In a recent episode of the podcast 'Enabled in Academia', Florian Hansen, the founder and president of the Adjust KCL! shared their experiences as a vulnerable student at King’s College London and discussed the vital work of the campaign. Hosted by King's own undergraduate student, Heena Sobhani, 'Enabled in Academia' focuses on shedding light on the challenges faced by postgraduate research students, both on an institutional and personal level, while providing insights on how to cope with these challenges.
Successes of the Campaign
Florian Hansen began the conversation by highlighting some of the significant successes of the Adjust KCL! Campaign. They proudly announced that the campaign had successfully lobbied the university to pay its Disability Ambassadors, as well as all ambassadors across the board. Prior to this, most feedback and advice were provided by students without compensation. This particularly affected disabled or vulnerable students who invested their valuable time and effort into these initiatives without financial recognition. Now, anyone offering advice in meetings or focus groups receives payment. Moreover, the campaign addressed the issue of low pay, raising the compensation from £11 per hour to £13 for all ambassadors at King's College London. This achievement not only benefits the ambassadors but also sets a precedent for fair compensation for similar roles across the university.
Florian Hansen also shared that the Adjust KCL! campaign played a pivotal role in introducing financial aid for postgraduate research students who are vulnerable. This financial aid can be used to make necessary adjustments for health concerns or therapy, providing invaluable support to those who need it.
Aims of the Adjust KCL! Campaign
The campaign has several key aims. One of them is to combat the isolation that vulnerable students often feel when they encounter challenges. Florian explained how the university sometimes portrays these issues as isolated incidents, making students believe they are alone in facing these problems. The campaign seeks to change this narrative by connecting vulnerable students, encouraging them to speak out, and offering guidance on how to address their concerns.
Looking ahead, Florian outlined some of the campaign's future plans. They expressed the desire to run a Complaints Workshop, acknowledging the current complexities of the complaints system, especially for neurodivergent students. The workshop aims to demystify the process and emphasise the importance of feedback, as compensation for delays in reasonable adjustments is not widely known. The campaign intends to ensure that this compensation reaches the students who deserve it, thus compelling King’s College London to acknowledge and address these issues.
Florian emphasised the need to see beyond the disability services layer and to actively challenge the system. They stressed the importance of reaching out for support early, keeping everything in writing, and utilising resources such as the unofficial disabled students' guide and external organisations for specialist advice. Finding social groups and like-minded individuals facing similar challenges was also highlighted as a crucial step in navigating the complexities of a large institution like King's.
How to Get Involved
To get in touch with the Adjust KCL! Campaign, you can visit their Instagram page or email them at [email protected]. They also host biweekly catch-up sessions!
Campaign Achievements and Next Steps
Some of the campaign's notable achievements include lobbying for paid Disability Ambassadors, contributing to the introduction of financial aid for vulnerable students, and initiating conversations about disability provisions across the university.
Their future endeavours include lobbying King's College London to introduce an external Disability Audit, improving the provision of reasonable adjustments in KCL Residences, and conducting Complaints Workshops to challenge the structural underfunding of disability services.
Share Your Story
The campaign encourages students who have faced challenges in obtaining support for their studies to share their experiences. By doing so, they can collectively shed light on systemic issues and advocate for structural solutions.
Find Out More
Tickets for the latest event are available here. The plan is to have a short (15-20 min) presentation on policies, getting a hold of Disability, and the sorts of things Disability can help with followed by social/ask-the-campaign-folks-questions time. Plus, there’s free food!
To learn more about the Adjust KCL! Campaign, you can read about its launch and original petition. Additionally, Florian Hansen's personal story and experiences with King's College London's 'strategic inefficiency' are available for further insight. The campaign also delves into the issue of 'strategic inefficiency' at King's College London, promoting a more inclusive and supportive academic environment for all students.
Read about our campaign launching and our original petition.
Read about our campaign lead, Florian Hansen’s, story and their experience with King’s ‘strategic inefficiency’.
Read about ‘strategic inefficiency’ at King’s.
Tell us about your experience:
If you have had problems with getting support to manage your studies - know you're not alone. By sharing your story with our campaign, we can show that these are systemic issues and demand structural solutions. Share your story here.