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Event Accessibility

Event Planning

The University of Maryland strives to make all its programs and activities accessible to those who want to attend. This includes physical and programmatic access/accessibility. Accomplishing this goal requires coordination across campus, as well as the participation of those seeking an accommodation. However, primary responsibility for accessibility rests with the event organizer.

Scheduling Events

The university will make every effort to schedule all events open to the public or the university community in an accessible space. If for any reason a university event is scheduled in a space that is not accessible and the event organizer receives a request for an accommodation from an individual with a disability, the organizer must work with the appropriate space reservation office to find an alternate location that is accessible.

Physical access resources on making events accessible:

Publicizing Events

Event organizers should place an accessibility statement in all materials announcing the event. This includes electronic communications such as email as well as print materials (e.g., posters, fliers, postcards etc.). The text must include the name and contact information for the individual to contact for accommodations. Suggested text is set forth below.

Suggested accessibility statement (long version)

“Please contact___________ (event organizer) at _____ (phone and email) at least one week prior to the event to request disability accommodations. In all situations, a good faith effort (up until the time of the event) will be made to provide accommodations.”

Suggested accessibility statement (short version)

“For disability accommodations please contact (event organizer) at _____ (phone and email).”

Interpreters and Transcribers

All event organizers are strongly encouraged to request CART for all large programs and events. If a request for American Sign Language interpretation or CART is received, the event organizer is responsible for arranging and paying for it.

  • To enable sign language interpreters and transcribers to provide appropriate and adequate access for your event, please request program information from your speaker and provide it to the interpreter at least one week in advance. It is expected that last-minute changes will occur, and adjustments can be easily made. Please submit updated information as soon as possible.
  • Interpreters are part of your stage setup. Please remember to include a chair and, if appropriate, a music stand. Interpreters need to be placed near the speaker to ensure visibility. A wireless headset, connected to the speaker’s microphone, will enable the interpreter to hear the speaker more effectively.
  • Interpreters should be in a well-lit area and easily seen at all times. Keep in mind that when the lights are turned off, the participant who is deaf no longer has access to information.
  • CART providers should be seated in a location where they can best hear the speaker. A wireless headset, connected to the speaker’s microphone, will enable the transcriber to hear the speaker more effectively.

Interpreters and transcribers can be arranged through UMD Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services. DHHS assists departments across campus and campus affiliates in scheduling qualified service providers for their events and programs.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services

Audio and Visual

When putting on an event, the organizer has the responsibility under the ADA to furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities.

  • Assistive Listening Devices (ALD)
    • Accessibility and Disability Service (ADS) has devices for students registered with their office.
    • All UMD lecture halls are required by code to have Assistive Listening Technology built into the AV systems. This can be utilized through a receiver which the event organizer can check out from the classroom support office by contacting classrooms@umd.edu in advance.
    • Capitol One Field at Maryland Stadium and the Xfinity Center have ALDs built in and handsets are located at Fan Assistance upon request.
  • Captioning
    • If a video is being shown during a training or other event, every effort should be made before the event to purchase it with captioning.
    • If the presentation includes a PowerPoint or any visual graphic, every effort should be made to describe and/or read what is on the slide for any participant who is Blind. If appropriate, consider sending a Word version document of the presentation to the Blind or low vision individual in advance. See Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities from Microsoft and more resources from IT Accessibility.

Seating

As often as possible, individuals who use wheelchairs should be able to sit comfortably with their friends, companions and other participants. The setup of your venue may need to be re-evaluated to ensure access for all participants. Chairs may need to be removed to accommodate wheelchairs. If participants need to access the stage, a ramp or alternative access point must be made available.

Reserved seating areas for guests with low vision or those utilizing an interpreter should be located near the front of the audience area and in close proximity to the interpreter (if applicable). Unoccupied seats should be released when the program begins.

Making Event Materials Accessible

Event organizers are required to ensure that all materials for the event are available to be put in an alternative format upon request.

  • In advance: offer alternatives to see what will work best for the individual.
    • Email a copy in advance
    • Large print
    • Braille
  • Day of event: have a few large print copies available
    • Make sure everyone knows who has the large print copies
    • Print it in the program that large print copies are available upon request

Large print guidance is available at: Best Practices and Guidelines for Large Print Documents (link is external)

Requesting ASL, transcribing, and/or captions

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services

Commencement

Accessibility at Commencement

Making Events and Meetings Accessible to All (Webinar)