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By: Saad Ejaz

According to MSU Diversity Services Abilities Coordinator Sophie Geffros, there is a positive wave of support and engagement for making campus more accessible for students with disabilities.

On Oct. 8, Diversity Services and the University Affairs Committee hosted the Second Annual Accessibility Forum.

The event focused on how individuals with disabilities and other student groups can come together to share stories and brainstorm ways to improve the accessibility experience at McMaster. The topics of interest focused on how disabilities, chronic medical concerns, mental health issues and madness affect student life.

The theme of this year’s event was “Breaking the Stigma,” and unlike other discussions around accessibility, the focus was to further explore the other challenges common to being a student aside from attending classes.

“We had small group discussions, all of which were lead by facilitators with disabilities, and we talked about things like social events, attending parties, disclosing to an employer and relationships,” says Geffros. The third year Philosophy and Biology student stated, “The end result of all of this is that, by working with University Affairs, I will generate a report based on what we heard from students who attended it, and actually will make recommendations to how we can change Mac and perhaps even the McMaster accessibility policy.”

The committees are also working on a Maccess service along with other bi-weekly support events, which are aimed at strengthening the McMaster community in particular for students with disabilities.

The event was a great success. However, Geffros said it is only the first step. The real work is yet to come in order to implement ideas and continue to build the already positive McMaster community.

Photo Credit: Mike Beattie

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