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Meet Charlotte Hyde- Disabled students officer 2019/20

Charlotte is one of the 9 part time officers that represent the diversity of the university community. She was elected alongside the full-time officers in the yearly Students Union elections.

When asked about why she applied to by the disabled students officer Charlotte said: “I was frustrated with inaccessible lectures and I wanted to be in a position to make a positive change for people like myself”

“I want to be someone to talk to because I felt alone in the first two years of my degree and I didn’t realise that there was a whole load of people who were struggling like me. That is the why the disabled student’s network is really beneficial.”

“The disabled student’s network is a peer run network set up by the Nozomi Tolworthy when she realised that was a need for students of different groups to have a space to go and talk about the issues that they face on campus and also to be able to socialize.”

Charlotte said that her responsibilities included: “running the disabled student’s network, attending the NUS disabled students conference, attending the student voice meetings and to be a voice for disabled students”

This year Charlotte said “I want campus to be more Deaf aware, which will include making closed captioning in lectures mandatory.  I want image descriptions on student social media (eg. RUSU) to make it more accessible, along with continuing to work on accessible building entrances and accessible study spaces on campus. This is all detailed in my manifesto on the Reading University Student Union (RUSU) website”

“I want to be able to support the disabled students who need it. I want to be someone they can talk to because I get it, I haven’t had that for the past two years of my degree”

Charlotte has already recently achieved one of her main aims which was to add image descriptions to all media produced by RUSU.

“Image descriptions help blind and partially sighted people to access media online. Like how Deaf and hard of hearing people need captions to access sound, I believe that blind and partially sighted people need image descriptions. We live in a world where we are increasingly using GIFs, images and infographics to share content – for example, screenshotted tweets that get shared on Facebook. Blind and partially sighted people cannot access that as they are not read on a screen-reader.”

If you want to know more about Charlotte or any of the part time or full-time officers, visit the Reading University Student Union (RUSU) website.

About Millie Dinsdale


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