The Catholic University of America


Making Public Events Accessible

We hope you find this information helpful in creating a fully accessible program for all students, staff, faculty, and guests. Please read through this carefully and feel free to contact DSS at any time to discuss any of these accommodations. We look forward to working with you and making your program enjoyable and accessible for everyone.

Event Location

As an institution that is required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Catholic University must ensure that all events are accessible to those who wish to attend ( Note: all event organizers are asked to place an access statement in the materials announcing the event).  Therefore, all meetings and events at the university open to the student and university community, or open to the public, will be scheduled in accessible rooms. This requirement applies to academic events, whether curricular, or co-curricular, and to all student organization meetings.  If for any reason, that is not done at the time the event is arranged and the sponsoring department receives a request from an individual with a disability, the sponsoring department must make every effort to work with Enrollment Management Services and/or with Pryzbyla Management to find an alternate location that is accessible.

Audio and Visual

  • If there is a request for an FM system from an attendee who is deaf and uses hearing aides, the event organizer will need to work with Pryzbyla Management to reserve a device in advance.
  • If there is a video being shown, all efforts should be made in advance of the event to either purchase the video with captioning or work with DSS to add captioning.  In addition, Pryzbyla Management will need to be notified in order to provide the appropriate equipment to run the captioning.  Note:  YouTube has automatic captioning as on option on all videos.
  • If the presentation includes a Power Point, every effort should be made to describe and/or read what is on the slide for any participant who is blind.

Interpreters & Transcribers

  • All departments are strongly encouraged to request Interpreters and Transcribers for all programs and events.
  • Requests for Sign Language Interpreters and/or Transcribers can be made by contacting the DSS office at 319-5211. To ensure availability of qualified Sign Language Interpreters/Transcribers, please submit requests at least two (2) weeks in advance.
  • To enable Sign Language Interpreters and Transcribers to provide appropriate and adequate access to your event, please request program information from your speaker and provide it to DSS at least one week in advance. It is expected that last minute changes will occur and adjustments can be easily made. Please submit updated information as soon as possible.
  • Interpreters are part of your stage set-up. Please remember to include a chair and, if appropriate, a music stand. Interpreters need to be placed in close proximity of the speaker to ensure visibility. A wireless headset, connected to the speaker’s microphone, will enable the Interpreter to hear the speaker more effectively.
  • Interpreters should be in a well-lit area and easily seen at all times. Keep in mind, when the lights are turned off, the participant who is deaf no longer has access to information.
  • Transcribers are to be seated in a location where they can best hear the speaker. A wireless headset, connected to the speaker’s microphone, will enable the Transcriber to hear the speaker more effectively.


  • The Catholic University of America does not provide wheelchairs for any individual. Information regarding resources within the community is available on the DSS website.
  • Each department will need to reserve seating areas for guests requiring the services of a Sign Language Interpreter. This area should be located near the front of the audience area and in close proximity to the Interpreter. Unoccupied seats should be released when the program begins.
  • As much as possible, individuals who use wheelchairs should be able to sit with their friends, companions, and among other participants comfortably. The set up of your venue may need to be re-evaluated to ensure access for all participants. Chairs may need to be removed to accommodate the wheelchair. If participants need to access the stage, a ramp should be made available.
  • Wheelchair seating in rooms with an auditorium style set up are usually located in the front or back.  According to the fire marshal, the aisles must be clear at all times in case of an emergency.

Alternative Formats

To ensure equal access to information about CUA programs and/or events, the Office of Disability Support Services and the Office of Publications have developed the following guidelines.


  • Submit all copy to the Office of Publications as an MS Word document.
  • Do not include images.
  • Do not use text boxes or frames.
  • Include a statement in the text that the publication is available in alternative formats upon request and supply contact information.
  • Publications will e-mail your office an image-free MS Word document or an image-free PDF file.

Finished Publications

Fulfilling requests for alternate format publications is the responsibility of the department or office for whom the publication was produced. DSS suggests following the procedures:

  • Designate a specific person to handle requests for publications in an alternate format.
  • The preferred format for alternate format publications to be e-mailed is as text-only MS Word files, which that the requester can print out in whatever size he or she needs.
  • If someone requests a file in Braille, please e-mail the request and file to DSS at
  • If a requester cannot receive e-mail and requests a copy in large print, increase the font size as requested, reorient the copy if necessary (horizontal to vertical for example) and send a copy to the requester.

Audio-visual presentations with text must be shown with open captions. DSS is available to consult about ensuring the all A/V is accessible.

Sample Statement for Information Brochures

We suggest you add the following statement to all informational brochures, packets, and websites to inform all participants of the procedures for requesting accommodations.

“Please contact___________ (event organizer) at _____(phone or email) at least one week prior to the event to request accommodations. In all situations, a good faith effort (up until the time of the event) will be made to provide accommodations.

If you have questions at any time during the development of your program/event, please feel free to contact DSS at 319-5211. We are available to attend meetings and planning sessions to assist you during the early stages of developing your program.