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Monday, May 10, 2021

Viking Voice

How can Western improve accessibility for those with disabilities?

“I think first and foremost, by listening to students and by having students aware of the ways that they can provide feedback. Accessibility is a term that means a lot of different things in a lot of different contexts. Accessibility in the digital spaces, like our websites being accessible, accessibility in the physical environment, accessibility in terms of engaging with course content. Those are three big and different things that students may have different requests on how to access whatever is being offered in those environments. So, students know about who to contact when they experience a physical barrier, a lot of what DRS can do is help point students to the right people to let people know there’s a barrier. On the Western website, there’s a link to report technological barriers, there’s ways to report physical barriers. Students can always contact DRS if they need assistance in connecting with those resources, and there are any number of folks we can connect them with. Second, I think we’re doing a lot of things to improve accessibility on campus. DRS is going to be having a full time director. DRS will be receiving funding for an additional counseling position, and DRS will be moving to a new physical space. And that physical space is going to have more room, for things like administering exams, quizzes, and stuff like that, but also, for more community activities. In the current plan, there’s open space, and accessible space, for people to come together, which is not something that our current space allows.”

Jon McGough

Associate Director of the disAbility Resources Center


Interviewed by Zoe Buchli


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