The #Access4All Campaign represents a group of students who are concerned by the University of Victoria’s insistence for solely face-to-face learning.
#Access4All is a campaign started by Disabled students at the University of Victoria (UVic) in the spring-term of 2021 during the COVID-19 crisis. We are still in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, and UVic fails to provide equitable access to higher education.
Universal hybrid online access to course materials, lectures, tutorials, labs and class resources is still needed. We know this technology is possible – we had online classes for nearly 2 years. We know people are capable of providing hybrid online/in-person classes – there are instructors who, to this day, provide online attendance options out of the goodness of their hearts. #Access4All is pro in-person learning, and we are pro online learning options. Accessible learning methods and materials is necessary for equitable access to higher education, and hybrid in-person AND/OR online course material is key. #Access4All demands accessible learning options for students during the on-going pandemic, and beyond.
Reverting solely to in-person delivery of classes is an active dismantling of equitable education – notably, students with disabilities and mental health conditions, mature and immunocompromised students, and those who have at-home dependents, work alongside their studies, or who are unable to afford rent in Victoria are disproportionately impacted by a mandatory return to in-person classes; without recorded lectures, online course options, and other similar access points for at-home learning, these demographics are disproportionately affected by a full return to in-person classes.
Over the past 24 months, #Access4All committee members have met with local MLA’s, Parliamentary Secretary Dan Coulter, the UVic Executive, and continue to participate in the revision and renewal of policy AC1205, which is the policy outlining academic accommodations at UVic.
These efforts have not resulted in any tangible or meaningful actions that address access barriers at UVic, despite clear and consistent asks on the part of Disabled students for specific changes.
We demand #Access4All.
This pandemic has shown that adaptations to the delivery of education for the well-being, health, and safety of all students can be achieved when deemed “necessary.” Maintaining flexible in-person/online access to learning materials and coursework is necessary.
Demands of the University of Victoria:
- That UVic ensures all classes in all faculties are offered with online and hybrid options, including labs and tutorials.
- That UVic provides ample support for professors navigating these online and hybrid courses, and that UVic joins the Access4All campaign in lobbying the provincial government for funding for the necessary additional TA support for professors.
- That UVic clearly states which professors are recording their lectures in the course registration for all courses in all faculties.
- That UVic reinstates Echo360 training and pays professors and teaching assistants to attend. In addition, encouraging the use of Echo360 technology and providing documented benchmarks and yearly progress reports showing the increased use of the system.
- The punitive attendance policies be eliminated. Attendance policies are discriminatory towards disabled people who cannot regularly attend class. Attendance policies also put students at risk, as students who are ill are more likely to come to class to avoid losing marks for missing class.
- That the UVic Board of Governors make a public statement announcing their commitment in continuing to dismantle ableist structures at UVic.
- That UVic provide free face masks at building entrances or at designated pick up points and that UVic commit to applying for provincial funding in partnership with #MaskUpUVic to secure adequate PPE for our campus community.