Making Your Event Accessible: A Checklist

Policy

It is the policy of the California State University, Sacramento that all campus events opened to the public are accessible to attendees with disabilities, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and equivalent state laws. Public events include, but are not limited to, theatre and music performances, gallery exhibits, seminars and colloquiums, graduation ceremonies, and athletic events. See University Policy Manual for a full description of the Disability Accommodation Policy for Public Access to Campus Events.

If you have any questions about requests or resources for accommodations in response to your event announcement, please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action, 916-278-6907 or the Office of Services to Students with Disabilities, 916-278-6955 or sswd@csus.edu (for student accommodation requests or referrals to agencies). It is recommended that programs plan to build in potential costs of accommodations as part of the overall costs of putting on events.

Checklist for Planning an Accessible Event: 

The following guidelines for accessible events were adapted from Planning an Accessible Event from Disability Access at Stanford, the Checklist for the Universal Design of Projects from University of Washington DO-IT, the SF Accessible public event checklist and other guides. Recognizing that achieving universal design is a dynamic process, this checklist is designed to help ensure the campus-sponsored event is accessible to the greatest extent possible.

Physical Meeting/Event Setup:

  • Entrances: Is the primary entrance accessible to different mobility devices (e.g. wheelchairs, walkers, etc.)? If not, put a sign on the primary entrance saying where the accessible entrance is located. Entrance doors should be easily opened; automatic openers are preferable.
  • Rooms/Auditoriums: Are all meeting rooms wheelchair accessible (i.e., elevators available for upper levels)? Also somebody should be available during the event to guide persons who are blind or visually impaired or otherwise need assistance to seating, upon request.
  • Chair Setup: When a room does not have fixed seats, keep in mind the following principles for setting up wheelchair seating locations:
  1. The number of chairs removed for wheelchairs depends on the total seating (see table below); and
  2. Wheelchair locations should be integrated with other seating areas (thus, chairs removed should be interspersed - front, middle, back, etc.). Companion seating should be available next to wheelchair locations.

Total Seating Capacity

Suggested Number of Wheelchair Locations

4-25

1

26-50

2

51-150

4

151-300

5

301-500

6

501-5000

6, plus 1 additional space for each 150

5000 and over

36, plus 1 for each 200, or fraction thereof, over 5000

  • Speaker Platform/Stage: Wheelchair lift required for any speakers who utilize wheelchairs. If a lift is not available, consider alternate layouts for the room.
  • Tables/Information/Food & Beverages/Booths/ etc.: Keep the following measurements in mind if you will be providing information, food or drink, registration, use of equipment, etc. at tables or booths:
    • Table height: 28"-34" from floor to top of table. If you must have some foods or information placed higher than 34", be sure that at least a portion of such foods and information are available at the lower level.
    • Aisles: At least 36" wide for maneuverability, and up to 44" wide if goods/services are available on both sides of an aisle. There should also be at least 36" from the tables to the wall behind if guests will be seated at the tables.
    • Knee space: 27" from floor to bottom of table, if guests will be using tables for eating, writing, interviewing, receiving services, etc.
    • Cables: Covers should be used over electrical cables or cords that must cross over aisles or pathways. Cable covers should be no more than 1/2" thick in order for wheelchairs to traverse across them.
  • Restrooms: Be familiar with where the nearest wheelchair accessible restrooms and drinking fountains are located and how to get to them from your event location. Somebody should be available during the event to guide a person who is blind or visually impaired to the location of the restrooms, upon request.
  • Signage: Signs showing locations of elevators, meeting rooms, restrooms (including wheelchair accessible restrooms), etc. should be located where people with disabilities can easily find them and should include Braille signage whenever possible.
  • Parking: Know ahead of time where the nearest accessible parking area or disabled parking spaces are located. At least one space should be van accessible. Disabled placards can be used in any marked public or general parking space on campus. A campus parking pass must also be displayed.
  • Path of Travel: Is there a step-free route with curb cuts from the parking lot (disabled parking spaces) to the building entrance? Is the pathway to the event location clear of obstructions/barriers and suitable in all weather conditions (i.e., rainy/slippery)? Displays or exhibits should be positioned to provide an accessible route and to not be a hazard to people who are blind or have visual disabilities.
  • Emergency Evacuation: Be familiar with the locations of exits and designated meeting places for rescue personnel and review the Emergency Response Manual section on Evacuation of Persons with Disabilities.

