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Leading the way for accessibility

Accessibility for James McNutt is more than a topic of interest – it directly affects his life every day.

"James McNutt"
For his efforts in highlighting the importance of accessibility at Queen's, James McNutt won the 2016 Steve Cutway Accessibility Award. (University Communications)

Mr. McNutt lives with cerebral palsy and gets around via a motorized wheelchair. Having earned three degrees at Queen’s, the most recent being a Master’s of Education completed in 2016, he is intimately familiar with many of the barriers and hurdles to accessibility on campus, not just for himself but for all Queen’s community members, especially students.

“Accessibility issues are extremely important. Queen’s University receives public funds for its operations,” he says. “The implication of this fact is that all who meet entrance requirements can attend, no matter what their creed, colour, or ability. By ensuring that all buildings are accessible, the university fulfills its obligations to its diverse and inclusive student body.”

In 2015, Mr. McNutt took it upon himself to conduct an independent accessibility audit at Queen’s, a project that used video to highlight and share accessibility challenges on campus.

For his efforts he received the 2016 Steve Cutway Accessibilty Award, one of the university’s Tri-Awards along with the Employment Equity Award and the Queen’s Human Rights Initiative Award.

It’s a recognition that continues to hold a special meaning for Mr. McNutt.

“It has meant a great deal for me to be even nominated for the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award,” he says. “I did my video to raise awareness about Queen’s accessibility issues. However, to be recognized by the university for my efforts is the icing on the cake.”

Established in 2008, the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award recognizes the contributions of faculty, staff and students towards advancing accessibility for persons with disabilities at Queen’s. The Queen's Accessibility Committee in partnership with Accessibility Queen’s named the Award in honour of Steve Cutway, a long-serving employee of Queen’s, who, for 36 years, dedicated himself to advancing accessibility at the university.

Nominations for the Tri-Awards are currently being accepted. The deadline is Jan. 12, 2018.

The awards will be presented on March 20, 2018 at the Diversity and Inclusion Round-Table Discussion and 2017 Tri-Awards Celebration. Register online early as spaces are limited for this event.

Nomination forms and further information on the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award, Employment Equity Award, and Human Rights Initiative Award are available on the Equity Office website. Questions can be directed to the Equity Office at 533-2563 or equity@queensu.ca.