If you’re a disabled student at Goldsmiths, you undoubtedly have a lot more on your hands right now in the current situation. While the Wellbeing and Disability services at Goldsmiths remain open, they can no longer offer face-to-face appointments or drop-ins. You can still contact them to request a phone, Skype or instant messenger appointment, or email them questions. Contact the Wellbeing Service here and the Disability Service here.
We asked both a representative from the Disability Service and Malikah Ullah (an Accessibility & Inclusion Rep for the Psychology department) some questions that we thought might be useful to have answered if you’re living with a disability at Goldsmiths.
Q. Will I be allocated my recommended extra time or rest breaks for an open book assessment?
Malikah: As far as I know, departments should give students with a RASA extra time to complete assessments. If the link to the open book assessment is on the VLE, they should look at providing a separate link for RASA students so they have longer to upload assignments. Only if you have a RASA should you get this. It varies from department to department but this is what the Psychology department are doing and it's not unreasonable to request your department do the same since it's obviously possible.
Q. I am profoundly deaf and require transcript/subtitles for all audio materials, will this be provided?
Goldsmiths Disability Service: Your academic department should be providing accessible audio materials as a reasonable adjustment. Please get in touch with them directly to request this and if you have problems or the department need further guidance on how to do this, the Disability Service can help.
Malikah: I suggest contacting your head of department with your issue and I'm sure they will be able to find a way to provide this whether it be getting module coordinators to send their resources, to transcribing companies or lecturers providing subtitles for recording lectures, for example. There's many ways for this to be done so I'm sure it can be sorted!
Q. Now that the University has moved from face-to-face classes to online teaching, how do I access my note-taking support?
Malikah: If your note-taking support is provided by the university in the form of Randstad note-taking support, they should have contacted you. They can still provide note-taking support even with online and remote lectures.
Q. I use assistive technology, e.g. specialist software such as screen magnification tools and screen reading, but do not have access to it from home, what should I do?
Goldsmiths Disability Service: Email the Disability Service who can provide guidance on how to access this from home and advise on what your funding options are: email@example.com.
Q. I have a disability and would like to access reasonable adjustments but my medical evidence does not meet the Universities policy requirements.
Goldsmiths Disability Service: Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can advise on how to get the right kind of evidence and see what reasonable adjustments might be possible with the evidence you do have.
Q. As a student with a mental health condition, should Goldsmiths be supporting me during the pandemic? The new way of studying remotely is causing me a lot of confusion, anxiety and stress which is exacerbating my existing condition.
Goldsmiths Disability Service: Yes - if you have a RASA in place for a long-term mental health condition this will remain in place, and you should make use of the funded support you have e.g. mentoring. If you don’t have a RASA but still would like to receive advice and support, please contact the Wellbeing Team (Wellbeing@gold.ac.uk).
Additional information from Disability Rights UK: In general, your university or college should be providing accessible and clear information about mental health and wellbeing to all students. As a student with a declared mental health condition, the university or college should be looking at alternative ways to provide you with support during this difficult time, such as offering counselling and mentoring by phone and video conferencing. There are many organisations which also offer support to people with mental health conditions which you can contact such as: Student Minds which is a student mental health charity and Mind.
For more information on your rights as a disabled student, please have a read of the Disability Rights UK fact sheet: ’Understanding the Equality Act: Information for disabled students.'
You may also find this factsheet helpful too: ‘Adjustments for disabled students.'