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Know Your Rights

You are disabled under the law if you have

  • A physical or mental impairment
  • The impairment has a substantial effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities such as walking, preparing written work or communicating
  • This effect has lasted or is going to last more than a year

As a disabled student, you have a right to:

  1. Not be put at a disadvantage by practices that are the same for all students.
    1. For instance, the practice of scheduling distant lectures close together is the same for all students, but may make it impossible for a person with mobility difficulties to get there on time. The practice of not providing captions on videos is the same for all students but may make it impossible for someone with hearing loss to take in information.
  2. Adjustments that prevent disadvantages you experience as a disabled student.
    1. For instance, a note-taker if you are unable to take notes. These should be provided:
      1. in a way that does not itself put you at a significant disadvantage (for instance through delays, being dangerous or humiliating)
      2. based on your need rather than your diagnosis
  3. An anticipatory approach from your university.
    1. The university should have many of its accessibility structures in place before a single student has declared a disability. When you have declared a disability the university should anticipate your needs rather than wait for you to experience difficulties.
  4. Not be treated worse than your peers because of your disability (for instance being deprived of module choices) or because of a consequence of your disability (for instance being punished due to low attendance when you were in the hospital)
    1. Adjustments are there to create a level playing field. They are not cheating or charity. You are entitled to the same quality of reasonable adjustments regardless of whether you get Disabled Students Allowance.
    2. You are entitled to accessible student housing at no extra cost compared to non-accessible student housing.

Please note that this is not legal advice. Ultimately what constitutes discrimination is decided in court.

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