Tag Archives: accessibility


It hasn’t been a great year for disabled people who study and work at the University of Lancaster. We started the year, in issue 166, complaining about a disabled toilet in Bowland North being filled with dust due to a combination of building works and a window that wouldn’t close. This minor mishap was dwarfed, as the sheer scale of the inaccessibility our building works were creating became apparent. In issue 179, we highlighted that there had been no fewer than NINE accessibility route changes put out by disability services in the space of two months.

Still, at least staff and students were made aware of the route changes, which is less than could be said for visitors to campus. Anybody consulting the university web pages, and particularly Lancaster’s DisabledGo page, would’ve (at the time we published our report) found no indication whatsoever that our campus had become an assault course. Indeed, in subtext 179, we reported that a number of people had swung by for a visit, and were left infuriated by what awaited them.

Lenient readers may be able to forgive all of the above as a failure to anticipate just how serious the disruption would be, but can there be any excuse for cutting funding to disabled students? This year our cash strapped top-table took the difficult decision to cut its financial contribution to SpLD assessments for students to 50%.

On the bright side, maybe the massive savings made from drastically impacting the life-chances of poorer students will be wisely invested into the Gary Neville University, who told us over the phone that they ‘aim to be’ an inclusive university.

We aren’t aware of any reaction to any of the above, with the cuts to funding for disabled students implemented with barely a whimper of opposition from anybody, except for subtext. You can read all of our coverage of disability issues this year via the links below.





subtext 180 – ‘better sorry than safe’

Fortnightly during term time.

Letters, contributions, & comments: subtext-editors@lancaster.ac.uk

Back issues & subscription details: http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/subtext/about/

In this issue: editorial, welcome week, deanshare, lab location, UA92 galore, FASS typos, house-building, union blues, shart, poem, TV review, letters



Gaps, holes, deficits, cuts, absences. Call them what you will, it would be hard to deny that the academic year has been littered with them, providing the subtext drones with more than enough metaphorical material to stretch to breaking point and enough space to fly the traditional end of year round-up through on a bus.

The biggest gap generator has been the ongoing building work on campus, particularly on the Spine. There have been holes in the ground where the Spine has been dug up, communication gaps where the pink and purple diversion signs have failed to keep up with the actual situation ‘on the ground’, and most worryingly there has been a huge gap in provision for disabled users of the spine, with accessible routes around the pinball game that traversing campus has become having all but disappeared. Add to this the gaps of buildings that failed to appear (squints at the Management School) and the gap we didn’t know we had (cocks an eyebrow at Alexandra Square’s Big Screen), and it’s a wonder we didn’t all get a collective sprained ankle.

There have been financial gaps as well. Students who may have specific learning disabilities have seen a cut of 50% in the funding available from the University to be assessed for them – a massive blow to the life chances of those that need one but can’t afford it. Nationally, the most disruptive gap of the year was the deficit in the UCU pension fund – and understanding thereof – that saw an unprecedented turnout in support of strike action, and UCU members picketing for two weeks in freezing conditions. Whilst the picket lines saw a huge amount of support from students and non-striking staff there was another gap: no clear or coherent response from the VC. The University as a whole continued to fail to cover itself in glory when the Gender Pay Gap report was published in April, revealing LU to be third from the bottom in the country (University of the Year, though!) with a mean pay gap of 27.7% as opposed to the national average of… cough… 17.8%.

There have been notable gaps in democracy, honesty and decency. Maybe it started when Lancaster University Students’ Union refused to take a stance in regard to supporting the UCU strike, and it definitely didn’t end with their ‘creative’ approach to the online AGM ballot. Maybe it started when the University Court was abolished, removing one of the last democratically elected bodies in the institution (and one that oversaw the appointment of various posts). In fact, subtext notes – with some glee – that you can read all about the machinations of Lancaster University’s ‘Strategic Planning & Governance’ division at gap.lancs.ac.uk. Maybe it started when the VC led us to believe that Lancaster was the first port of call for UA92 (it wasn’t) and shrouded the entire business in a cloak of secrecy. Maybe it started with swastikas on Sociology department doors appearing overnight followed by the attempted setting up of a new student society concerned with white supremacy and other alt-right (i.e. fascist) ideas. This is a gap that is going to take more than a bit of polyfilla and a trowel to sort out.

