Cardiff student couldn’t go to her graduation event because there was no disabled access

She had to turn around and go home again

A Cardiff student was unable to attend her graduation event because there was no disabled access.

23-year-old pharmacy Master’s graduate Sarah*, from the University of Cardiff, went to her graduation event yesterday. When Sarah arrived with her mum, who is a wheelchair user, and her step-dad, who is her mum’s carer, they found there was minimal disabled access.

Sarah had been able to attend a smaller ceremony for her individual school at the university earlier in the morning where her mum was able to attend and watch her daughter celebrate her graduation.

Her family had booked to attend the Cardiff’s Graduation Gardens where most people choose to take photos in their gowns with their families and friends. But upon arrival at the Gardens, Sarah’s family found there was no disabled access or disabled parking. Sarah’s family were forced to park on double yellow lines and “hope for the best”.

Sarah told The Tab: “It was very difficult with my mum being in a wheelchair. My step-dad and mum had to wait on the grass for five minutes whilst I quickly took photos in some places.”

The main graduation ceremony was then held by the university at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. Sarah’s family were told beforehand where they could find disabled parking and were informed it would be clearly signposted.

However, whilst trying to get to the stadium from the university campus, Sarah’s family and many other graduates were met with heavy traffic as everyone tried to get to the graduation ceremony.

The traffic was so bad that many graduates made the choice to abandon their cars and walk the rest of the way. But for Sarah’s mum this was not an option. Left with no other choice, Sarah’s family had to turn around and return home.

Reflecting on the day, Sarah said: “We weren’t given any guidance on accessibility or parking, despite having mentioned that we needed wheelchair access when booking all the event tickets.

“It felt like every single thing organised that day was done so simply to save money, and not to celebrate us as graduates.”

The Tab has contacted Cardiff University for comment. 

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*Names have been changed to preserve anonymity.