Are They Being Treated Equally in University? Disabled Students at USYD and MQ

Studying in university as a disabled student

Story topic

Disabled students study experience at the University of Sydney (USYD) and Macquarie University (MQ). The comparison of the disability facility between USYD and MQ.


Story Angle and Newsworthiness

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, there are over 4 million Australian suffer from a disability. The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (DDA) declare that discrimination against disabled people in an indirect way is against the law.


The disabled students may not fit in university life as easy as the nondisabled students. The transition from school to university has always been a challenge for them. Therefore, the increasing number of disabled students in universities urgently requires universities to establish a more considerable and disability friendly environment.


The University of Sydney (USYD) and Macquarie University (MQ) as two of the Australian famous universities, both have their disability support and services for the disabled students. However, the disabled facility may be inadequate and could not fit the student’s need.


Athletes with a disability from the GIO NSW Gladiators at Cumberland campus (Source: USYD news, 2016)


It is not a new topic, but it is still a hot topic. During the time I visited Macquarie University, I talked to the mother of a disabled student. Due to the lack of disability facility in the toilet she had no choice but to wait outside the classroom in case her daughter need to access the toilet. The conversation reminds me of the seriousness of the issue which as a nondisabled person we may ignore. After that, I went through several buildings in USYD and MQ to check on the effectiveness of disabled facilities. As the Australian Disability Clearinghouse of Education and Training (ADCET) mentioned, there are serval facilities should be considered in relation to accessibility on campus, including accessible paths of travel, accessible paths inside buildings, stairs, lifts and ramps, bathroom facilities and so on…… Therefore I made comparisons between the two universities and I would make further research of them.



Based on my research, it is appropriate to develop my idea to a feature story. The feature story would begin with one of the disabled student study experience in USYD or MQ. Then focus on the current disabled facility and disability services in these two universities and explore the challenges of disabled students studying at a university. The feature story would also involve the interview with university disability service to gain information and detail of the student disability support plan.


Publication and Target User Group

This feature story would be published on The Junction which is the platform for university student journalism. There is no such news story published on The Junction before, hence the news values are significant and it is closely relevant to the students study in Australia.


The target user group of this feature story is the disable postgraduate students or undergraduate students who study at the universities in Australia.


There are some resources in The Guardian Australia which is a journal article platform free from commercial or political interference. The previous articles have shown the struggle of the disabled students’ daily life on campus and the seriousness of the issue. Most of the news stories were focused on the mental care of disabled student instead of focusing on the disabled facility on campus, therefore, the feature story has its own news values and unique aspects.


Potential Interviewees

This feature story is going to include four interviews


1)Disable student at Macquarie University for their study experience


2)Disable student at Macquarie University for their study experience


3)Stuff at USYD disability services

Contact details:

USYD disability services

Phone number: 61286278422



4)Stuff at Macquarie University disability services

Contact details:

MQ Accessibility Services

Phone number: 98507497




About Stephanie Huo 5 Articles
Current student studying at USYD, major in Media Practice. Contact me: Twitter_StephanieHuo

1 Comment

  1. A friendly environment for disabled students is a significant issue in contemporary society. The considerable facility is not only an important concern for those disabled students and their parents, but also an embodiment of humanization of the university. The angle of the feature is attractive and news-worthy.
    However, in terms of the facility construction involved in this news feature, it would be better to interview some experts in architecture design industry as well so as to make the feature more objective and comprehensive. In addition, there are some typos in the proposal. For example, the potential interviewees should include both disabled students from Macquarie University and USYD. A detailed research of your news feature is expected.

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