Kyra: ‘The university is now too fragmented to be truly accessible’

Kyra Mulders (23) asks questions about her study Health Sciences at that faculty, about study number two Philosophy, she puts at another faculty, about campus at another department, about events with students and study associations in those organizations. And who will help her if an elevator breaks down? When Kyra runs into a problem, she has to go for the solution herself. Before she can take it up, she needs to figure out which department to go to. “The university is so fragmented. Someone from higher up should have the overview, “says Philosophy and Health Science students. “Maybe then the university will be a better place for students with a disability.”

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A more accessible campus is possible, Kyra says. She thinks of solutions, but sometimes she just wants to go on a study association trip. “They were up at Beautiful Boules or on the beach, so unfortunately not available to me. That needs to be taken into account a little more. ” If Kyra raises a problem and it gets arrested, there is often an ad hoc solution. For example, the sidewalk in front of the Bayle building, where Kyra is an intern, has been rerouted, but now the entrance is ‘dangerously sloping’. “Therefore, I think that one person should have an overview of projects to improve accessibility. Hopefully something like this will be done right the first time. The university is now too fragmented to be truly accessible. “

more conscious

We get coffee on Bayle’s seventh floor, because there the coffee is better, says Kyra. Back on the equally purple sixth floor, it is felt that all the connecting doors in the hallway are open. “It’s for me,” Kyra explains. “I can not open them because they are so heavy. People on this campus are becoming increasingly aware of these kinds of issues. Four years ago, accessibility was still largely an afterthought, even among students. I no longer look crazy when I ask for help, and I am no longer called when I ask students not to park their bikes in front of the slope to the sidewalk. ”

The modest Kyra does not dare say whether she has contributed to that consciousness. In December 2021, she said that “campus is a true hell for people in wheelchairs.” Her courage to say no was rewarded with a nomination for the Student of the Year award.

Kyra

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Angry

“There’s still a lot to be critical of,” Kyra says. For example, she was furious one afternoon during her internship. She researches how students with physical disabilities experience higher education. “I then discovered that all individual facilities to which students with physical disabilities are entitled expire after the age of 30. Everything from transport to campus or special software to sign language interpreters at lectures. This is organized by UWV. So that’s a national rule. If you can not take a candidate after a certain age, then you do not have equal opportunities, right? ”

Important

Kyra has lots of tips for university. She returns to the fragmented university. Specifically, the university can already address two things, she says. The first: provide information about facilities, about schedules, about the department for studying with a disability, also to graduate students. “A lot is explained at the beginning of your bachelor’s degree, which is often not the case with the graduate. It appears from my internship study. The lack of information is very confusing when you change university, but also when you just change faculty. ”

Number two: Make sure that students with disabilities also get all the facilities at the start of another study. “When I started at Philosophy, I had to ask for everything again. Three years after starting the first study, I no longer knew what facilities I had. ”

Letthe Riemen_photo by Ronald van den Heerik

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