THE STUDENTS’ Union (SU) Freshers’ Guide has been criticised by the current SU Disability Rights Officer, Benjamin Boyle, due to its potential illegibility to students with certain disabilities. Mr Boyle believes that this was “without a doubt” something that was overlooked by the SU.
The Freshers’ Guide, which is distributed to all first year students during orientation week has been the target of criticism for the small font size and use of bright colours in its design which make the guide difficult to read, especially for students with particular disabilities.
Mr Boyle also pointed out that the guide’s design conflicted with a mandate passed at SU council last year, which now requires all SU documents to be printed on a yellow background with black font, creating greater accessibility for people with disabilities.
Believing that SU Campaigns and Communications Officer, Dan O’Neill failed to implement a design that promotes greater accesibilty, Mr Boyle stated that that he feels that the publication of the SU Freshers’ Guide, “should have been tackled in a better way. There probably should have been a greater insight into it”. Mr Boyle explained that there are “a few things that the SU will have to catch up with”,
Defending his decision on the guide’s design, Mr O’Neill claimed that “it is a practical impossibility that we publish everything on yellow paper in a certain font”. He commented that stylistically, this would not be visually appealing to students.
Mr Boyle stated that he feels that the publication of the SU Freshers’ Guide, “should have been tackled in a better way…there probably should have been a greater insight into it”. Mr Boyle explained that there are “a few things that the SU will have to catch up with”,
In defence of the criticism of the Freshers’ Guide, Mr O’Neill stated that, “it is an amateur publication produced by students for students… we’re not perfect, mistakes are made”. Mr O’Neill further acknowledged that the design “was something that was overlooked”.
Despite negative comments surrounding the format and accessibility of the Freshers’ Guide, Mr O’Neill stated that he regards this guide as, “one of the best we’ve ever had in the SU”.
SU Welfare Officer, Conor Fingleton praised the guide, saying “it looks good”. He acknowledged that, the SU “do try to make it easy for people to read”, and was not aware of any problems with the format or design of the guide.
In an effort to rectify the problem Mr O’Neill has put signs up where the Freshers’ Guide is being distributed outlining how students with difficulties reading the guide can have access to an alternative version in a PDF format.
The PDF file of the Freshers’ Guide is available between the hours of 9.00-5.30 on Mondays to Fridays, with prior consultation with the Mr O’Neill.