To: University of East Anglia

Equality for Disabled Students

Equality for Disabled Students

Brief: I'm calling on the government and univerisities to ensure that disabled students are treated fairly by educational institutions, and ensure that disabled students are not unfairly charged for accommodation. UEA is currently altering their policies which will leave disabled students out of pocket due to their needs. Discrimination will not be tolerated.

Why is this important?

Full: Students living with mental, and/or physical, disabilities have certain needs which requires suitable accommodation.

For example, a student suffering with ASD who is unable to complete day-to-day tasks will often be provided with ensuite accommodation in a smaller flat. DSA (Disabled Students Allowance) used to ensure that disabled students would not pay more for their accommodation due to their needs. However, for the past few years this responsibility has been passed over to universities.
For the past 3-4 months I have been contacting the University of East Anglia (almost twice a week) in order to confirm that my peers and I will receive an accommodation discount as we have before. They have been reluctant to answer, and it is clear that nobody is responsible for ensuring that disabled students are not discriminated against. These discounts vary, but can reach sums over £1200. It's simply not fair to charge disabled students extra due to their disabilities.

The first representative of UEA I spoke to informed me that it was unlikely the discounts would go ahead this year. This is clearly in breach of the Equalities Act 2010, and I am truly worried that the Conservative government has failed to protect disabled students as this problem is not occurring just at UEA.

Most recently the University of East Anglia has informed me that students with disabilities will be offered accommodation in the Village, and the sole reason for this is because of its price it seems. Despite being situated far from central campus, and not being able to meet the needs of those with physical and/or mental disabilities the University views this as the best option. I was offered accommodation which suits my needs within the main campus, but now I'm being told that in order to receive a fair discount I will have to move to a room which may not be adequate. They can't guarantee perfection, but they could act in the interests of students. If students remain in the suitable rooms, they will not receive a fair discount.

I'm calling on the government to impose a frameworl upon universities. Universities have been acting with discretion, and have failed to advertise that discounts are available. Reducing expenditure seems to be at the forefront of university policy, as opposed to supporting students and facilitating their learning. There needs to be clear guidelines for all universities to adhere to.
I will be sending this petition to the Minister for Universities, the Education Secretary, Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Vice-Chancellor of UEA, and the Director of Student Services at UEA.