The Trinity Ability Co-Op and Trinity College Dublin Students Union (TCDSU) have both raised concerns over the accessibility of a set of multi-purpose kiosks that were recently installed in the Arts Building on campus.
Yesterday, the University Times reported that these multi-purpose kiosks had been permanently installed in the Arts Building.
Varying in size, the kiosks will serve administrative and retail purposes. Students may book smaller kiosks for fundraising events, while larger kiosks can be combined to create a retail space. They will also be used for registration during conferences and events.
Raised above floor level, the kiosks appear to be on wheels. This has rendered access difficult, in particular for people with physical disabilities. It is not clear if access ramps have been designed to accompany the kiosks.
Both Trinity Ability Co-op and TCDSU have raised serious concerns over the kiosks’ lack of accessibility.
Speaking to Trinity News on behalf of the Trinity Ability Co-op, Rachel Murphy and Courtney McGrath said that the “the purchase of multi-purpose kiosks in the Arts Block is truly disappointing”.
The statement continued saying “the kiosks are inaccessible for people with physical disabilities which will mean they will be excluded from the usual hustle and bustle of the arts block when we return to campus”.
“There needs to be a procedure when purchasing facilities for students that ensures they are accessible for all, not just for some” the statement concluded.
Several TCDSU sabbatical officers criticized the kiosks on their Twitter accounts.
Communications and Marketing Officer Philly Holmes expressed anger on Twitter regarding the situation, wondering as to how “these kiosks have been in design since 2018 and not a single person thought to make them accessible?”
Education Officer Megan O’Connor also spoke out saying it was “incredibly concerning to see [College] install a permanent feature which is very obviously not physically accessible”.
TCDSU President Eoin Hand also posted about the kiosks’ inaccessibility on his Twitter, but has since deleted the tweet.
Speaking to Trinity News on behalf of TCDSU, Holmes said that “despite assurances from Estates and Facilities that these spaces are ‘fully accessible’, [TCDSU] have been made aware of the fact that the Disability Service were not consulted or engaged with on this project”.
According to Holmes, “members of the Disability Service themselves have lodged similar complaints about potential accessibility issues posed by these kiosks”.
He also called on College to “more closely consult with the Disability Service to ensure that new projects are as accessible as possible”.
Holmes highlighted TCDSU’s work with the Disability Service, in particular the recently-launched Trinity Sensory Programme, which will see “all of Trinity’s on- and off-campus student spaces reviewed and fully redeveloped” and aims to create “increased awareness of the sensory environment amongst students and staff, as well as increased accessibility”.
A spokesperson for College told Trinity News that “these kiosks have been in design since 2018 and have been through the Dublin City Council planning process as well as various College approval”.
The statement also said that the kiosks are “indeed accessible structures and [College] have invited the TCD Student Union to come and examine them to establish this for themselves”.
According to College’s Accessible information Policy and Guidelines: “Trinity is committed to a policy of equal opportunity in education, and to ensuring that students and staff with a disability have as complete and equitable access to all facets of university life as can reasonably be provided.”