October 10, 2013
A newly developed accessibility statement and a disability accommodation statement are helping Queen’s University raise awareness of the supports it offers to individuals who experience barriers to access in the classroom, when seeking information or when participating in university events.
“The university is committed to building an inclusive campus community, where information and services are accessible to all,” said Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “The accessibility statement and the disability accommodation statement will be particularly helpful in ensuring individuals know that they can get the supports they require to access information, and to participate fully in classes and university events.”
The accessibility statement is intended for use on documents, webpages, event programs and elsewhere and lets individuals know that the information they are looking or the activity they are participating in is available in accessible formats or with communication supports. The Office of the University Registrar was one of the earliest adopters of the accessibility statement, and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) specifically requires that student records and information on program requirements be available in accessibility formats.
“We are pleased to support the university’s goal of creating a more inclusive campus community by including this statement on our website and in other documents,” says University Registrar John Metcalfe. “I hope it will be used widely across the university.”
The disability accommodation statement, endorsed by the Senate Educational Equity Committee, is intended for use by instructors in their course syllabi. It informs students of the university’s commitment to achieving full accessibility for persons with disabilities and encourages students to contact the disability services office if they require an accommodation.
Leela Viswanathan, a professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning, uses the disability accommodation statement because she believes that accessibility and accommodation are foundational to the learning environment.
“The statement is an important one to include in course syllabi because it contributes to making students aware that accessibility is a shared responsibility by everyone at Queen's, and that our classroom aims to be an inclusive one,” says Dr. Viswanathan. “It lets students know that visiting the Disability Service Office is a first step in seeking an accommodation, and that as a course instructor, I will work with the student to meet their accommodation requirements.”
The accessibility statement and the disability accommodation statement are two initiatives that form part of the university’s accessibility strategy. Other measures to be rolled out this fall include an accessibility training suite for employees, as well as an online accessibility hub that will provide a central location for accessibility resources and information at Queen’s.