And we’ve been feeling a bit gappy ourselves – retirement and illness have left us short of an editor or two in the subtext warehouse, so we welcome all those readers with a critical eye, a writerly bent and a typing speed of 80wpm to drop us a line at subtext-editors@lancaster.ac.uk to get involved. And so, once more unto the breach, dear readers – starting October. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks for writing in – do keep doing that. Failing that, hit us with your ‘like’ stick on our Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/lusubtext

subtext 179 – ‘dragging us into a black and white photograph’

Fortnightly during term time.

Letters, contributions, & comments: subtext-editors@lancaster.ac.uk

Back issues & subscription details: http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/subtext/about/

In this issue: editorial, LUSU, access, calling on gary, lost & found, fascists, tech, canal quarter, garden village, sports science, impact!, more access, no letters.



In the last edition of subtext we focused on the subject of precarity. In this issue we highlight the problem of access for those colleagues and visitors with mobility problems. The rather tired cliché trotted out by senior management is that this is the price we have to pay to stay at the top table and continue to see Lancaster ‘punching above its weight’ is nonsense.

The politics surrounding the sector, the increased marketization, the stifling of debate and the closing down of democratic structures and the ongoing farce that is UA92 are subjects that subtext will return to again and again, but campus accessibility and job security are not areas that should be a cause for concern at this university.

Oh, did we mention how much we like the wild flowers and grasses on the roundabout at the far end of the underpass – very nice.


Don’t tell anyone – they will never notice. If you go on the university website and click on ‘campus accessibility’ you are invited to visit DisabledGo for a disability access guide to Lancaster University. It has not been updated for over a year and not surprisingly there is no mention of any development work. All the pictures show unproblematic access to all areas. Obviously the university is not going to show the reality of the situation, all publicity material is by its very nature somewhat economical with the truth, but a simple statement advising people that there may be problems for folk with limited mobility would not go amiss. Anyone with mobility problems who consulted the university webpages before popping over for a visit would be in for a major surprise. subtext has already been told of some folk who did in fact do that very thing and were quite angry about having been given no clue whatsoever what awaited them on arrival. See our extended piece below on the horrors of navigating campus when you have restricted mobility.


We are all mightily fed-up with navigating our way around the building site that is campus. Yes, it is inconvenient and means a few more minutes walking from one part of campus to another. But what does all this chaos mean if your mobility is restricted in any way? Below we reproduce some edited selections from announcements made by Disability Services over the last couple of months.

28th March: To access the North Spine from Alexandra Square […] Approach the North Spine from Alexandra Square keeping to the left. When at the top of the steps in Alexandra Square turn half left and head towards the entrance to the side of the Learning Zone. Proceed through the Learning Zone to the right and follow the route through to the doors opposite. Once through the doors turn right and head through the cut through, bringing you out next to the Pharmacy and Santander. Please note that the accessible route to the North Spine leads through the Faraday Complex. Please be aware that the route through Physics garden may be temporarily restricted in width due to works in the area. Access North of Blackwell’s Bookshop is closed along the Spine. To access the Spine North of Blackwell’s Bookshop use the following route from Physics Garden. Here there are two routes – a route through Bowland Quad and an alternate route through the Faraday Complex (Faraday Route is accessible, Bowland Quad is not accessible unless proceeding to the perimeter road). Faraday Complex Route: Proceed from the North Spine up the ramp towards the Physics Building. Halfway up the ramp, follow the route round to the left towards the Faraday Building. Enter the Faraday Building and turn right. Proceed through the building turning Left and continuing through the corridor to exit the building via the Chemistry main doors. Turn right on exiting the Chemistry Building and follow the wooden fencing 10 – 15 metres before following it left and continuing on the pathway. At the end of the wooden fencing, proceed forwards on the pathway until you reach grass. At this point you may turn left down some stairs if you are able to do so. This will take you in to County South Quad where you may access the Spine via either cut-through. If unable to take the stairs, turn right and follow the pathway, keeping to the left which will lead you to the County South PDR’s (Private Dining Rooms). Proceed through the doors which will lead to the Lounge restaurant in County South Quad. Bowland Quad Route: Proceed from the North Spine, back through either cut-through in to Bowland Quad. Once in the Quad, turn right and follow the pathway route towards the Welcome Centre. Once you have navigated the Quad, cut-through the building by turning right and proceeding to the Welcome Centre at the top of Bowland Avenue. Join the pathway on Bowland Avenue on the North side and follow the road until you reach Great Hall Square. Once you reach Great Hall Square, the route through Great Hall Square to reach Great Hall Court (County Diner etc.) is clear as usual. Please note that access is closed from County South Laundrette to the Bowland North entrance of the North Spine. County South Laundrette is out of use. The nearest launderette to this location is County Main.

