University apologises to blind student over leaflets

The institution denied the request to digitise leaflets detailing law firm internship opportunities.

University apologises to blind student over leaflets Getty Images

The University of Glasgow has apologised to a blind law student for mishandling their complaints after refusing to digitise leaflets.

The student, referred to only as ‘A’ in a Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) report, had attended a law fair hosted by the university to allow students to meet prospective employers.

Previously, arrangements had been put in place for A to have course materials digitised, so when they received a number of leaflets from law firms, they submitted them to the university.

When A did not receive a response “some months after”, a relative complained on their behalf, only to be told the university did not consider it to be its responsibility and instead it was the law firms who should provide digitised versions.

But, the SPSO report said, the university took six months to return the leaflets and the blind student’s relative said they had missed out on internship opportunities.

SPSO concluded that “the question of responsibility for providing the materials in an accessible format was a complex one, which could likely only be resolved through the courts”.

Due to an “unreasonable delay” in handling the request and a refusal to “investigate the matter fully”, SPSO upheld the complaint and asked the university to apologise to the student and their relative for its mishandling.

A university spokesperson said: “This ruling relates to a request by a student for the university to digitise leaflets produced by law firms which were recruiting trainees.

“Our view was that this responsibility lay with the law firms rather than with the university.

“We will continue to encourage graduate recruiters to produce all their recruiting materials in accessible formats.

“We have issued an apology to the student as per the SPSO ruling.”

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