Event Accessibility

Accessibility for Event Organizers

All WSU sponsored events and events that take place on campus, including camps and WSU Extension events, must be accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). All WSU units and event organizers should be familiar with and conform events to these guidelines. Questions about these guidelines, related policies, or event specific concerns may be directed to your supervisor, the ADA Coordinator, or WSU Compliance and Civil Rights. Please include as much  information regarding the request/question as possible, including contact information for all principal parties. Complex questions may require additional time for a thorough response; please plan accordingly.

Responsibility for Making Events Accessible

Ensuring that all WSU programs and activities are accessible to those who wish to attend requires coordination across campuses and departments; however, primary responsibility for accessibility falls on the event organizer. Event organizers must make a good faith effort to accommodate all persons with disabilities. Event organizers are encouraged to proactively include (e.g. transcripts or closed captioning for public speakers/videos/audio, FM amplification systems, accessible seating, etc) in their events and are required to provide reasonable accommodations when requests are received. Organizers may wish to consult with their supervisors and WSU Compliance and Civil Rights and/or the WSU ADA Coordinator to ensure they comply with legal obligations.

In addition to these requirements, for larger events (such as sporting events, commencement, or graduation), event organizers should make every effort to proactively make the event accessible even without a request for accommodation. This may include:

  • Clearly marking accessible parking, entrances, restrooms, seating, and routes of travel with signage and, if necessary, in printed materials;
  • Providing sign language interpreters or real-time captioning;
  • Ensuring that all electronic communications are compatible with assistive technology; and
  • If food is provided, ensuring that there are alternative options for common disability related dietary restrictions.

Cost of Accommodations

Accessibility costs are part of the overall expense of an event and should be anticipated as a potential budget item when planning for an event. Many accommodations can be made at little or no cost, such as choosing an already accessible location; however, some accommodations will incur a cost, such as sign language interpreting services. Event organizers should discuss alternative funding sources with their supervisor if the cost of a requested accommodation exceeds the event’s budget allowance. Before denying any request for accommodation, event organizers must consult with their advisor/supervisor and WSU Compliance and Civil Rights or the WSU ADA Coordinator.

Event Communication and Advertising

All WSU units are responsible for ensuring that their publications, including advertisements, are accessible (see also Guidelines for Accessible Communication and Advertising).

  • All publications and advertisements should include a statement describing how to request accessibility accommodations or alternative format publications. For example:

Title of Statement
Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made by {date} to {contact person, phone number, and email address}. Requests made after {date} are not guaranteed implementation.

Event organizers should consider setting the date in the above sample language to allow for a reasonable period of time to implement a reasonable accommodation, such as ten to fourteen days prior to the event. For events that are open to the public or which are located outside of WSU facilities, event organizers may require additional time to implement an accommodation, and are therefore encouraged to set a deadline that is reasonable for that event.

  • Advertisements and communications should specify whether or not generally applicable accommodations have been pre-arranged, such as:
    • FM amplification systems available
    • Real-time captioning will be provided on screen at the event as well as online at ____________________________________
    • Disability parking and wheelchair access information
    • Transcripts available

If the above information has been standardized for an event or an event location, information on how to access the standard accessibility information should be included in the advertisement or communication.

  • If an event includes a registration form, consider including a checklist of frequently requested accommodations:

Please indicate if you require any of the following accommodations during this event:

___Wheelchair accessibility
___Dietary restrictions (please specify) ____________________________________
___Electrical power source for charging batteries for assistive devices
(specify voltage) ____________________________________
___Assistive devices (please specify) ____________________________________
___Sign language interpreter
___Real-time captioning
___Pre-recorded materials
___Electronic copies of printed material
___Sighted guides for assistance to and from specific sessions
___Large print
___Other (please specify) ____________________________________

Accessibility Considerations for all Events

In planning for an event of any size or audience, the following items are important to keep in mind in determining the location for the event as well as what proactive accessibility measures and accommodations may reasonably be anticipated.

Physical Accessibility

  • Parking
  • Entrances
  • Seating
  • Restrooms
  • Path of Travel
  • Podium/Stage

Assistive Technology and Services

  • Screen Readers
  • Zoom Text
  • FM Amplification systems
  • Pre-Recorded Materials
  • Electronic copies of print materials
  • Sign Language Interpreters
  • Pre-captioned or Real-time captioning


  • Dietary Restrictions
  • Lodging
  • Transportation
  • Service Animals


If an event requires the use of external contractors, the event organizer must exercise due diligence and investigate whether use of external contractors will meet ADA requirements. Event organizers are encouraged to ensure, by contract language, that any contractors providing programs or services on behalf of the department do so in a manner that complies with ADA requirements (see also Contracts and Purchasing).