University and College Union’s (UCU) Disabled Members held a day of action to highlight the challenges and barriers faced by disabled people in education.
The day marked the start of Disability History Month 2018 and campaigners went to Westminster to call for action on key issues affecting staff and students in education. These include the need for statutory rights to disability leave and measures to ensure buildings are fully accessible.
Shadow minister for disabled people, Marsha De Cordova MP, hosted an event in the House of Commons and speakers included the chair of the UCU disabled members’ standing committee Elane Heffernan, NUS disabled students’ officer Rachel O’Brien, Simone Aspis from the Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE) and Richard Rieser from the Disability History Month campaign.
UCU branches across the country organised activities to raise awareness about the issues faced by disabled staff and students, and tweeted their support for the day with selfies and using the hashtag #includeus.
UCU national head of equalities, Helen Carr, said:
Too many disabled people still face major barriers to working and studying in our colleges and universities. Issues such as inaccessible buildings or failures to allow for disability-related absence cause huge stress and frustration for disabled staff who just want to do their jobs effectively.
We urgently need to see tougher rules for employers, and a real commitment from government to tackle these issues so we can make our education institutions more accessible for disabled people.
The campaign is supported by other unions including NEU, UNITE, UNISON and NUS and the TUC disabled members committee, Disabled People against the Cuts and Alliance For inclusive Education.
You can find out more UCU’s campaign for disability equality here.
Photo: City UCU