HSSSJE is committed to working to improve access for its students, faculty and for the OISE community at large.
The Standing Committee‘s objectives are documented on this page. For current information on the Accessibility at HSSSJE, please contact the Accessibility Committee Chair: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- HSSSJE Accessibility Mandate
- HSSSJE Standing Committee Proposal
- HSSSJE Statement of Access
- HSSSJE Conference Access Guide
- OISE Graduate Student's Association Accessibility Committee information
- Link to Counselling Services
March 1, 2009
The Accessibility Standing Committee will address issues related to accessibility in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies and will work collaboratively in the creation and promotion of initiatives that relate to this end. The mission of the Accessibility Standing Committee is broadly defined. The committee understands “access” and “accessibility” as evolving concepts that must be welcoming to and inclusive of diverse bodies and multiple interests in our communities. The committee will work to address issues specific to disability access, while at the same time working collaboratively to promote accessible spaces related to issues of status, trans-identity, racialization, queer and queer politics, class and gender politics.
The Accessibility Standing Committee is dedicated to exploring how to think about disability and activate accessibility differently at SESE. This committee imagines concepts of ‘accessibility’ and ‘access’ in relation to multiple and interlocking systems of exclusion that are working together to create barriers to participation in this department and across the university. Therefore, one of the main things the Accessibility Standing Committee will work on each year is to open up a conversation about accessibility and to change spaces as well as conceptions about inclusions and exclusions.
At the advent of the yearly formation of the committee, the committee members will consult with their respective cauci in order to ascertain access issues and set priorities for the year. Work will be prioritized within the limits of the composition of the committee and the priorities of the department. The work of the committee will be reported to each General Assembly and shared with related communities. The committee welcomes people to join in our meetings. The committee aims for a model of participation and cooperation with other individuals and groups. Dialogue will help to ensure a responsiveness to shifting disability ideologies and accessibility requirements of our related communities. The committee’s mission is to think creatively and critically about accessibility as a complex issue that is embedded in the ways we function in this department.
To create a new standing committee, to be called the Accessibility Standing Committee, whose mission will be to ensure that accessibility is an ongoing project in the department, to initiate conversations about accessibility at SESE and OISE/UT, and to work on changes in issues of governance related to Accessibility.
Making Accessibility a standing committee would also ensure continuity over time. Many initiatives around accessibility require a committed effort that may span semesters and years. Standing committees have a better chance of making systemic changes because they ensure that a dedicated group of people will carry the issues forward each year.
This committee would also give people a place to go with Accessibility concerns or issues where these issues could be addressed adequately and by a group of people rather than placing a disproportionate amount of stress and responsibility on one person. We will develop a reporting structure for concerns or issues related to accessibility. The committee will liaise regularly with the Graduate Coordinator.
- Continual use of ‘Social Audits’ to audit the physical department space as well as the virtual space ie. website to render them more user friendly.
- Work with the institution at large ie. OISE, to ensure proper signage (wayfinding).
- Secure funding to make larger changes possible.
- Work with other on campus organizations such as Students for Barrier Free Access (SFBFA), New College, Hart House.
- Conduct research on best practices of other institutions and current developments in resources (such as adaptive technology). Gather together organizations who are doing accessibility well and learn from them.
- Be available as a resource to different bodies and to students, faculty and staff individuals and organizations to address accessibility issues.
- Organize a symposium/mini-conference to bring together community groups, academics, designers, service providers so that we can learn from each other.
OISE Faculty and Staff must respond to requests for disability accommodation.
In HSSJE, access and accommodation are understood as:
- a right protected by law;
- services provided to registered recipients at accessibility services or by other service providers;
- a process which requires the continuous conversation, work and/or negotiation among all, including those who do or do not self-identify as disabled and allies.
HSSJE understands that access and accommodation are always an ongoing and shifting project and welcomes conversations, work and negotiation at the level of individual rights and needs, in relation to structural barriers and activist pursuits, and as part of scholarly questioning and research.
These diverse approaches to access and accommodation aim to reflect that the department of HSSJE is oriented to welcoming disability as part of its life and work while reshaping unexamined conceptions of disability that are doing the job of excluding students, staff and faculty.
What to do if you have an access or accommodation issue that you wish to address?
The University of Toronto recommends that students immediately register by visiting Accessibility Services.
You may also contact HSSJE point persons including:
HSSJE Accessibility Committee Chair, email@example.com
If you want to pursue the question of access and accommodation more fully please check out “Beyond Compliance” or a disability studies course, or join the HSSJE Accessibility Committee or the Graduate Student Association Accessibility Committee.
September 16, 2010
The Sociology and Equity Studies in Education (SESE) community will be enhanced by a broader conceptualization of access that includes disability in its calls for inclusion, equality, and social justice. Animated by the understanding of disability as a socio-political phenomenon, and a desirable place for scholarly inquiry, access is imagined as an ongoing communicative relationship between people, activities and environments. We offer these points as ways of doing access so as to cultivate a more inclusive spirit at the SESE graduate student conference.
Accessibility is not simply a one-way street where one gives access to another and it is more than mere compliance with laws. Given this, we hope that presenters will engage these suggestions creatively and productively in diverse and unique ways.
Guide: Thinking about accessibility: Places to begin...
- While presenting, blocking one’s face and mouth with hands or papers may compromise communication.
- Repeating questions aloud before answering them can increase access.
- The pace and volume of your voice may affect how others’ access to your presentation.
- Visually describing power point presentations or any sort of projections or visuals gives more people access to the visual components to your presentation.
- Reading aloud words and quotes that are visually displayed, whether in handouts or projections, increases access to the materials to which you are referring.
- Think about how the font style and size used can improve access to your handouts and projections. Avoid using dark text on a dark background.
- Handing out a written copy of your presentation and providing large print (18 point font) copies of all text-based handouts can improve access to your presentations.
- Spelling out names of people you refer to in your presentation allows more people to access your references.
- Participate in OISE’s commitment to minimize scents in the environment.
Please contact us with any access questions: firstname.lastname@example.org