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Access & support

Create equitable support structures that address the diverse access needs of the campus community.

Why?

During the plan’s creation, we heard that UVic must better support students, staff, faculty and librarians. Robust support structures that are flexible, easy-to-access and targeted are needed to promote wellbeing for all. Financial and cultural accessibility, as well as accessibility for people with visible and invisible disabilities and mental health needs should be prioritized. These gaps prevent some community members – particularly those from systemically and historically marginalized groups – from fully participating and feeling like they belong at UVic.

Committed actions

  1. Design and implement fundraising initiatives to increase financial accessibility and expand funding opportunities for systemically and historically marginalized groups, including students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Leads: VP Academic & Provost, VP External Relations

  2. Increase access to experiential learning for systemically and historically marginalized groups and strengthen university and student connections with the wider community. Lead: VP Academic & Provost

  3. Continue to increase on-campus childcare options for students and employees with children, prioritizing those with the greatest need and/or those facing financial and systemic barriers (e.g., single parents, low-income, historically marginalized groups). Lead: VP Academic & Provost

  4. Undertake an assessment of the Division of Student Affairs to identify and address gaps in understanding, as well as the capacity of leadership and management to implement Equity Action Plan (EAP) initiatives. Lead: VP Academic & Provost

  5. Develop and implement accessibility training for all managers, directors and instructors to increase their capacity to support university community members with disabilities. Leads: VP Academic & Provost, VP Finance & Operations

  6. Conduct a campus-wide gap analysis/needs assessment to further understand where accessibility and wellness supports (e.g., accommodations, counselling, etc.) for systemically and historically marginalized members are falling short. Leads: VP Academic & Provost, VP Finance & Operations

  7. Develop and release an inclusive washroom plan with timelines, locations and regular progress reports. Lead: VP Finance & Operations

  8. Review and reassess existing procedures and processes related to campus safety. Prioritize protecting human rights and equity while maintaining a trauma-informed approach. Lead: VP Finance & Operations

  9. Continue to review, evaluate and offer remote and flexible work options. Lead: VP Finance & Operations

Barriers & targeted actions

Barriers Targeted actions
Financial barriers to student success create inequities across campus (e.g., having to work a full-time job to afford tuition/rent/living expenses). Action 1: Design and implement fundraising initiatives to increase financial accessibility and expand funding opportunities for systemically and historically marginalized groups, including students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Leads: VP Academic & Provost, VP External Relations
UVic’s lack of commitment to consistent hybrid learning and flexible work opportunities creates accessibility barriers. Action 9: Continue to review, evaluate and offer remote and flexible work options. Lead: VP Finance & Operations
The availability of gender-neutral washrooms is inconsistent and/or poorly advertised. As a result, members of the UVic community are forced to plan their day around accessing these facilities.  Action 7: Develop and release an inclusive washroom plan with timelines, locations and regular progress reports. Lead: VP Finance & Operations

Academic accommodations for students with disabilities (including visible and invisible) are inconsistent and not specific to individual needs. This excludes members of the campus community and makes them feel like they don’t belong.

Cultural safety is not consistently integrated within campus support systems. This leaves some students feeling like they cannot access services. For example, students from systemically and historically marginalized communities may not have access to counselors who share or understand their experiences. 

Mental health supports – such as leave options and/or counselling – for students/staff/faculty/librarians are inconsistent, inaccessible, non-representative and unreliable. As a result, members of the UVic community do not feel as though they can thrive on/off campus.

Mature students and students with dependents are not adequately supported. Their responsibilities beyond academia are not respected or acknowledged. As a result, they face inequitable barriers to success on campus.

The availability of and access to support services for students participating in experiential learning (i.e., co-ops, field schools or placements) is inconsistent. As a result, students who require additional support (e.g., students with disabilities) face inequitable challenges participating in experience-based learning. 

Action 5: Develop and implement accessibility training for all managers, directors and instructors to increase their capacity to support university community members with disabilities. Leads: VP Academic & Provost, VP Finance & Operations

Action 6: Conduct a campus-wide gap analysis/needs assessment to further understand where accessibility and wellness supports (e.g., accommodations, counselling, etc.) for systemically and historically marginalized members are falling short. Leads: VP Academic & Provost, VP Finance & Operations

What's next

Learn how you can be part of putting this goal into action in the reflection and action guides.

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