This week, a motion was passed by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) that mandated the union’s president and officer for students with disabilities to lobby College to examine the feasibility of making House Six accessible.
TCDSU should be commended for passing this motion: there has never been a better time to campaign on this issue. The Trinity Ability Co_op has proved an effective lobbying power since its inception. Candidates in this year’s TCDSU sabbatical elections were forced to engage with accessibility in a way that they had not in previous years.
Furthermore, conversations around online learning and improving accessibility in that way have progressed significantly. There is now evidence of significant political will among students to make College more accessible.
House Six is home to TCDSU, as well as a vast array of societies and this newspaper. The lack of accessibility has proved a major obstacle for students with disabilities wanting to get involved
Earlier this year, an Cumann Gaelach launched its own accessibility campaign for Seomra na Gaeilge, after it emerged that nothing had been done to make the room more accessible for wheelchair users and those with mobility issues following an inquiry in 2017. In February, The University Times published a feature revealing the physical obstacles preventing societies and their events from being accessible to all. It is clear that accessibility is a massive issue in College.
In February, this Editorial Board wrote that Cumann Gaelach should be commended for their initiative in their accessibility campaign, and that students should stand together to fight for greater accessibility in College. Union action on accessibility in House Six is long overdue, but now is the right time to really push for change.
While this motion is a promising step on the path to making House Six more accessible, it is frustrating that there is so much bureaucracy surrounding student spaces. An inaccessible House Six has been a glaring issue for so long – how has Trinity’s administration not made it a priority?
Societies are a fundamental part of the student experience. Now is the time for the union to force College – along with Provost-elect Linda Doyle – to make sure House Six is accessible for all students.