Published on February 20, 2014 | by Callum McCarthy0
New UAL disabled committee has attendance of one
Attempts to create a disabled and dyslexic students committee at UAL have started slowly, after just one student attended the inaugural meetings.
The meetings, organised by the SUARTS at LCC and CSM last week, intended to give students a say on how support services are delivered at the university.
Despite the disappointment, SUARTS are determined to make a disabled and dyslexic committee work in the long run.
SUARTS Culture and Diversity officer Mostafa Rajaai said: “Unfortunately it didn’t really work as we wanted it to. It wasn’t successful but it might be down to how much notice we gave and how well we promoted it, which was a shortcoming on our part. It needs a lot of preparation and we’re committed to do it. I’m really hopeful that we can get this going during third term.”
More than 3,000 UAL students use support services ranging from study and dyslexia aids to counselling and guidance for mental health problems.
Rajaai believes that without a body to represent them, unsatisfied students are struggling to get their message across.
He said: “We need a democratic body and a student voice. We’re always stronger when concerns come from students themselves because the university becomes more accountable. It’s a group of students that are very underrepresented and don’t have their voice heard.”
“As far as we have heard, students aren’t necessarily happy with the services. The university has invested £300,000 into dyslexia services so in theory it should be better, but it isn’t,” he added.
Those attending future committee meetings can expect more than just “somewhere for students to moan and whinge.” Rajaai wants students to be in control of how the committee is run and for it to have a genuine impact on how the university supports them.
But unifying students across UAL may still prove to be the biggest challenge for SUARTS, as Rajaai acknowledges, stating: “Putting on events for students is very difficult because of the nature of the university. Having 15 sites is the biggest challenge.”
“It needs a lot of preparation and we’re committed to do it. I’m really hopeful that we can get this going during third term,” he added.
Students who are interested in finding out more about the committee or using support services can contact Mostafa at email@example.com.