Assessment on accessibility of Unhas campus for women and people with disabilities

This report examines diversity and inclusion in the university context, focusing on two key tertiary education institutions, the University of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia and Universitas Hasanuddin in the Indonesian province of South Sulawesi.

Our research is based on two studies and aims to contribute to the development of initiatives that promote studying environments that are fair, diversified and allow for the participation of all.

The first case study concerned the University of Melbourne, focusing on the three themes of campus environment, community support and individual awareness. Our report notes the importance of physical accessibility and the valuable role of state and federal legislation in supporting productive workplace rights, responsibilities and freedoms.

Our report identifies three characteristics of the University of Melbourne experience:

  • The university diversity and inclusion strategy does not necessarily develop simultaneously or before an individual faculty’s diversity and inclusion action plans.
  • Diversity and inclusion action plans respond to the needs of their particular faculties.
  • The level of maturity of diversity and inclusion action plans across faculties varies and there are opportunities for learning from one another particularly in the early stages of developing action plans.

The second study examined Universitas Hasanuddin (Unhas) and was undertaken by researchers from the Department of Architecture in the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Public Health, as well as the PerDIK Foundation (a disability advocacy service).

It included a comprehensive student and staff survey of current Unhas personnel covering attitudes to access, inclusion and gender issues on the two campuses at Tamalanrea and Gowa.

Five major themes emerged including access to (and evacuation from) campus buildings, the provision of disabled toilets on campus, design and technology to assist people with vision or hearing impairments, gender issues and the general lack of knowledge of diversity and inclusion by the Universitas Hasanuddin community.


Click here to read the full report, Assessment on accessibility of Unhas campus for women and people with disabilities


Based on our findings we are able to make the following recommendations.

Recommendation 1.
Coordination. Environmental interventions, such as the installation of accessible toilets or providing ramps and lifts, must be better coordinated to reflect the needs of people with a disability. Accessible toilets that are on the second floor of a building without a lift, or a building that has wide and well-lit corridors but no accessible toilet, are impractical or even useless for staff or students with a disability. An official at the Rectory level needs to take responsibility to oversee compliance, perhaps someone from a leading disability services agency.

Recommendation 2.
A decision-making process needs to be formalised to ensure direct involvement of Unhas staff and students with a disability on issues pertaining to them as well as direct involvement of female Unhas staff and students on issues relating to gender inclusion. We recommend the establishment of an advisory committee made up of Unhas staff and students who have a disability.

Recommendation 3.
We recommend encouraging a culture of continuous learning in regards disability. Changes to the physical environment of Unhas campuses – while needed – are insufficient in themselves. One of the key lessons to come from this project is the lack of knowledge and understanding about disability issues among staff and students (although knowledge of gender issues was higher).

Feature image by PAIR.