Student Perspectives: Nick Špoljar (UL)

What does inclusion mean to you?

I am quadriplegic, and in my experience the University of Ljubljana has provided a lot of adaptations for disabled students, although this depends on the faculty you are in. Whenever I have a problem with anything, I try to solve it by myself first, to come up with some sort of solution: then I can present this to professors, the dean, the student office, and with them work towards a workable solution. These provisions need to be tailored to each specific individual, so the individual needs to be empowered to find solutions: they know the problems they are facing.

Are there any inclusive practices at your university that you would like to highlight?

At the University of Ljubljana, we have a system where students enrolling at the university fill out a form and select the options that will help them, depending on if they are disabled, young parents, artists or working in professional sports. For instance if you are quadriplegic and cannot use your fingers, you have the option to use a computer during classes, or during exams someone can help you by writing for you, and there are other tools to help you. But I haven’t seen anything similar for other groups, like the LGBTQ community, or minority communities.

How would you like to improve this practice?

I would implement a system, a database, of all the students in these categories – disabled, LGBTQ, etc. – and keep them in this database for five years, so that all new students can ask these older students to help them, give them tips, help fill out forms, figure out how to ask for help, how to write emails correctly to reach the right people. A tutor would help you get information from someone who had lived through the process before. They could share their experiences with you, including the hardships.