Texas A&M University sponsors events that are open to persons both within and outside the University community. With certain exceptions, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the University has an obligation to make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, including members of the public, which will enable those persons to participate in the sponsored events.
The following information provides guidance for event sponsors in fulfilling their responsibility to provide accommodations as required by ADA. This statement does not expand the University’s obligation beyond the standards required by law.
Events – Events are programs and activities sponsored by Texas A&M University that are open to persons, including the public, with or without a fee. Examples include, but are not limited to, workshops, conferences, continuing education, Visitor Center tours, career fairs, commencement, and scheduled campus visits coordinated through Visitor Services. An event sponsor is an individual(s) representing a University office, department, or organization that hosts and coordinates a specific event program or activity.
Accommodations – Accommodations are adjustments and modifications which enable a person with a disability to participate in an event. The University reserves the right to decide the type of accommodation provided as long as it addresses the special needs of the individual. Accommodations through auxiliary aids and services such as Braille materials, sign language interpreters, adaptive technology, etc., are considered reasonable for certain disabilities, provided the disabled person gives the University sufficient notice to obtain the needed accommodation. Provision of personal devices such as hearing aids, crutches, and wheelchairs is not required.
Advance planning provides opportunities to anticipate potential issues, identify alternatives, and facilitate a response to accommodation requests. When planning, event sponsors should consider the following (not all inclusive).
- Assess the special nature of the event site.
- Verify that all the facilities where event activities will take place are physically accessible.
- Check exterior and interior building access, e.g., ramps, entrances, wheelchair seating, functional elevators, accessible restrooms, and Braille signage.
- Consider the impact of construction projects and potential blockages of sidewalks, ramps, and accessible parking.
- Verify availability and time-frames to acquire special services such as adaptive technology, sign language interpreters, or personnel with other specialized expertise.
- Request notification of special needs in the event’s promotional materials to project a welcoming environment and provide a timely accommodation response. See the sample message below.
Texas A&M University welcomes you to (event). If you require an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), please contact (name, e-mail, and telephone number) to communicate your needs. Early notification is encouraged, and a request (time-frame sponsor deems reasonable) before the event you plan to attend will facilitate the provision of a reasonable accommodation.
- Communicate special needs to service providers that are impacted by the accommodation request. For example, if a sponsor arranges for overnight stays in University residence halls, the sponsor is to communicate special needs to Residence Life. Also, dietary restrictions may need to be coordinated with University Dining Services. Communication also involves follow-up if the sponsor receives a complaint regarding the accommodation.
- Incorporate safety awareness in planning. Hazards can arise from inadequate seating, blocked aisles, and room ingress/egress.
- Funding for accommodations can be obtained through event fees or other funding sources deemed appropriate by the sponsoring college’s or unit’s oversight office. Contingency items may be built into the event budget. Costs may also be allocated among units that jointly sponsor or benefit from the event.
Interpreting ADA requirements can be complex and requires consideration on a case-by-case basis. When questions arise, event sponsors should contact the following:
- The ADA Coordinator can be contacted for compliance questions and assistance in locating information.
- The Department of Disability Resources provides services to current TAMU students with disabilities regarding accessibility to TAMU academic programs. While these services do not extend to sponsored events, Disability Resources is a contact point for event sponsors to obtain information about Braille printing, sign language interpreters, adaptive technology, and other areas of expertise.
- Transportation Services provides parking and paratransit for persons with disabilities. Parking For Customers with Disabilities
The following University offices offer event coordination services and can provide assistance: