In Fall 2015, Portland Community College embraced a revised structure for our Accessibility Committees, bringing a greater level of organization and shared responsibility to the forefront and confirming an expectation for stakeholders to play active roles.
Historically PCC has utilized an ADA Committee to ensure compliance with requirements for accessibility of the built environment, but in order to ensure our college is truly “accessible” we need to look not only at our facilities, parking, and transportation, but also at our technology use and campus climate. There have been positive efforts applied in many areas including distance education and the library, however we need to be effective in documenting our good faith efforts, and the work that had been occurring was not necessarily engaging a full cross-section of our college.
The new structure includes a steering committee to oversee the efforts of the accessible built environment committee, the digital environment committee, and a college culture committee (coming soon). The goal is to provide more structure for existing efforts and ensure alignment with guidance coming from the Office of Civil Rights.
A recently published EDUCAUSE Statement lays out key areas in which institutions are at risk when it comes to accessibility, and backs those claims with evidence. Examples of the risk categories include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to provide an accessibility policy that demonstrates the college’s commitment to EIT accessibility.
- Failure to assign a person or entity to coordinate institution-wide accessibility.
- Failure to provide regular ongoing training, instruction, and support at all levels.
It is clear form legal decisions made over the last several years that when it comes to access, the “individual accommodation” response is not enough. Public colleges need a plan for “program access” and the structures to carry out and monitor the plan.
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Accessible Built Environment
Accessible Digital Environment