Identifying barriers to education the first step to improving campus accessibility

Feb 11, 2019 | Life

Justice A. T. McCormack

Not everyone has the freedom to navigate the halls of Humber without any difficulty.

Many students face barriers that make getting an education difficult, like mobility issues and visual and hearing impairments, just to name a few.

Kathleen Lynch has raised concerns about accessibility on campus for people who use mobility devices but has received unsatisfactory responses from Humber. (Andrew Jeffrey)

This is why Humber’s Centre for Human Rights, Equity, and Diversity released a form for students to identify any difficulties they experience while navigating the campus.

The form, titled the Community Barrier Identification Form, is part of an ongoing requirement that Humber has been fulfilling since 2005.

The form was initially released to help Humber learn how to make it easier for students to learn, according to Jodie Glean, Manager of the Centre for Human Rights, Equity, and Diversity.

“Whether it’s from students, or employees, what we want to know is if there are any current existing barriers that [people] may be encountering as they navigate and use the services of Humber College,” Glean explained.

Jodie Glean and her team are not the only ones getting behind this issue.

Monica Khosla, President of IGNITE, and an advocate for disability rights, is also looking for ways to improve accessibility on each campus.

“I really like to see results, and I think it’s really important for students that do have a concern, it is actually being heard,” Khosla explained.

When it comes to making accommodations, Khosla believes the first step is knowing what students want.

“I’ve been at Humber for a couple years now, and in the first year I faced some physical barriers – some things were just too high for me,” Khosla said.

The Community Barrier Identification Form is now available as a PDF, and can be found on the Centre’s website, under their AODA Committee section.

Feedback can be submitted through email, by mailing in the completed form, over phone, or in person at the Centre for Human Rights, Equity, and Diversity.

Once a barrier has been identified, it is Glean’s job to contact the administrative office responsible for that related barrier, and see how it can best be resolved.

The Centre has received plenty of suggestions over the years, and each year they see fit that changes are made to improve accessibility around campus.

“Every year we receive a number of different types of feedback, ranging from an elevator being out of service, to the need for snow removal,” Glean said.

Whether it’s visible or invisible disabilities, the feedback form will support any difficulties people may be experiencing.