Accessibility Guidelines for Planning and Promoting Events

All University of Washington entities are responsible for ensuring that their programs, services, and activities are accessible. These resources attempt to guide entities through the event planning, implementing, and promoting processes and in alignment with UW Executive Order No. 31 & APS 46.4. 

Why is Accessibility Important?

  • UW values access and diversity as it demonstrates our commitment to creating an inclusive community
  • University of Washington policy, in alignement with state and federal regulations, require equal access to university programs, services, and activities for individuals with disabilities
  • The Department of Education reports a 1 in 5 ratio of students on campus have a disability
  • The CDC reports a 1 in 4 ratio of adults living in the US to have a disability

Physical Location Access  & Accessible Route Considerations

  • Parking
    • Know where the nearby ADA designated parking is located
  • Route & Entrance
    • The route from ADA parking to the entrance is flat and paved
    • A ramp is available where exterior steps lead to the entrance
    • Clear signage to an accessible entrance (if the main entrance is inaccessible) is present
    • The door(s) are easy to open if not automatic or held open (i.e. lever vs knob handle, limited door pressure)
  • Event Location
    • The furniture is movable, or if fixed seating areas, accessible seating options are available for participants
    • There is plenty of space to maneuver around tables and interior walkways (at least 36”)
    • The lighting and acoustics are good and electric cords crossing walkways are covered
    • In rooms where audio will be amplified (microphones), assistive listening devices are available for participants who are hard of hearing
    • Seating near the front for participants who are Deaf or hard of hearing is available
    • The stage and projector screen is easily visible (if in use)
    • Restrooms with accessible stalls are located near an event location(s) with clear signage

Virtual Connections or Elements of an Event

Review how to plan and host virtual meetings, trainings & events

Conferences or Program Registration Forms

Registration materials should include an access statement stating how to request an accommodation(s). See the statement below under promotions and publications.

To help with advanced planning consider including the following on registration materials:

I will need the following accommodations in order to participate:
__ ASL Interpreter
__ Communication Access in Real-Time (CART services)
__ Large print
__ Braille
__ Wheelchair access
__ Assistive Listening Device
__ An Assistant will accompany me
__ Closed-captioned videos

__ Other (specify)

If lodging and/or meals are coordinated through the event, an opportunity must be provided to request accommodations related to diet and lodging.

When talking to hotels:

  • Check with hotels to ensure they understand the level of their accessibility and have procedures for providing access to their facilities
  • Determine an alternative plan for meeting rooms or facilities that are not accessible.

Event Promotions and Publications

Promotions and publications include brochures, flyers, announcements, web flyers, email blasts, social media postings, UW Today event ads, etc. All should include the following statement to ensure accommodations can be requested:

Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made by [INSERT specific date] to [INSERT sponsoring department contact, phone number, and email address].

If an accessible feature is already built into the event, such as a sign language interpreter or specific equipment, note that as well. For example:

FM amplification systems are available.

Sign language interpreting will be provided at the April 15th performance.

Accommodation Requests

Individuals attending campus events must be given the opportunity to request accommodations within a specific time period. Timelines are allowed to be set but ensure your event promotions and publication timelines have the request period built into it.

Types of common accommodations include:

  • Preferential seating
  • Portable amplification system
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Captioned media
  • Alternative formats for printed materials

When Accommodation Requests Are Made

As accommodation requests are submitted for your conference, training, service, or event approve and implement what you are able to provide. If you have questions or concerns about implementing a request consult with the Disability Services Office (DSO) on the necessary next steps. If you are considering saying no to a request DSO consultation will need to occur first.

Disability Services Office

Bothell and Tacoma may also consult with their DRS Students office as well:

Bothell: Disability Resources for Students

Tacoma: Disability Resources for Students

Additional Resources

For questions regarding policies or accessibility in general please contact the Office of the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator.