to see that VUWSA’s 2010/2011 Executive and Student Body are willing to continue a positive policy of change and improvement.

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