Materials and Communications:

  • Alternate Formats: On request, written print materials, including event publications, must be made available in an alternative format for blind, low vision, or other participants with print-related disabilities.
  • Announcements: Include a statement about how to request a disability accommodation in event announcements and materials printed/advertised.
    • Sample Statement:
      "Individuals needing reasonable accommodations for disability access are to contact [sponsor name] at [sponsor phone] or [sponsor e-mail], at least 5 business days before the event."
    • If sending an electronic announcement (i.e. e-vite), include alternate text since image-only announcements cannot be accessed by many devices (e.g. phones, screen readers).
  • Communications: On request, sign language interpreter, real-time captioning, assistive listening devices, sighted guide, reader, scribe, etc. should be provided (these must be arranged at least five business days in advance). Provide materials in advance to interpreters and real-time captioners and consult with them on seating and placement within the room. Adequate lighting should be available. Speakers should be encouraged to repeat questions asked from the floor before they answer, to assist audience members who cannot hear questions.
  • Event Registration/Confirmation: When confirming a meeting/event by phone or in writing (e.g. on your event registration), ask participants as a courtesy to refrain from wearing scented products to accommodate chemically sensitive colleagues. Confirm arrangements made in response to any reasonable accommodations requests, and ask participants to let you know if they will be bringing a service animal and if so plan rest areas and seating for the service animal.
  • Materials/Handouts: Whenever possible, meeting materials such as handouts, evaluations, and flyers should be made available in electronic format (.doc, .txt. etc but not .pdf) prior to the meeting.  Large print materials (18 point font Sans Serif type e.g. Arial) and other alternate formats should be provided upon request. If flip charts, easels, or dry erase boards will be used, read aloud the information to assist audience members who cannot see the board. Verbally describe any visual aids or graphical information. If there are evaluations or other forms that are to be filled out during or at the conclusion of the event, a reader and/or scribe should be provided for a person who is unable to complete printed materials independently.
  • Multimedia/Audiovisual: Audiovisual or multimedia presentations (especially videos) should have captions/subtitles or a plan so individuals with hearing impairments can access the information.  Supply wireless or adjustable height wired microphones to amplify talks and events if needed. Remind speakers (whether from the front or the floor) at the beginning of the session to use the mics.
  • Web Pages and other Electronic and Information Technology Resources: Make sure event web pages and other electronic resources and activities adhere to technical accessibility standards adopted by the CSU (Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/guide). For example, text alternatives should be provided for images. If a computer lab is to be used for the event, check availability of accessible workstations in the lab (refer to http://www.csus.edu/irt/Labs/Labs/SoftwarePC.html).

Other Arrangements:

  • Overnight Accommodations: If your event requires that participants find lodging overnight in the nearby vicinity, ensure the recommended lodging has wheelchair accessible rooms.   
  • Transportation: If your event requires participants to arrange local transportation, provide options and contact information for wheelchair accessible transit (e.g. ParatransitSuper ShuttleCalifornia Co-op Cab).  If the person with a disability is being dropped off at the event location ensure that there is accessible passenger loading and unloading space. Ensure event site is convenient to accessible public transportation. Identify the Paratransit stop on campus closest to the building for your event. If the event itself includes transportation, wheelchair accessible vehicles are to be used and advertised as available to the public.

Note: This checklist is a living document that may be periodically refined by the University Committee for Persons with Disabilities. We are interested in your feedback. Please take a moment to provide comments and suggestions to sswd@csus.edu.

This document is available in printable and alternate formats upon request: sswd@csus.edu.

Please inform SSWD at sswd@csus.edu if you encounter any problems accessing the SSWD web site.