Disabled student forced to miss one of her first in-person classes because of a broken lift

Engineering student Lizzie Iles says she feels like an ‘afterthought’ at uni

A wheelchair-using student was forced to miss one of her first in-person lectures after the pandemic because a lift broke, leaving her no way to access a fourth-floor classroom.

Aston student Lizzie Iles says it was a “kick in the teeth” and as a disabled person she felt like an “afterthought”, being the only person to miss the session.

Engineering student Lizzie says her experience is typical of issues faced by disabled students on a constant basis.

“It was like a kick in the teeth turning up and realising that I’m the only one who can’t attend because I physically can’t get there”, she told The Tab

However, Lizzie says the university sorted the issue swiftly and has now rearranged her classes to rooms she can access. Aston University, however, did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

After spending a year doing difficult online learning for her engineering course, “I was so excited to actually be in a room with other people that I could talk about the solutions to the problems,” Lizzie said.

Arriving, as she usually does for in-person classes, half an hour early in case there were any issues with accessing the room, Lizzie was confronted with a broken lift. Unable to get to her fourth floor classroom, and with staff unable to sort out an alternative, Lizzie had to miss the class.

“What should have just been me turning up to a class sitting down, doing the work, I actually ended up having to chase up four different people and go across the whole building,” Lizzie said. “Everything’s on me to sort it out.

“I was just so drained because it’s a basic thing – being able to go to the classroom,” she told The Tab.

Lizzie says her experience with missing the session sums up a lot of how she experiences university. “As a disabled person, even the basic level of requirements, you have to keep fighting to get them constantly,” she said.

“It’s really tough to deal with after a while, because we just want to get our degrees as much as anyone else. If anything we want them more because we have to fight for every little thing.”

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