access2go

FREQUENTLY (AND NOT SO FREQUENTLY) ASKED QUESTIONS

Updated: 24/12/07

QUESTION

ACCESS ONTO STAGES IN COMMUNITY BUILDINGS AND CHURCHES

A judgement under Part 4 of the DDA as reported by the National Register of Access Consultants in 2007:

Part 4 of the DDA

A disabled student, denied the right to access the stage to receive a symbolic handshake in his graduation ceremony, has been awarded 4,000 for injury to feelings against Canterbury Christ Church University.

In one of the first higher education cases under the education provision of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) to be decided in court, the landmark ruling was supported by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC). Craig Potter, 28, from Kent, and a wheelchair user, graduated in 2004 at a ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral. While other students were able to receive a handshake on the dais from the Chairman of Governors, Craig had to be content with a mere greeting at the bottom of the steps instead because no ramp had been provided to allow access to the stage.

Craig Potter said, "I was not treated on equal terms with my peers. I wanted to go up on that stage at Canterbury Cathedral like everyone else during my graduation and to get my symbolic hanshake from the Chair of Governors. The judge agreed that this would have been possible and the University's failure to provide temporary ramps meant they discriminated against me as a disabled person. I am very p[leased and feel vindicated by this result."

Note from access2go

Portable platform lifts are available that can be wheeled into position and used for individual events. They can rise up to approximately 1 metre and can be stored in medium size store rooms. Churches, community groups or other organisations could share the cost of such a lift and move it to where it is needed for individual events in different locations. This type of issue has been raised before, including disabled members of choirs not being able to join their group on stage.




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