Barrier-Free Accessibility at WU

Diversity as a way of life

At WU, we believe that the diversity of the WU community is an asset that enriches our organization. For this reason, we are looking to strengthen diversity among our students, faculty, and staff. We recognize the potential that people with a wide variety of different physical and mental skills bring to the table as both an opportunity and a resource.

We are committed to ensuring equal opportunities for all our students, faculty, and staff, regardless of any disabilities, and we do what we can to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities in the WU community. Our barrier-free, accessible campus provides an ideal environment for achieving these goals. Apart from ensuring accessibility in the built environment, we are also taking additional steps to make WU barrier-free as a place for academic study and work.

On these pages, you can find information on the following topics:

  • WU’s objectives, activities, and key contacts with regard to inclusion and barrier-free accessibility

  • In-house and external support for students, faculty, and staff with disabilities or chronic and/or mental illnesses

  • Tips and recommendations for barrier-free courses, documents, events, and day-to-day interactions

  • Information on different types of disabilities and impairments, because many types of disabilities are not visible

Strengthening inclusion

Inclu­sion refers to the equal participation of disadvantaged groups in society. WU regards inclusion as part of its social responsibility and one of the hallmarks of a future-oriented university. A diversity management system is in place at WU to promote inclusion.

By strengthening inclusion, WU wants to achieve the following objectives:

  • Ensuring equal opportunities for students, faculty, and staff members with and without disabilities

  • Creating a work and study environment that is free of prejudice and barriers

  • Creating an organizational climate characterized by respect and appreciation for everyone, focusing on people’s potential and not on their weaknesses

  • Developing a culture of trust at our university so that members of the WU community feel comfortable informing WU of any disabilities, impairments, or chronic illnesses they may have

  • Living up to WU’s social responsibility as a public university and an employer and serving as a role model for other organizations

What disability means to us

Our concept of what disability means is constantly evolving. Today, disabilities are seen less and less as medical conditions or a matter of charity, but rather as a problem of legal and social marginalization. The social model of disability focuses on the interrelationship between health conditions and barriers. According to the social model, disabilities are created in the interaction between impaired individuals and society.

“People are disabled by society, not just by their bodies.”

There are many different types of disabilities, and most of them are not immediately visible.

  • 14.1% mobility impairments*)

  • 7% chronic illnesses

  • 3.7% neurological and mental conditions

  • 3.0% visual impairments

  • 2.1% hearing impairments

  • 0.8% learning disabilities

  • 0.8% language impairments

  • 0.5% wheelchair users

*) These figures show the percentages of Austrians living in private households who are affected by the corresponding disability or impairment.

Cf. STATISTICS AUSTRIA, microcensus Q4, 2007 and 2015 – additional questions for people with disabilities or impairments

Barrier-free accessibility

The barrier-free approach aims to reduce or eliminate existing barriers. It covers physical, communicative, intellectual, social, economic, and institutional aspects.


Sonja Lydtin

Sonja Lydtin

Gender & Diversity Policy Office