11th April: Edwards Roberts Court will be shut from 8am Thursday 12th to 6pm Friday 13th April. Access to the ramp and the Deli will be restricted.

13th April: From Monday 16th April, the cut-through from Bowland North Quad to the North Spine will close for the duration of Summer Term, in addition to existing closures in the area. An alteration to the existing closure along the North Spine, between FASS and Bowland North will prevent pedestrian access from the North Spine in to Bowland North Quad. Access to the Bowland Building remains available from Bowland North Quad but a diversion is necessary to gain access from the Spine. Heading North on the Spine, the steps to the right leading to Chemistry remain open, the diverted route from there is across the bottom of John Creed avenue entering back towards the spine by the back of the Private Dining Rooms (County South). The accessible diversion route will remain; up the ramp in Physics Garden, through the Faraday building into the Chemistry building, across the bottom of John Creed Avenue, joining the same route.

1st May: The main entrance of the Faraday building will be closed, however, the current diverted route will remain accessible through Physics Garden. A pedestrian route along the North Spine is in place via a set of steps up to Chemistry. Please note this is not a wheelchair accessible route. Alternatively, for travel to the Great Hall and County College, an accessible route is available through Bowland Quad.

11th May: During the works, a diverted route will be signposted through the Learning Zone in to Bowland Quad. The cut-through adjacent to Blackwell’s Bookshop is open and leads to the North Spine. Access to the ATM at Santander will not be accessible during these works however; all retail outlets will remain open and accessible via the diverted route. The diverted accessible route to FASS and beyond remains in place through Physics Garden, in to the Faraday Complex and out of the main entrance to the Chemistry building.

Also 11th May: New handrails will be installed in Great Hall Court […] The ramp in this area will need to be altered as part of the works and as a result will be out of use for the duration of the works […] An accessible diversion has been put in place to mitigate the impact of the ramp closure.

25th May: Over the next 4-6 weeks, a series of phased works will be carried out to the South Spine between the Science and Technology building and Engineering building. The first phase of works shall be conducted over the next 10 days to the ramp adjacent to the pond in Engineering Square. Drainage is being installed to the ramp and as such will be closed for the duration of the works. An accessible diversion is in place through the Science and Technology building, although please be aware that the building closes at 9pm each night and reopens at 7:30 a.m. each morning. Fylde Quad to Engineering, Science and Technology, LUMS and beyond: Leaving the South Spine from Furness College Court, turn left in to Fylde Quad (at the top of the ramp at Engineering Square). Continue through Fylde Quad being cautious of planters and pillars within the Quad. When through the quad, turn right heading towards the rear entrance of Science and Technology. (A pathway leads half right through the courtyard). Enter the Science and Technology building keeping to the left and head towards the exit on the opposite side of the foyer. Use the left hand doors to exit, as the right hand doors are closed-off. Upon exiting the Science and Technology building, keep the fence line to your right hand side, follow the fence line left, turning back on yourself to head towards the Engineering building or continue down the Spine to reach the Management School and beyond. The steps alongside the ramp are still open for pedestrian access but are set to close from Monday 4th June. It is planned that at this point the ramp will open in order to maintain the thoroughfare. Please allow extra time to navigate this diversion.

29th May: The Science and Technology building will be kept open 24 hours a day between now and the 6th June to allow for the accessible diversion to be maintained during the closure of the ramp in engineering Square.

30th May: The lift near the entrance to the library will be out of order for up to two weeks. This is the only lift that accesses the upper part of C floor, so affects the Postgraduate study area and ISS training rooms.