These guidelines are intended to help event planners understand how to choose a physically accessible location, provide accommodations, and use advance communications to serve people with disabilities. The primary goal is to ensure the participation of people with disabilities. While every situation may not lend itself to a clear-cut decision, the key is to remain flexible, responsive, and respectful.
Choosing a Physically Accessible Location
Whenever possible, you should hold your event in a wheelchair-accessible facility. Locating your event in a wheelchair-accessible facility will facilitate the participation of individuals with disabilities and others with mobility impairments. Many of Ithaca College's buildings are wheelchair accessible. If you can not hold your activity in one of these buildings, you should try to locate a building where the physical barriers are kept to a minimum and/or consider rescheduling your event until an accessible location is available.
Removing Communications Barriers
In most cases, the College will be responsible for providing some type of auxiliary communication aids and services to enable people with visual and sensory impairments to participate and enjoy our events. The cost of providing these aids and services should be anticipated in the event budget. Participants may not be charged for them.
- Sign-language interpreters – usually booked weeks in advance. We suggest that event planners use pre-event communications and publicity to invite people who may need this service to notify the event planner as soon as possible.
- Assistive listening devices – FM amplification and infrared hearing systems
- Transcripts of speeches – for events which include speakers, you might ask the speakers to prepare transcripts of their speeches in advance and give their permission to make the transcripts available to people with disabilities. Transcripts can be helpful both to people with hearing impairments but also sign-language interpreters, especially when they are provided in advance.
- Alternate formats of meeting materials and other information – large-print, braille, audiotape, and computer disc versions of speeches, lectures, and general emergency information, prepared in advance of the event, can be useful for participants with visual impairments or learning disabilities. On-site readers can also be a helpful accommodation.
In the occasional instance when it is impossible to provide the most appropriate aid or service to remove a communication barrier, you must still make a reasonable accommodation that will enable the person to participate in the event. If you are unclear as to how to make this accommodation, contact the Office of Equal Opportunity Compliance.
Modifying Policies, Practices, and Procedures
Event planners should also be aware that policies, practices, and procedures may need to be modified in order to accommodate a person with a disability. For example, a policy prohibiting animals to an event would have to be modified to allow a blind person to bring their guide dog.