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Accessibility in College and University Campus Life

Currently, there are no AODA education standards. However, two AODA standards development committees have drafted recommendations of guidelines that AODA education standards should include. One committee has recommended guidelines for the kindergarten to grade twelve (K-12) education system. In contrast, the other committee has recommended guidelines for the university and college education system. In this article, we outline the Postsecondary Committee’s recommended accessibility in college and university campus life.

Accessibility in College and University Campus Life

The Committee recommends that colleges and universities should proactively include students with disabilities in student life activities on campus. For example, schools can work with accessible sports organizations to make school sports and recreation activities more accessible. For instance, colleges and universities could work with local, national, and international organizations offering accessible:

Similarly, college and university policies should encourage students with disabilities to take part in student government. In addition, colleges and universities should collect data about percentages of students with disabilities currently in leadership positions, such as membership in:

  • Boards of directors or trustees
  • Senates
  • Student government

Colleges and universities should include these findings in their multi-year accessibility plans and yearly status reports. They should also detail any improved involvement of students with disabilities in these groups, as a result of school policies and procedures. Likewise, they should outline more ways to encourage future participation. This outline will help staff develop new accessible student life programs, or improve existing ones.

Accommodations in Campus Life

Moreover, colleges and universities should fund any accommodations students need to fulfill their roles in student government. Likewise, students participating in activities that student governments or groups organize should have access to the same accommodations, including:

  • Sign language interpretation
  • Attendant services

A staff member or department at each college or university should contact off-campus organizations able to provide certain accommodations students might need, such as:

  • Orientation and mobility (O and M) trainers
  • Captioners

Colleges and universities should inform all students that they have access to these accommodations, either directly through the school, or indirectly through an off-campus organization’s connection to the school.

Furthermore, the government should find ways to improve the quantity and quality of attendant services for students. To do so, the government should consult with many stakeholders, such as students, attendants, and administration.