500 students sign petition urging City Uni Law School to meet disability access promise
Student with cerebral palsy claims officials are dragging heels over upgrade to law library doors
A leading law school is under fire for allegedly failing to follow disability rights law and live up to an earlier commitment to make life easier for a student with cerebral palsy.
But City University Law School insists that it will meet its pledge and says it is in the process of scheduling the work.
More than 500 students have signed a petition calling on the authorities at City to “take immediate remedial action to redress its discriminatory treatment of disabled students”.
The petition revolves around the case of Josh Hepple (pictured below), a Graduate Diploma in Law student, who has been lobbying the university’s hierarchy for the last three months to improve access to the law library.
Legal Cheek reported at the beginning of March that Hepple won an agreement from City to upgrade the law library entrance by installing modern electronic doors.
However, Hepple maintains that despite that commitment, the improvements have not been implemented and that access is still limited and difficult. In the interim he is having to use a mobile phone to text someone to open the door for him.
The petition — which at the time of writing had attracted nearly 520 signatures — demands “City University take immediate remedial action to redress its discriminatory treatment of disabled students”. It continues:
“As has been officially recognised by City University, it is nearly impossible for students with limited mobility and movement control to use the card swipe system to gain entry to certain buildings and facilities inside them, including the law library. The university has recognised their obligation to provide accessible facilities to all students, and their legal and moral duties to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act. Despite promising to resolve these issues on several occasions, no action has been taken.”
The petitioners claim that “failure to make these adjustments means that disabled students are unable to access the library on equal terms with non-disabled students”. This “discriminatory treatment”, they add, is “absolutely unacceptable, especially given the increasing need for access to library resources during the examination period”.
The petition goes on to “demand that City University ends this unlawful disability discrimination and immediately implements permanent solutions ensuring equal access for all students, regardless of disability, which have been approved by those parties affected.”
It is understood that the university has struggled with procurement red tape in a bid to wheel in hammer and screwdriver-wielding contractors.
A spokeswoman for City told Legal Cheek:
“The university is in the process of scheduling work to install automated doors and a proximity reader. Temporary measures to improve access have been put in place in the interim and this has been communicated to those concerned.”
Disabled student takes on law school over dodgy swipe-card access to library [Legal Cheek]