March 8th, 2010


oh, for gods' sake

Remember the monstrous email that I sent to administrative people at college with respect to the Symposium I'm supposed to go to in June? How long would you wait for a reply before kicking the problem to someone more senior?

I sent the email on Thursday 25th February (although they wouldn't have got it until Friday 26th unless they were working super-late). That's 6 working days now. In all that time, all I've had is an acknowledgement from one of the people that he'd received it. I don't know if they've forwarded it on to anyone else, if they're trying to figure out how to achieve some of the things like going over to the building before getting back to me, or if it's sitting in an Inbox unopened. And I know that the person who hasn't acknowledged receipt of the email has been in college, because I've received mailing list email from him every day.

The basic impression I'm getting is that I seem to be the first person with disabilities that the new department/ISMB have ever encountered, and they have no idea how to cope. Half of me is thinking "Can that really be true?", while the other half is thinking "Oh my God, what if it is true?". Considering how utterly hostile and upsetting the interview I had was, if I'd been competing for a place with funding... Then this makes me pissed off all over again because duty under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) is anticipatory. That means it's not good enough to say "Oh, we don't have any disabled students so we don't need to worry about it". You're supposed to think through all the areas that are potentially disabling (under the social model of disability) and make plans in advance so that reasonable adjustments are already in place before the first disabled student even arrives. Certainly, once my Individual Student Support Agreement (ISSA) was received by the department, someone should have gone through it and noted possible problems to avoid. Rather than me having to email the conference organisers about my access needs, they should have emailed me.