Gym Access for Disabled Students
Passed by Student Council on the 2nd of April 2015
What will we do?
- 1. Mandate EUSA, through Sabbatical Officers, to lobby the University to:
- a. Provide access, free of charge, for students with a disability or condition registered with the University’s Student Disability Service, to the CSE facilities, in cases where it would be of medical benefit. This would include mental and physical health conditions.
- b. Given the proven medical benefit of exercise for anyone, ideally this would encompass all students with a Student Disability Service profile.
- c. If the University deems that unacceptable, then provide this Gym Access Service on a case-by-case basis, as assessed by an appropriate healthcare professional (for instance a GP, Physiotherapist, Counsellor, etc.)
- d. Trial a programme of access urgently, starting with those students who as well as having an applicable disability are also in receipt of low-income related Bursaries (e.g. the RUK Bursary). To include postgraduate students, the trial would be open to students who were in receipt of such a bursary as an undergraduate.
- e. Additionally, the Gym Access Service should apply to students receiving short term counselling support.
- 2. Mandate the Sabbatical Officers to begin a process within EUSA (in tandem with the University) to allow this Gym Access Service to operate within the KB Fitness, Sports & Leisure Centre in a totally interchangeable and equivalent manner.
What is the background to this?
- 1. For many people, the symptoms of their disability can be dramatically alleviated through exercise. This applies to disabilities both mild and severe, and can include things as seemingly mundane as chronic back pain.
- 2. There is a clear scientific consensus that this is the case, and the controlled and targeted exercise available at a gym is often of particular value.
- 3. There is also broad scientific consensus stating that exercise can assist with mental illness, and so for the purposes of this Gym Access Service mental illness would also be a possible case for eligibility.
- 4. The costs of disabilities vary, but can often be substantial. This is a very affordable way for the University to help with those costs, particularly for a service which despite being of medical benefit is often not the priority service for those with disabilities.
- 5. It is worthwhile to note that while targeted exercise might be beneficial for someone’s specific disability, it is also beneficial for that person’s wider health.
What beliefs motivate the actions you propose?
1. Disabled students are regarded by EUSA as a Liberation Group, and by the University and Government as students who require support, so that they are not excluded from Higher Education.
2. The costs associated with a disability can be prohibitive, and EUSA has consistently tried to alleviate this problem.
3. The University should strive to provide, where it is possible, the best medical provision for disabled students.
4. The cost of this proposal to the University would be minimal, and the facilities and infrastructure for a Gym Access Service are already in existence. This would be an extension to the options available to the University’s Student Disability Service.
5. By improving these students’ wider health and wellbeing, there is the possibility that the number of special circumstances applications needed to be made by disabled students is reduced, which is good for these students.
Submitted with 20 student signatures