Accessibility Committee

Purpose Statement

PSU’s Accessibility Committee purpose is to advance universal design through the review of accessibility across the University as well as to prioritize and advocate for funding to remove barriers in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504/ADA and other laws, statutes and regulations.

In addition to compliance related projects, the committee promotes awareness of the legal rights of individuals with disabilities, and the University’s shared responsibility of providing respect and equity through universally accepted best practices to assure an inclusive environment. The Accessibility Committee functions as an advisory committee to the Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion as well as the 504/ADA Coordinator.

The committee is representative of the commitment and collaboration of campus efforts toward access/inclusion.

The Committee must consist of at least 10 members and should have representatives from the following campus departments:

  • Section 504/ADA Coordinator
  • Disability Resource Center
  • Human Resources
  • Planning, Construction and Real Estate
  • Campus Public Safety
  • Office Enrollment Management and Student Affairs (Campus Recreation, Smith Memorial Student Union etc.)
  • University Housing and Residence Life
  • Office of Information Technology
  • Office of Academic Innovation
  • University Communications
  • At least one student representative
  • One faculty representative

Other Departments that are represented on the committee are not required, but may be beneficial to committee’s initiatives.


2017-18 Subcommittee Achievements

Online Accessibility

The Electronic and Online Accessibility Policy was advanced to the President’s desk and PSU's first IT Accessibility Coordinator was hired. PSU selected an auditor to review the web accessibility for PSU, and Terrill Thompson, DO-IT (University of Washington) lead trainings for all senior administrators and webmasters. UComm began preparing for a migration of content to the new version of Drupal and the company selected to lead the effort was selected in-part due to their accessibility consciousness 

Physical Accessibility

Many physical accessibility projects took place including elevator upgrades for Cramer Hall, Parking Structure One, and Parkmill. A lift is being installed at University Honors to make their main floor accessible. The co-chairs of the Accessibility Committee now meet monthly with project managers for major capital projects to discuss physical accessibility and major construction projects will now be aided by the assistance of an outside ADA expert consultant throughout the design and construction process.

Many improvements have been made on emergency management procedures related to inclement weather, with accessible routes now taking top priority.

The committee used the annual allocation of $50,000 for physical accessibility improvements to fund the following projects: 

  • $20,000 adding ergonomic furniture to classrooms in Cramer Hall 
  • $5,000 Accessible restroom signage
  • $15,000 Adding handrails to Cramer Hall, room 453
  • $10,000 Reconfiguring space in Cramer Hall rooms CH250 and CH383 to improve accessibility

Universal Design

The Universal Design for Learning Symposium, held by the Office of Academic Innovation, was a huge success and highlighted some of PSU's wonderful faculty doing great work around classroom/curriculum accessibility for all. The Inclusive Event Guide project, a collaboration between the Accessibility Committee, Disability Resource Center and Diversity Action Council, was completed.

Disability Resource Center and Students with Disabilities: 

The Disability Resource Center (DRC( acquired nearly 400 sqft of space from ASPSU to allow for students to meet each other, hang out, and share in community. The DRC held an event called “Its Your Center” that demonstrated a visible disability community for PSU students. Disabled students created “Disability Alliance” student group which has been meeting regularly and is very active around issues of compliance, ableism awareness, and activism.

Employees with Disabilities: 

Human Resources continues to make their website more accessible and helpful for employees with disabilities and has made the ADA request form electronic.

2016-17 Subcommittee Achievements

Universal Design

A universal design panel was held as part of the Cultural Responsiveness Symposium hosted by the Diversity Action Council. The committee produced posters on universal design for physical accessibility and learning that were distributed across the campus.

Emergency Egress 

An evacuation chair was purchased that is now stored in the Campus Public Safety emergency response vehicle. The emergency evacuation registry was re-designed and all campus community members (students, faculty and staff) were asked to opt-in to receive assistance in an emergency. 

Accessibility Education and Outreach

The subcommittee hosted a workshop on online accessibility for Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Multiple trainings and presentation on abliesm took place. As part of Portland State of Mind, a screening of Being You was held and PSU alumni Pete Denman attended and spoke about his experience as a PSU student and working at Intel.

Physical Accessibility

The committee's $50,000 allocation was allocated to the design and construction of a ramp at the entrance to Market Center Building with matching funds for the project received from Finance and Administration.

