Society for Students With Disabilities, University of Victoria, Access4All Campaign
The purpose of the Access4All campaign:
Access4All is a campaign advocating for equal access to education and academic success for all students at the University of Victoria.
Students at the University of Victoria are concerned that they will soon lose critical access to their education as the university moves towards a full return to in-person learning; access that was achieved by a move to online classes during the COVID-19 Pandemic. As the university prepares for the fall semester, students with disabilities who require access to online learning in order to achieve academic success are being left behind. Additionally, international students who face travel restrictions, among other barriers, also require access to online learning. The Access4All campaign is committed to ensuring that all students have equitable access to higher education at UVic.
Barriers that students with disabilities face:
As of now, UVic’s plan to return to full in-person courses does not offer adequate accommodations to those that require them; many students with disabilities will be unable to complete their studies on an equal academic playing field until UVic allows online course attendance for those that need it. Many disabilities, such as those that cause chronic pain and or mobility issues, seriously prevent students from attending class in person; these students were able to thrive this year with classes held primarily online. The inaccessibility of in-person classes is not a new issue; students with various disabilities have continually faced these barriers. Introducing online options for students with disabilities that need them would make post-secondary education at UVic accessible for all, and encourage the academic opportunities and success of ALL students.
Barriers that International Students Face:
Due to delays in visa application processes, many international students are facing difficulties leaving their home countries and coming to Canada. Some international students have been waiting 6-8 months without approval. Additionally, the mandated quarantine period upon arrival in Canada poses a serious financial barrier for many international students. In the short term, online course attendance options must be made available to international students to ensure that they can attend UVic in the Fall.
Short term goals of the Access4All campaign:
The Access4All campaign demands that UVic implement accommodations for all UVic students who require online learning. Specifically, we are asking UVic to provide accommodations for international and disabled students that will either be unable to attend UVic or will be significantly disadvantaged academically with the absence of online options for attending class.
Long term goals of the Access4All Campaign:
In the long term, the Access4All campaign will advocate for UVic to implement online attendance options for ALL students, in tandem with the existing in-person education model. Giving students flexibility in their education by including both online and in-person attendance options will enable students to excel academically in whatever way that is best for them; this could look like attending class in person, online, or both! We anticipate that a hybrid education model is desperately needed, and will pose as a significant improvement in equitable education for all UVic students, including but not limited to students with disabilities, international students, students who are parents, and students who work alongside their studies.
The Future is Accessible, Society for Students with a Disability, University of Victoria, 3800 Finnerty Road, Student Union Building, Room B111