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 10 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:
- Hybrid access to classes, tutorials, and labs for those unable to attend in-person,
- That UVic overtly work with the #Access4All committee in advocating for funding from the provincial government to ensure hybrid access to course, lecture, tutorial, and lab materials in a way that professors and students feel supported, and
- Ensure that students who are ill or self-isolating will not have marks deducted for doing so, whether or not a medical note is provided.
- A commitment to continue the anti-ableist work needed on campus for equitable access to higher education.