A Response to our Open Letter of 7/2/17
I am writing, as UCL’s Senior Management Team Disability Champion in response to the concerns raised in your open letter about the venue for the Housman letter [sic].
I need to begin by apologising without reservation that you had to raise these issues with us. We clearly have not met your expectations, and as a University that is committed to equality and diversity, we have not met our expectations either.
The Lecture was moved from the original venue, which was fully accessible to the Logan Hall, because of its popularity, and a large audience attended. The Logan Hall is by far our largest auditorium. Unfortunately, although it is easily accessible by lift, there is no fireproof lift, and so no safe means of evacuation in the event of a fire, as the venue is below ground and the entrance is several floors down.
We identified this issue after UCL merged with the IOE but too late to be able to modify the lifts to provide a safe means of evacuation, as this work can only be done in the summer, given the disruption to users that the work will entail. This work has been scheduled now, and by the autumn of this year there will be suitable lift access to the Logan Hall, enabling safe evacuation in case of need.
By the time this issue had been flagged up it was, as your letter indicated, too late to change the venue.
I make the points above to explain how the issues arose, but not to make excuses. We should have identified and dealt with this issue and I regret that we did not. I know from my own experience of running events at UCL that we do have processes in place to manage these issues, but they clearly failed on this occasion and we regret that very much.
I hope that this is helpful and we do appreciate the time and effort you put into the open letter. I hope that you will be able to pass it on to your co-signatories.