Forum Held To Discuss Disability Access On O.U.’s Campus

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The Ohio University President’s Advisory Council on Disability and Accessibility Planning (PACDAP) held a forum Tuesday night to find out what the university can put in place to make the campus more accessible for people with disabilities.

PACDAP was formed this year to make the University better align with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008. The Associate Vice President of Facilities and PACDAP Co-Chair Harry Wyatt says the university is doing all it can to meet the ever changing requirements.

“We’re actually doing a very good job considering we have a lot of old buildings that date back to the mid-1800s,” Wyatt said. “We have challenging topography. Through a combination of architectural modifications as well as operational accommodations, I think we’re doing a very good job.”

The Advisory Council held the forum to hear from students, faculty and community members to see what changes could be made to improve access for people with disabilities.

Jessica Garten is a first year history graduate student at Ohio University and has cerebal palsy. She spoke at the forum and said her experience at Ohio University has been a great improvement compared to all her other school experiences.

“Ever since moving to Athens, I have found a large part of the prejudice has disappeared,” Garten said.

Currently PACDAP is working to create a comprehensive accessibility plan for the university by May of 2012 and wants to adopt that plan by January 2013.

“This [forum] is actually one of the very first steps of our planning process and that is to gather input,” Wyatt said. “To figure out how to concentrate our efforts overall.”

According to Wyatt, the University has been working to improve architectural accessibility by complying with all federal codes and regulations when building new buildings and renovating older buildings.