Disabled access 2

December 22, 2006

We were saddened but not surprised to read the article "Staff are afraid to declare disability" (December 8). Until now, what possible incentive has there been for staff to openly define themselves as disabled? Many institutions are less than supportive towards disabled employees; recruitment and retention rates are dismal and requests for the most minimal reasonable adjustments often go unmet.

Opportunities for continuing professional development and promotion are negligible. An increasingly competitive culture, due to the research assessment exercise, is exacerbating an already deplorable situation.

Regrettably, the major driver within higher education has been the fear of litigious disabled students, rather than any real commitment to equality for all disabled people.

The disability equality duty, rigorously enforced by the Disability Rights Commission, is a wake-up call to all those institutions that have ignored the employment rights of disabled staff for too long.

Paul Brown
Equality committee member University and College Union

Sasha Callaghan
National disabled members representative University and College Union

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