Report 94120 Summary - November 1995
CSU and UC:
Campuses Generally Provide Access for Students With Disabilities
CSU and UC:
Results in Brief
To address the needs of students with disabilities, the federal government passed the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act). The Rehabilitation Act states that no otherwise qualified disabled individuals shall, solely by reason of the disability, be excluded from participating in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program receiving federal assistance. In 1990, the federal government reinforced its commitment to individuals with disabilities by enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which provides people with disabilities civil rights protection and places emphasis on providing them with full opportunities and adequate access. Specific provisions of both the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA regulate programs and activities provided by public entities.
Because the California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) postsecondary systems are considered to be public entities, they must comply with the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act and ADA. We reviewed the CSU and UC systems as a whole and six individual campuses within the two systems to determine whether each public entity is complying with the ADA and providing computer access to its students with disabilities. During our review, we noted the following:
- Overall, the Chancellor's Office of the CSU and the Office of the President of the UC have developed adequate policies requiring their respective campuses to comply with provisions of the ADA.
- In addition, the four CSU and two UC campuses that we visited have developed adequate guidelines to meet the needs of, and provide access to, their students with disabilities.
- Furthermore, students at the six campuses we reviewed indicated a high level of satisfaction with services provided by their respective campuses. However, some CSU students commented that campus faculty members need to be more aware of the ADA requirements.
- Although the campuses we visited provide students with disabilities with adequate access to computers, we did note conditions at two CSU campuses where students' access to computer software and equipment may be impeded.
- Although the campuses we visited have developed guidelines to address the needs of disabled students, not all the campuses fully complied with the ADA requirements for self-evaluations. For example, one CSU campus had not completed its self-evaluation, and another CSU campus did not adequately address the elements as required by the ADA Technical Assistance Manual.
- Finally, although the ADA requires public entities to remove physical barriers by January 26, 1995, progress to remove the barriers at the four CSU campuses that we reviewed has been slow. In contrast, a significant portion of the barriers have been removed from the two UC campuses.
To increase campus awareness of ADA requirements, the Chancellor's Office of the CSU should instruct its campuses to provide training classes or seminars and require mandatory attendance for faculty and staff.
To address conditions and remove barriers that may be denying access to its students, the Chancellor's Office should do the following:
- Ensure that CSU Sacramento eliminates the access barrier to the library as soon as possible, and require the campus to provide an alternative means of accessibility for all students with disabilities until the barrier is eliminated.
- Instruct CSU Stanislaus to consider expanding the hours of its disabled services office or purchase additional adaptive equipment that can be placed in an open computer lab.
- Require all campuses to complete their self-evaluations as soon as possible and address the elements outlined in the ADA Technical Assistance Manual when completing their self-evaluations.
To maximize access for its students with disabilities, the CSU Chancellor's Office and the UC Office of the President should do the following:
- Instruct campuses to remove the architectural barriers identified in the transition plans as soon as possible. Furthermore, to expedite the process of eliminating the barriers, the campuses should look for alternative sources of funding to pay for the barrier removals.
The UC concurs with the findings and recommendations in the report. In addition, the president believes that the report recognizes the university's efforts to make campus programs accessible. Finally, the president stated the UC system will continue its efforts to remove architectural barriers identified in its campuses' transition plans.
The CSU Chancellor also concurred with the findings and most of the recommendations in the report. However, CSU does not agree with our recommendation to encourage students to transition out of the hightech centers to open labs. While they recognize that the intent of the recommendation is to encourage mainstreaming of services and academic opportunities for students with disabilities, the CSU plans to encourage students to obtain services where it is most advantageous to the student and the campus.