Benjamin Pearse is running in the 2021 SU elections for the role of Disabled Students’ Officer. Impact’s Safa Shahid caught up with him to ask him a few questions.
What do you think makes you a good fit for this role?
We need change. I have the enthusiasm and determination to make a difference.
Why did you run for the role of Disabled Students’ Officer?
Every student should be given the opportunity to excel
I am dyslexic and I’ve had to overcome my own challenges and know what it’s like to feel isolated and excluded. This has strengthened my resolve to reframe disability. I’ve had experience of working with a local deaf charity and a special needs school. I would now like to use these experiences to act as the student voice to increase awareness and ensure equality.
Every student should be given the opportunity to excel. The focus should be on abilities, not disabilities.
What, in your eyes, are the existing problems?
I want to be an advocate for disabled students. I want to try to challenge the stigma around disability.
It’s easy to assume that disability doesn’t apply to you, or your immediate friends, but think again. Just because the disability isn’t immediately visible, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
We should all be involved in the disability dialogue
60% of people between the ages 18-64 suffer with an invisible disability and one in five of us will be affected by disability at some point in our lives.
We should all be involved in the disability dialogue.
Has the University done enough during the pandemic to accommodate Disabled students? If not, how will you aim to address this?
More can always be done.
I want a full assessment of the accessibility of Union operations; with the conclusions implemented in a 5-year plan. I think there should be University staff training, increased communication and student involvement to raise disability awareness and much more.
Mental health and student well-being is an obvious priority.
COVID permitting, Ocean or Rock City?
As a first-year student I’ve not seen either at its best. I’d say Ocean.
Featured image courtesy of Chiara Crompton. No changes were made to this image.
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