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Glasgow University apologises to blind student over law firm grad rec leaflets

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Russell Group institution mishandled request to digitise law fair materials

The University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow has apologised to a blind student for mishandling their request that it digitise law firm graduate recruitment leaflets.

The student, referred to only as ‘A’ in a Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) report, had attended a law fair hosted by the university to meet prospective employers.

‘A’ already had arrangements in place with the university to digitise course materials, the report states, and submitted a number of leaflets they received at the fair for digitisation.

When ‘A’ did not receive a response “some months after”, a relative complained to the university on their behalf, only to be told that they did not consider it to be their responsibility and that it was the law firms who should digitise the materials.

The university returned the materials around six months after receiving them, according to the SPSO report. The student’s relative said that, due to the time that had passed, the budding lawyer had missed out on internship opportunities detailed in the leaflets.

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In reaching its decision, the Ombudsman said, “the question of responsibility for providing the materials in an accessible format was a complex one, which could likely only be resolved through the courts”. However, it found there had been an “unreasonable delay” in handling the student’s request and ultimately, the university “refused to investigate the matter fully”.

The SPSO in upholding the complaint asked the university to apologise to the student and their relative for mishandling their request.

A spokesperson for Glasgow University said: “This ruling relates to a request by a student for the university to digitise leaflets produced by law firms which were recruiting trainees. Our view was that this responsibility lay with the law firms rather than with the university.”

They continued:

“We will continue to encourage graduate recruiters to produce all their recruiting materials in accessible formats. We have issued an apology to the student as per the SPSO ruling.”

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