Disabilities Officer – Week 5, Sem 1, 2019

Hayden Moon and Wilson Huang

Hello and a warm welcome from the Disabilities officers.

Support the mental health of students

During Welcome Week, we communicated with the NUS Disabilities Officer William Edwards about his No Mind Left Behind campaign. A disproportionate number of students experience psychological distress, and we are dismayed by campus counselling services. The University of Sydney gives students up to 6 counselling sessions per year. For many students needing long term support, this is not enough. We encourage everyone to sign a petition calling for reform in campus counselling services at www.megaphone.org.au/p/nmlb.

Accessibility at Redfern station

In October 2018, the USyd Disabilities Collective along with People with Disabilities Australia (PWDA) held a rally outside Redfern calling for more accessible public transport. We are pleased to announce that according to news from The Sydney Morning Herald, new lifts will be built increasing accessibility to Redfern Station. We continue to advocate for accessibility in public transport for all disabled people.

Disabilities space on campus

We would like a space on campus for students and staff with disability. Students with disability can be incredibly isolated especially when they don’t know others like them. We believe that having a disabilities space would be beneficial for the social inclusion, mental health and wellbeing of disabled students on campus. We have contacted the USU about finding a space and plan to follow up on it.

Intersectionality

During the beginning of the year, two of our collective members, Robin Eames (Disabilities officer 2018) and Hayden Moon (Disabilities officer 2019), presented at The Better Together Conference held by The Equality Project.

As members of SQuAD (Sydney Queer and Disability community group), Hayden and Robin did a great job of discussing the difficulties that come with being disabled and queer in 2019 and how far we still need to go in terms of equality. The Panel was called “Queer & Disabled: Intersections, inclusion, solidarity, community.”

Joining the Disabilities collective

As always we welcome new members into our collective who have disabilities including mental, chronic, or terminal illnesses; people who are neurodivergent; and people who are D/deaf or hard of hearing, even if they don’t identify as disabled or as having a disability. Sign up at https://www.facebook.com/groups/USydDisabilities2018/.