This session will guide you through a variety of topics that will help you understand the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its effect on campus. By the time the session is over, you should be able to understand the purpose of and the need for the ADA, define “disability” and know what distinguishes an individual as being disabled, know how to recognize when accessibility needs to be addressed and have some ideas on how to address it, know different ways to make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities, and help break down barriers for those with disabilities who need opportunities to grow as an equal part of the on-campus community.
Why “The Americans with Disabilities Act: Accessibility on Campus” Matters:
- Being ADA-compliant helps avoid discrimination that can result in school embarrassment, stigmatization, and bad publicity, which potentially lowers enrollment.
- Not adhering to the ADA may result in large fines. The Department of Justice can obtain civil penalties of up to $55,000 for the first violation on the part of an offender, as well as $110,000 for subsequent violations.
Students who are disabled may choose a different school simply because the building where their choice of study is housed is only partially accessible. This has a direct effect on the enrollment and reputation of a school.
Accessibility to school programs and services helps blend students with disabilities into the mainstream student body, leveling the playing field, while making it easier for professors to teach and evaluate them.
Proper accessibility allows students, faculty, and visitors to keep their dignity—allowing them to function just as everyone should—without hassle, embarrassment, inconvenience, or discrimination.
Proper accessibility helps create a treasured, memorable experience that a student’s time in college is meant to be—or, on the flip side, avoids an unsavory experience that it is not meant to be.
Higher education has a responsibility to the community at large to be accessible for all.
- The ADA was created to help eliminate discrimination based on disabilities.
- Use your school’s various resources to get help with disability concerns.
- Be familiar with the ADA and its components, and speak out when you witness violations.