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Open forum to address Athens campus accessibility

Entire community invited to share input, help develop solutions


The President's Advisory Council on Disability and Accessibility Planning (PACDAP) will hold an open forum from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 25, in Baker University Center Ballroom A. Faculty, staff, students and Athens community members are invited to participate.

Members of the University and community will discuss barriers to employment and education for persons with disabilities. The input from this collaboration will inform the Council in coming months as members create a comprehensive Accessibility Plan for OHIO.

"We are committed to making Ohio University architecturally accessible," said Laura Myers, executive director of the Office for Institutional Equity. "But that is only one aspect of accessibility. We are also committed to supporting students with disabilities in their academic programs, to improved web accessibility, and to creating welcoming, inclusive environment."

Brian Bridges, vice provost for diversity, access and equity, echoed Myers.

"Efforts to create an inclusive campus have to come from all corners of the University and PACDAP is another vehicle of committed advocates working collaboratively to positively impact Ohio University," he said. "Disability issues should be central to the diversity paradigm at OHIO and this forum and PACDAP's work helps to make that a reality."

Lori Woods, an instructor in the Deaf Studies and Interpreting Program at the Ohio University Lancaster campus is a featured guest speaker. The remainder of the event will focus on dialogue within smaller "work" groups to identify challenges to employees and students with disabilities.

"The goal of this evening is to inform and engage with the community," said Linda Lonsinger, chief human resource officer. "We will listen to the anecdotal information, the input, and the comments we get, and it will assist us in the creation of the Accessibility Plan."

PACDAP was formed this year to help OHIO improve alignment with the American with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 and continually evolving accessibility standards promulgated by the Federal Access Board.

According to its charter, is also charged with helping "to guide Ohio University's compliance with federal and state disability law to remove barriers to access to educational and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities."

"President McDavis has charged the council with evaluating OHIO's accessibility for students, employees and visitors to our campuses," said Myers. "Council members were asked to develop a prioritized list of areas of need and to recommend a comprehensive plan for continuous improvement of access for persons with disabilities."

The council is made up of representatives from across the University who are committed to not only meeting requirements, but to exceeding them.

For those needing accessible parking, lot 120 (Porter/Bird metered lot) will be open only for vehicles with Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ issued handicap placards. 

If you require accessible para-transport please call CATCAB at 740-593-1611 before 4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, to make arrangements for transportation to Baker University Center. If you require other reasonable accommodation to fully participate in the event, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 740-593-2620.