At one university, a garbage can blocked access to the paper towels, a table was placed in front of the automatic door button, students in wheelchairs couldn’t access the accessible sink in a science lab because of a trash can’s placement, and staff sometimes plowed snow into disabled parking spaces or access lanes.
At another institution, a professor banned all laptops, except those used by students with disabilities to take notes in class. When other students asked for an explanation, the professor violated privacy by revealing that the laptops were an accommodation for disabled students.
These common oversights can occur even on campuses where leaders believe they have complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. To avoid running afoul of the law, constant vigilance and ongoing review are essential because there are so many factors to consider—from what the law covers to how to best put accommodations into practice.