Priority signage was designed and installed at all campus elevators alerting folks to yield for those who need to use the elevators. Multiple classrooms in Cramer Hall were adapted to better accommodate folks using wheelchairs. Projects funded by student building fees that the committee advocated for and were approved included: enhancing the accessible entrance to the Women's Resource Center, installing 8 new automatic door openers campus wide, creating a list at the entrance to University Honors. 


2015-16 Subcommittee Achievements

Universal Design

The Universal Design (UD) Subcommittee was formed to evaluate UD and provide a value statement for PSU to strive towards UD. UD is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. For more information see the Accessibility UD webpage. The subcommittee will be continuing to update the UD statement and work towards univeristy implementation.

Online Accessibility Policy 

The Online Accessibility Subcommittee was made of representatives from various offices including Office of Information Technology, Office of Academic Innovation, Millar Library, University Communications, and the Disability Resource Center. We created a proposal for a new University policy: The Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility Policy. This policy would ensure that all information in University websites and course shells would be accessible. The policy would also ensure that any technology purchased or implemented by the university would be as accessible as possible. The policy would benefit people with disabilities in addition to people with different learning styles and using mobile devices.

The subcommittee successfully presented the policy plan to the University Policy Committee and was asked to return with a draft of the policy in the fall term.

Emergency Egress 

The Emergency Egress Subcommittee was charged with undertaking research related to approaches to egress and tools to assist people with disabilities during emergencies. The committee was also asked to lead the creation of formal procedures for those in need of additional assistance during emergencies. The committee is working on a number of research and communication projects that will continue in the new academic year.

Physical Accessibility Construction Projects: 

The Accessibility Committee receives an annual allocation of $50,000 to undertake projects that improve physical accessibility on our campus. The Committee chose to allocate 2015-16 funds to removing the lift at Fifth Avenue Cinema and creating a ramp that will provide universal access to the theaters/classrooms. This project will be completed before Fall term 2016.

If you have experienced or noticed barriers to physical accessibility on campus, please complete the Barriers to Physical Access form in order to notify the committee.

If you would like to receive email notifications regarding projects that impact physical accessibility, please subscribe to the Physical Accessibility Impact Google group.

2018-19 Committee Membership

  • Jen Armbruster
    Inclusive Rec. and Fitness Center Coordinator, Campus Recreation
  • Eric Bercegeay
    Web Developer, University Communications
  • Erica Bestpitch
    Director, Women's Resource Center
  • Greg Blackmore
  • Instructor, Philosophy
  • Michele Bromley
    Adaptive Technology Specialist and Alternative Formats Coordinator, Disability Resource Center
  • Julie Caron
    Associate Vice President, Global Diversity and Inclusion (Co-Chair)
  • Julieta Castro
  • Director of Equal Rights, ASPSU
  • Justin Coleman
    Senior Instructor, American Sign Language
  • Jack Dorkey
  • Accessibility and Leaves Administrator, Human Resources
  • Jen Dugger
    Director, Disability Resource Center (Co-Chair)
  • Heather Goah
  • Director if Testing Services, Student Health and Counselling Center 
  • Gerald Gotschall
    Lead Architect, Capital Projects and Construction
  • Molly Gunderson
    Access Services Manager, Millar Library
  • Yesenia Gutierrez
    Director of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunities, Global Diversity and Inclusion
  • Jewls Harris
    Access Counselor & Consultant, Disability Resource Center
  • Samantha Johns
    Course Support and Accessibility Specialist, Office of Academic Innovation
  • Sarah Kenney
    Executive Administrative Coordinator, Planning, Construction and Real Estate (Co-Chair)
  • Holly Lawson
    Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education
  • Adam Lutzow
    Academic Scheduling Supervisor, Registrar's Office
  • Liane O'Banion
  • Associate Director, Learning Center
  • Brian Paez
    CARE Team Coordinator, Dean of Student Life Office
  • Courtney Shiroma
    Associate Director, University Housing and Residence Life
  • Emily Spalding
  • ASPSU University Affairs Director
  • Haruna Suwa
  • Visiting Fellow
  • Caitlin Sweeney
    Career Counselor, Advising and Career Services
  • Donnell Tanksley
    Director, Campus Public Safety Office
  • Jerrod Thomas
    Director, User Support Services, Office of Information Technology
  • Vacant
  • IT Accessibility Coordinator, Office of Information Technology

Join the Committee

If you are interested in joining the committee, please contact Sarah Kenney at