November 23, 2020 - Message

30 years of the ADA: Removing barriers at Portland State

Dec. 4, 2020

Dear Campus Community, 

This year we mark the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, landmark civil rights legislation prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities. It is a time to both celebrate how far we’ve come and acknowledge how far we still have to go.

The anniversary falls during a particularly challenging time for students, faculty and staff who experience a disabling condition at Portland State. Our new world of physical distancing and remote learning is incredibly challenging to navigate for those experiencing barriers due to mental health, learning, vision, hearing, medical, and other disabilities. 

I want to take a moment to recognize the extra challenges they face and pledge my continued support to them — now and in the future. As a campus community, we are renewing our commitment to removing barriers wherever we can. 

As we’ve all learned over the past several months, flexibility and compassion are key to success in this pandemic.

I have appreciated PSU faculty members who have stepped up to make adjustments for students who are facing extraordinary financial, health, family and academic pressures by extending deadlines, recording lectures, posting materials online, and adapting assignments when needed. These are strategies that make PSU more accessible to every student, and I would encourage us to consider how we can continue to implement them even after the pandemic is under control and we can return to classrooms. 

I also would like to thank Jen Dugger Spalding, director of the Disability Resource Center, and the entire DRC staff for their work to support 2,200 students with disabilities. I appreciate what they do and want to recognize their dedication to helping each and every student succeed under these challenging circumstances. Read more about the DRC’s work and PSU’s legacy of disability rights activism in a feature on our website.

We have come a long way in the past 30 years to eliminate barriers to equity and access at Portland State, but we still have much more to do. As we find new ways to learn, live and connect, PSU is committed to prioritizing accessibility and minimizing the need for accommodations across our campus and programs.

If you are a student with a disability who is experiencing barriers to success, please visit the Disability Resource Center’s Virtual Front Desk from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday (Zoom Meeting ID 379-914-326). You also can call 503-725-4150 and leave a message, or email Updated resources and information are in the DRC’s Remote Learning Guide.  

If you are an employee with a disability requiring an accommodation or needing to report a barrier to accessibility, please contact the HR Accessibility and Leaves Administrator at or 503-725-9640. Employees seeking more information on the PSU accommodation process can also book a one-on-one consultation or find more information on the Human Resources website.  

We are all here to help.


Stephen Percy 

PSU President