Campus Life

Campus Life

Disability Inclusive Development, our Business

The University of the South Pacific (USP) inclusive program has a strong commitment to creating an inclusive, barrier free working and learning environment for its students and staff from around the Pacific region. Our aim is to contribute to positive change by providing quality education within a supportive teaching and learning framework. 

The USP Disability Action Plan builds on the substantial work undertaken by the University since it included disability as part of the policy and service. The Plan was developed in consultation with students and staff with disability, the Executive and other stakeholders within the wider University community.

The Disability Action Plan recognises that genuine inclusion involves much more than physical accessibility and individual adjustments. USP in becoming an inclusive organisation requires changes to the way we do things. All our decisions and planning must be informed by regional and international instruments of equity and inclusiveness. We must see that the way we design and deliver our courses and support services must involve common deliberations and wide constructive consultations. We need to mindful of the complex challenges, such as mental ill-health, must be sensitive, relevant and in language that people can understand. The overarching aim of the Plan is that persons with disability will participate fully in the life of the University and will succeed on an equitable basis in their study or work.

The USP is trying its level best to enhance the learning experience for students with disability but must admit that important challenges remain. We need to do more to support staff with disability and to further integrate inclusive approaches into mainstream policies and practices. We need to build the confidence and capacity of staff to teach and work together inclusively and grasp opportunities to share and develop knowledge and resources across the University and through partnerships with other organisations. This is an overarching living plan and will be continually updated as we achieve important milestones and encounter new challenges.

Studying with disability

Studying with a disability at USP

It is envisaged that there will be students studying at USP who might have a disability. From time to time, you may also experience health problems that affect your study. These may be short-term or long-term, intermittent or always present.

The Disability Resource Centre (DRC) provides access to services and supports that assist students with disability or health conditions to make the most of their study. We also provide services for staff.

How USP can assist

How USP can assist you if you have a disability

The Disability Resource Centre (DRC) supports: 

  • needs related to one’s disability, 
  • needs for assessment and study 
  • services that will support you with your study at USP
  • you with assistive devices you may need to assist you in your study
  • Lecturers to meet your needs for inclusive practices.

The USP is committed to providing accessible facilities for all those who use its campuses. We do try our best to provide at the USP.

  • Accessibility to most of buildings in strategic locations
  • Accessible parking bay
  • Information from the Disability Resource Centre (DRC)
  • Accessibility to the Library and ICT services
  • Student Equity policy

Accessibility to Buildings

Accessibility to Buildings

Laucala Bay Campus at Suva 

  • Wheelchair access is available to some of buildings on this campus. Access audit for USP facilities  is ongoing
  • Wheelchair access is available to student residences at the second hall. 
  • Due to USP’s hilly environment access is restricted in many areas due to the steepness of external paths.

Accessibility to Residential Accommodation

  • Wheelchair accessible student accommodation is available at the Laucala campus in Suva
  • For details of available accommodation contact the Manager USP Student Halls.
  • To report physical barriers, please contact the Disability Resource Centre (DRC).

Disabled/Accessible Parking

Disabled/Accessible Parking

Disabled parking bays are located in strategic locations around campus. A vehicle must display a USP Parking Permit issued by USP, to park in these bays. For further information see Campus Life Office.

Accessible parking bays are located on each campus. 

Library services

Library services

  • The USP Library offers specialised services to students with a disability and access to specialised equipment
  • Students need to register with the Disability Resource Centre to be eligible for these services
  • The Disability Resource Centre in collaboration with the USP library can assist you with individual library support and instruction, eligibility for Print Disability services provided by the Library. Students with a print disability may require print unit materials (including textbooks, unit readers and unit guides) converted to digital files.

Rights and Responsibilities

Students with disability: Rights and Responsibilities

USP recognises that students with disability have a right to:

  • be consulted about their needs
  • enrol in courses and programs of their choice
  • Participate in courses and programs offered by USP
  • use services and facilities provided by the university including student support services 

Students with disability also have the right to:

  • the specialised services without which they would not be able to participate
  • the reasonable accommodations necessary to meet their needs
  • a community which is free from discrimination, harassment or victimisation. 

