University Access Committee - Statement of Purpose

The University Access Committee's (UAC) mission is to prioritize and fund barrier removal projects in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG).

Each access situation is assessed on a case by case basis. In some situations, under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the UAC will recommend the relocation of programs and services housed in inaccessible locations to accessible locations.

In those situations involving site-specific programs, UAC will identify physical barriers to programs and services and develop solutions for removing such barriers. The process will involve obtaining and evaluation and analysis, preliminary cost estimates, prioritizing projects, and recommending the implementation and funding of projects.

Process

UAC reviews barrier removal project requests from several sources. Initially, the main source for projects was from the facility and program surveys and Transitional Plan completed in 1994. As the majority of those needs are resolved, new needs arise with the changing landscape of the institution as a result of new construction, changes in the use of buildings, and changes in walkways and accessible paths of travel. Requests for funding may come from the ADA Coordinator, the Office for Disability Services, and individual faculty, staff, and students who identify what they believe might be an access need. All requests are reviewed, although not every request will go to the full UAC for consideration. There are times when the ADA Coordinator, acting in the capacity of UAC Chair, will consult with various UAC members to recommend solutions to requests that might not require UAC funding. The process of selecting projects for review is based on the following priority management process.

The UAC Facilities Improvement Funding Request to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act form can be downloaded at: http://www.psu.edu/dept/aaoffice/docs/Facilities_Improvement_Req.doc

Priority Management of Barrier Removal Projects

The Pennsylvania State University has taken a priority management approach to removing physical barriers that deny individuals with disabilities equal opportunity to fully participate in University life. This approach has focused initially on Priority-One buildings and First-Priority structural barriers.

Building priority is based on the following criteria:
1. Priority-One recognizes those buildings which have intense use and occupancy of programs with major concern for students, particularly students with disabilities.
2. Priority-Two recognizes those buildings with less use and occupancy but a major concern for research and specific service.
3. Priority-Three recognizes those newer buildings designed in compliance with ADA regulations and needing few modifications.
4. Priority-Four recognizes those buildings that may be replaced in 5 years.

The first barriers to be removed within priority-one buildings have been first-priority structural barriers.

Removal of First-Priority structural barriers will enable a person to:

• Get into the building.

• Get to the program or service offered in the building.

• Use the restrooms and building services.

• Get additional accommodations to access a program or service.

The priority management approach is continually modified to keep it focused on vital areas.

UAC has responsibility for prioritizing and funding barrier removal projects following the guidelines established in the Facilities Project Implementation Policy.

UAC reviews facility and program survey data to determine if a structural barrier adversely impacts access to programs or services. If so, UAC will review solutions, obtain cost estimates and assign project priority. Projects approved by UAC are reviewed and approved by members of the Facilities Resources Committee (FRC) as specified in the Project Implementation Policy.

Whenever there is a need to relocate a program or service that involves a change in use of space, UAC Staff will discuss relocation issues with the appropriate colleges or departments and the Facilities Resources and Planning Office.

Leadership

The University Access Committee (UAC) was originally charged on February 18, 1994, by then Executive Vice President and Provost John A. Brighton. When the Executive Vice President and Provost position was assumed by Rodney Erickson, the charge to UAC was renewed and UAC continues its mission today with full support from both Dr. Nicholas A. Jones, Executive Vice President and Provost, and Penn State President Dr. Rodney Erickson.

UAC members represent the major University operations impacted by ADA access. Examples of areas represented are shown below (not an exhaustive list):

  • Office for Disability Services
  • Office of Physical Plant
  • Affirmative Action Office
  • Penn State Campus Locations
  • Transportation Services
  • Student Affairs
  • Faculty Membership
  • Facilities Coordinators
  • Office of the Registrar
  • Auxiliaries
  • Office of Human Resources
  • Intercollegiate Athletics