If I had to choose one, I would focus on ensuring that the Neurodiversity and Disability Society is regularly consulted and that there is a port for constant feedback - including the members, not just the committee. The university and the union have a society that is passionate about making the university not only more accessible to them but to every other neurodiverse or disabled student and staff member. While the society is for discussion, socialising, and support, which should not be taken away, we can be more involved in the campaigns, meetings and discussions that involve us rather than non-disabled, neurotypical individuals making the decisions for us. I know that the incoming VP of Welfare and Community is supportive of ensuring that neurodiverse and disabled students get a voice in decision-making. As someone who has advocated as a SUSU representative in the past with various university and union teams (including, but not limited to, the advice centre, estates, learning space working group, the centre of higher education practice, and the library team) I can work with Laura to make the changes that we have needed at least for the past three years I have been at the university. I have contacts and relationships with the staff from all these groups, and I am ready to start from day one. I have been sneaky, as this answer includes all my policies. My policies were developed with the neurodiversity and disabled society in mind (I was President, after all). I have discussed at great lengths the changes that we, as a society, want to see. Beems has done well as the Disabilities Officer this year, and I want to continue their work and implement some new aims that reflect the needs of the society, especially ones that I have begun work on throughout my time at the university and within the union. I want to continue my work on more accessible learning spaces, gender-neutral toilets on all campuses, access to education, and independent study pods. We will make the university stop deadnaming you. I also want to implement new policies, including access to sports. Please note that society is not advocating for me, I do not represent them, nor do they represent me. However, I have worked closely with members as a former SUSU staff and during my voluntary positions. I will continue to do so if I am elected as a Disabilities Officer. This role is important to me to give the society a louder voice than they currently have. The society does not endorse me as a Disabilities Officer candidate.
Candidate for Disabilities Officer
- NDDSoc are consulted regularly
- Learning spaces are inclusive and fit for purpose
- Improve site resources and accessibility
- Enforce the deadnaming policy
- Better opportunities for Sports
Why vote for Lottie James?
Hi! I am Lottie, and I have been an active part of SUSU over the last three years. I strongly believe students’ unions should be about students and improving student life.
My next project? Being your SUSU Disabilities Officer.
Please forgive the formatting
- I will work with the union, timetabling, estates and the student disability and inclusion team to:
- Create inclusive learning spaces that consider neurodiverse and disabled students.
- Un-pause their progress on gender-neutral toilets across campuses.
- Promote support available and create better support opportunities based on what you need.
- Create better opportunities for sports by lobbying for:
- Wheelchair-accessible sports teams and supporting students to access community teams.
- Specific time slots for gym use including the pool.
- Ensure all study arrangements (special cons, extensions, additional exam requirements, etc.) have regular consultation with neurodiverse and disabled students.
- Ensure that student support recommendations are not late, and independent learning activities (including group work) are inclusive.
- Provide spaces for neurodiverse and disabled students, including social spaces, study spaces, and allocated hours before and after events (I am not a morning person).
- I will work with the library team to ensure all libraries are inclusive and accessible by:
- Ensuring the induction is available 24/7.
- Implementing more independent (bookable) study pods.
- I will call out the university for still deadnaming students two years after I made them make it their policy to stop.
If it isn’t clear, I mean ALL students – undergraduates, postgraduates, part-time, full-time, the covid cohort, non-exam sitters, online students, not-Highfield students, the student watching anime in the library, the students that want a guillotine in the library (sorry, I had to), and anyone in between.
Ok, so why me?
- As a former sabbatical officer and current senator, I know how SUSU works.
- I have worked with teams (including the student disability and inclusion team) across the university, so I have already built those connections.
- I have worked with external organisations promoting mental health support, better representation, and access to disabled students, and creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all neurodiverse and disabled people within a NUS (National Union of Students) committee.
- I have a very visible presence on campus and online (except I no longer have pink hair, sorry) and students come to me already at least once a week for support.
- I am a neurodiverse student and I have a disability. I also have a severe mental health condition.
- I have worked within the NDD society committee, as a course representative for two years, have had successful you make change and all student vote submissions, other society committees, and I have completed several professional qualifications within health and social care and education relating to neurodiverse conditions and disabilities.
TL;DR: I just want to help you get the best experience at university that you can. Your choice of candidate is up to you, and I’ll still be around to help regardless.
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Thank you so much! That is so kind of you. While I only had six months in the role, it was a good opportunity to work with the members to create a safe and accessible environment for all neurodiverse and disabled students. We introduced the term “NDDsoc” to account for disabled students (as “NDsoc” often translated to “neurodiversity society” and we are, of course, inclusive to all). We also updated the logo, so it uses the disability awareness colours. We also spent the six months rebuilding the Discord, so it was secure, and current students felt they could share without judgement and get advice from other students. I believe while we have spent time building the society back to what it once was, the focus also needs to be on the union and the university to improve services and support both outside of the society and inside, especially where student feedback is concerned. During my term as a Sabbatical Officer, neurodiversity and disability awareness was not always considered. As an autistic employee, it was important that reasonable adjustments were in place to ensure that I had the same experiences as the other Sabbatical Officers, and I did not miss opportunities. SUSU have been completing with Equality and Inclusion audits which is fantastic, but more training needs to be done to ensure SUSU are able to work with the society to create better accessibility for events and support, individuals feel comfortable talking to neurodiverse and disabled students and staff, and neurodiverse and disabled students feel heard during the SUSU planning sessions (for Freshers, campaigns, etc.). This is also remarkably similar for the university, as more needs to be done to ensure things like deadnaming are taken seriously. It is also important to me that disabled students can access their lectures, and neurodiverse and disabled students aren’t left feeling like they are not important and the support options for neurodiverse and disabled students should not be the university’s default “well, they can suspend or defer, or even withdraw”. As someone who could not attend lectures due to sensory overload and resistance from timetabling and her school to change rooms and create smaller groups, I don’t want that to happen to anyone else. There is so much, and I might be here forever if I translate each experience from the variety of roles I have taken on at the union and university, so I will leave it there. I am also very open to suggestions from neurodiverse and disabled students as, if I get the role, I will be working for them. P.S. Apologies for any grammar mistakes. I am dyslexic and Grammarly isn't always reliable!
This question was only asked to LottieAnswered by Lottie on 16/05/23 22:13