The Student Life Centre (SLC) is the heart of student life on campus. As such, the SLC should strive to be as inclusive and accessible as possible for students, staff, tenants, and the broader community. The SLC Accessibility Plan (hereinafter referred to as “the Plan”) aims to align the SLC facilities and operations with the University policies and guidelines including, but not limited to, the Queen’s University Accessibility Plan as approved by the Vice-Principal’s Operations Committee in 2013 and the Queen’s Equity Office Accessibility Statement.
Student Life Centre (SLC): Three buildings which are governed by SLC Council and subject to the Management & Operations Agreement between the Alma Mater Society, the Society of Graduate and Professional Students, and the University.
SLC Council: The governing body of the SLC which is ultimately responsible to the University Senate.
Management Team: The day-to-day managers of the SLC comprised of the Student Centre Officer, the SLC Administration Manager and the SLC Operations Manager. Where required, this includes the SLC Reservation Coordinator and SLC Facilities Officer.
Barrier: Means anything that prevents any person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of their disability, including, but not limited to; physical barriers, architectural barriers, information or communications barriers, attitudinal barriers, technological barriers, or policies and procedures that inadvertently pose barriers.
Description of the SLC
The Student Life Centre (SLC) is the heart of student life on campus. Comprised of three buildings, the John Deutsch University Centre, the Queen’s Centre, the Grey House with a relationship to MacGillivray-Brown Hall, the SLC serves as the seat of the main student government at Queen’s, the Alma Mater Society (AMS) and the Society of Graduate &
- Queen’s University, Accessibility Policy, University Secretariat, Accessed July 22nd 2014, Online, University Accessibility Policy
Professional Students (SGSP), as well as numerous club offices, student services, and bookable spaces. The SLC is governed by SLC Council which reports to the University Senate.
As per the SLC Constitution, the mandate of the SLC is to:
- To remember and honour the members of the Queen’s community fallen in war and, further, to acknowledge and celebrate the rich history and traditions of the University and its students, faculty, staff and alumni in their pursuit of the essential values of intellectual integrity, freedom of inquiry and the exchange of ideas, and the equal dignity of all persons;
- To provide formal and informal gathering places for, and foster communication among and between, students, faculty, staff and alumni;
- To offer a home to student governments, faculty societies, student clubs and organizations and the associated opportunities for self-directed programs and services;
- To stimulate and facilitate cultural, educational, recreational and social programs that support the missions of student governments and the University; and
- To house student, university and commercial services that meet the needs of students, faculty, staff and visitors and contribute to the vitality of the Centre
SLC Accessibility Policy Statement
The Student Life Centre is at its core the heart of student life on campus and is made rich, vibrant, and energetic by the diversity of its users and tenants. The Student Life Centre recognizes that an important relationship exists between the diversity of its users and tenants and its capacity for cultural, social, and service excellence.
Statement of Commitment
The Student Life Centre Council, its committees, and the Management Team are committed to implementing this plan and working to continue to identify and eradicate accessibility barriers related to the Student Life Centre in line with our Accessibility Policy Statement.
Accessible Customer Service Strategies
Pursuant to the above Accessibility Policy Statement, the SLC will strive to establish accessible and inclusive customer service practices. The SLC recognizes the unique role played by SLC Representatives who service a diverse range of patrons. Their responsibilities include welcoming visitors to the SLC and Queen’s; directing patrons to the appropriate service or building on campus; giving access to SLC bookable spaces for student groups, departments, and external vendors; collecting posters for approval, and a myriad of other responsibilities. As such, SLC Representatives and their managers should be well equipped to work with a diverse and ever changing customer base.
As such, the SLC Management Team and SLC Council make the following commitments in order achieve our goal of an accessible and inclusive space on campus:
- Mandatory Accessible Customer Service Training for the Management Team and service staff
- Mandatory Human Rights Training for the Management Team and service staff
- Special Human Rights Training delivered by the University Human Rights Office for the Management Team
- Mandatory Positive Space Training for the Management Team and service staff
- Mandatory Intercultural Competence Certificate training for Management Team
- Anti-Oppression Training as delivered by the AMS Social Issues Commissioner
- Consistent messaging around accessible entrances and services for the SLC to be included in staff training manuals and the SLC Conference & Events Package
- To make available to staff and patrons resources such as the Human Rights Services & Programs Guide and the Q ueen’s Access ib il it y Hub
- To work with the Built Environment Working Group on identifying areas for improvement as it pertains to the physical infrastructure of the SLC
- To include accessible components in the operational frameworks of the SLC including the Capital Project Development Framework
- To reach out and engage with the student and the broader community about the Plan prior to approval by SLC Council
- To collect ongoing feedback from the Queen’s community and bring issues and ideas to the attention of the SLC Accessibility Committee
- To regularly report to SLC Council on initiatives being undertaken by the SLC Accessibility Committee and the SLC Management Team
Alignment and Coordination
In order to ensure that this Plan is successful, it is crucial that it is closely aligned with current SLC and University policies and frameworks. As such, this Plan is aligned with the Queen’s Accessibility Plan and will help us coordinate the any policies or projects initiated through the operational frameworks for the SLC. Furthermore, the recent creation of the SLC Accessibility Committee and the SLC Policy Committee will ensure that any policy outcomes as a result of the Plan are aligned and coordinated with the appropriate bodies and policies across the University.
The SLC recognizes that accessibility plays a vital role in our operations and should guide any governance decisions made by SLC Council. Through the SLC Accessibility Committee, the Council has acknowledged that accessibility is an ongoing priority for the SLC particularly as it relates to its function of long-term planning. The SLC Accessibility Committee and SLC Policy Committee shall endeavour to keep accessibility at the forefront of the decision making process within SLC Council and by the Management Team.
Accessibility Framework and Organizational Structures
Reporting to SLC Council, the SLC Accessibility Committee provides a broad range of support and advice to the governance of the SLC. Its responsibilities are outlined within the Committee’s Terms of Reference which were passed by SLC Council in March 2014 in accordance with Section 3(g) of the SLC Constitution.
As we move forward with the implementation of the Plan, we must strive to “prevent, identify, and remove barriers. Barriers are obstacles. Barriers to accessibility are obstacles that make it difficult – sometimes impossible – for persons with disabilities to do the things most of us take for granted, things like working, learning, and participating in recreational activities. When we think of barriers to accessibility, most of us think of physical barriers, like a person who uses a wheelchair not being able to enter a building because there is no ramp. The fact is that there are many kinds of barriers; some are visible, many are not.”2
Information or Communications Barriers:
The SLC Information Centre serves as the central hub of the SLC and a directory for students, faculty, staff, and visitors. As such, there may be some obstacles with processing, transmitting, or interpreting information. Some examples include some of the many brochures available at the Centre which may have small font or some of the SLC signage which is unclear or incorrect leading to way finding challenges.
SLC Representatives and Management deal with a wide variety of customers and users. Some prejudgments or assumptions that directly or indirectly discriminate may surface from time to time. For example, thinking that persons with disabilities are inferior, or assuming that a person who has a speech impairment cannot understand you.
When technology cannot be or is not modified to support various assistive devices and/or software. For example, a website that does not support screen-reading software for the SLC website and room booking tool.
Architectural and Physical Barriers:
Features of buildings or spaces that restrict or impede physical access including the placement of the accessibility ramp on the western side of the JDUC and the small JDUC elevator. For example, a doorway that is too narrow to accommodate entry by a person with a motorized scooter or poor lighting for persons with low vision such as the lighting in the Upper Ceilidh hallway outside of Tricolour Outlet.