Friday, 30 April 2010

Remarks of Nik Myers, an undergraduate of Clare College

Nik Myers, an undergraduate of Clare College, speaking on behalf of the Disabled Students Liberation Campaign.

Madam Deputy Vice-Chancellor,

We regret the anger and political turmoil that the installation of this lift has caused. We have heard several times this afternoon that, “this debate is not about a lift”, and yet there is a lift at the heart of it. I am here to speak on behalf of the lift (as it were).

The installation of a lift in the University Combination Room is not only legally required but is the right thing to be doing, and it is therefore important that the Regent House is shown to be taking the lead on this issue. Colleges across the university look to Regent House to leadership, students look to their supervisors and other academics for leadership, and universities across the country (and to some extent still across the world) look to Cambridge for leadership. It is not just an issue of current requirements, as the installation of such a lift only when the need arises would be much more difficult and costly.

There may well be other solutions to the problem of a lack of access to the University Combination Room, there may well not be the funding to implement them at the moment, and the process may have been gone about in the wrong way, but please let us not let political wrangling and stubbornness lead to the removal of this lift as a display of power or strength. We all know that ancient buildings are very difficult to alter to make them accessible, and it would be a terrible thing if today we were to repeat yesterday's short-sightedness.

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