We need to talk about Swansea University Accessibility

The university has made a lot of changes over the last few years, including a brand new campus. However, there is still a lot of work to be done on both Singleton and Bay campuses. Like many people with disabilities, this makes me worry about how the changes will affect the accessibility of the university.

It can be hard to navigate everyday life with a disability, particularly when a seemingly simple journey across campus is more like navigating a minefield of broken pavements and high kerbs. I’ve been a student here for four years now and as a result I’m used to facing these problems on a daily basis. I have gotten to know the campus, I remember where the high kerbs are as well as the broken paving stones and the loose drain covers.

Bay campus, with impossibly high kerbs and very few proper crossings

Although I’m used to it, I don’t think anyone with a disability should have to be. It’s not fair that students with additional needs are forced to work so much harder just to get around campus. This is worse for new students, not only do they not know their way around campus, they also don’t know where the hazards are. Disabled people have to tread with such caution as a seemingly minor problem could cause serious injuries to someone who has a disability.

A hole in the paving outside Glyndwr building

I decided that something needed to be done to tackle these issues, and I wanted to help current and future students with disabilities to be safe in Swansea University. I spent close to eight hours surveying Singleton Park campus and Bay campus. You may have seen me taking pictures of pavements and doors and thought that I was crazy. I’m not I swear, I’m just determined to identify as many of the problems as possible. 

Broken paving around the lawn outside Fulton House

I managed to identify 166 issues across the two campuses. 104 were on Singleton and 42 were on Bay. To be honest, this wasn’t entirely surprising, but it was disappointing, knowing that the university has so many issues that are making it less accessible. I have compiled a report for the university with all of the problems I found and hopefully this will prompt them to make all the necessary changes.

Of course, given some of the buildings are quite old, making certain buildings accessible would prove near impossible. However, the report focuses not on these issues, but rather issues that can easily be changed. One of the most common issues on both Bay and Singleton Campuses were uneven or damaged paving tiles, or simply no paving tiles which make accessibility almost impossible, particularly for the visually impaired as there is next to no indication of the beginning and the ends of pavements. These issues are a simple fix and can have very detrimental effects on people with disabilities as well as able-bodied people.

The publication of the report means that it’s more important than ever for us to talk about accessibility for all and it is my hope that one day Swansea University will be totally inclusive and 100% accessible.

Chloe’s full report can be downloaded here.

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