September 21, 2015 at 16:00 pm
Maccess, a series of events and discussion on various (dis)abilities and how they affect students on campus, will be running the entirety of this week. Each day features distinct programming with the aim of raising awareness of the wide spectrum of ability related issues on campus. This is so important as the barriers that make a campus or a classroom inaccessible are as diverse as our students at Mac.
Here is a brief outline of the week:
Monday: Accessible Perspective (11:30-4:30 Drop in) and a Low Vision Seminar (4:30-6:30 and 6:30-8:30)
Tuesday: Making Campus Mad Positive and Accessible for Students with Mental Health Disabilities (10:30-11:20) and a Beginner American Sign Language course (4:00-6:00, 6:00-8:00, 8:00-10:00)
Wednesday: Spoon Theory in Practice (12:30-1:20) and Anti Oppression Training (4:30-8:30)
Thursday: Speech by David Lepofsky (11:30-12:20) and a Ontario Blind Sports Association Demo (2:00-4:00)
Find out more information and RSVP to events at https://www.msumcmaster.ca/maccess
There has been ongoing discussion as to the accessibility of campus and this campaign seeks to include and inform students in these ongoing discussions. Maccess does an excellent job focusing on all types of accessibility both visible and invisible, especially ones not commonly examined. For example, chronic illness, cognitive diversity, and mental health concerns are just some areas that should be focused on more heavily when looking at classroom design.
While there are university services like Student Accessibility Services that focus on accommodating students, these accommodations assist in making student life easier, but they do not themselves create an accessible environment. A lot is left up to a professor in the creation of an accessible classroom. What makes an excellent professor is when they realize they have this opportunity and take advantage of it. When professors cater to different learning styles, have lecture material available out of class for students that may have to be absent, are open to offering extensions and individualized assessment, they are making an effort to improve the accessibility of their classroom. While all Canadian universities have a significant amount of effort they need to put in, the McMaster Student Union’s Maccess campaign is helping with the first step: awareness.