In addition of the above they also have a right to: 

  • be treated with fairness, dignity and respect
  • contribute to the development and review of USP policies, procedures and practices affecting their lives
  • be given the opportunity to develop skills which will enable them to obtain maximum benefit from the educational opportunities available to them.

Responsibilities for Students

Responsibilities for Students with Disability

All USP students are required to comply with the University's policies and procedures, 

Students with disability also have a responsibility to:

  • inform the university to discuss their specific requirements 
  • use the services provided in an honest and fair manner
  • be proactive in advising USP of the difficulties they encounter in accessing aspects of the life of the University. 

Disclosure of disability

Disclosure about your disability

When you first enrol, you are asked to disclose whether you have a disability or medical condition. This information is collected for USP statistical purposes. It remains confidential. 

If you have indicated that you have a disability or medical condition at enrolment, the Disability Resource Centre will contact you to invite you to apply for services.

Purpose of disclosure

The purpose of disclosing your disability

You are not obliged to disclose a disability or medical condition to the University. Here are some things to think about: 

  • If you do choose to tell the University about your disability and the impacts on your study, we may be able to provide you with support services. 
  • Disclosing your disability in your enrolment details also helps us develop accurate statistics about students with disability at university.
  • You may be concerned about your privacy. Find out how USP will handle your information.

What do I do? 

You can tell the University about your disability at any time by contacting the Disability Resource Centre (DRC). When this is done, you can then apply for services. 

Students Privacy

The University manages personal information and disability information in accordance with the Information Privacy policy for USP 

The information provided on the:

  • ‘Disability’ section of the Student Administrative Services (SAS) Registration Form or
  • the Voluntary Disability Disclosure Form available at the Disability Resource Centre (DRC) 

and all attached supporting documentation will be used by the University to process your registration, to determine and manage the provision of services to you. The University’s information privacy policy is available from the Human Resource Centre. 

Success in your study

Success in your study

At the Disability Resource Centre (DRC), our goal is to support you to be successful in your study. We can help provide adjustments to reduce the impact of your disability on your study, and advise you about working with other people around the University to meet your needs. 

While we are happy to help, we expect that you will negotiate and advocate for yourself with other areas within the University wherever possible. USP have always believed that self-advocacy is an important life skill. You have that experience and we encourage you to use it.

Thoughts to Consider

Thoughts for you to consider during your time here at the USP

  • Be proactive. Before you begin studying, plan for the impacts of your disability and the services and adjustments you will need
  • Ensure you have a good understanding of your rights and responsibilities as a person with disability.
  • Find out how University services work, so you know who to approach directly for particular types of assistance (the DRC can help with this).
  • Ensure academic staffs are aware of the ways your study is affected by your disability. Developing a good working relationship will help them to understand the effort you are putting in to meet their requirements, and make them more mindful of your needs.
  • When you need to talk with a staff member, make an appointment to see them, so that you will have quality time to discuss your needs. This also helps them to be more cooperative and have a good understanding of the situation and have time to think about and discuss the issues.
  • Sometimes getting a good outcome requires discussion and trying different method. Discussions must revolve around what is ideal and work better for you. The DRC can help you think about what would be a good outcome.
  • Be proactive about the issues that may need to be considered in special activities such as examinations, placements, practicums and field trips. These are usually organised well in advance, so plan whether you want to discuss this with staff as early as you can. 
  • If you feel that you are not being heard, seek advice and support. The DRC can provide advice and referral. USP students association can also assist with advice and advocacy, and support in relation to lodging complaints or dealing with academic progress hearings. 

AusAID Accessibility Design

AusAID Accessibility Design Guide

Click here to download the AusAID Accessibility Design Guide

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Page updated: Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Campus Life
The University of the South Pacific
Laucala Campus, Suva, Fiji
Tel: +679 32 32495