Monday, July 26, 2021

Dear OSU Faculty, Staff and Students,

Oregon State University joins the nation today in celebrating the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This landmark 1990 legislation initiated necessary and important change across the nation by prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities, and supporting access and equal opportunity in employment, public accommodations and services, and inclusion for disabled individuals.

At Oregon State, we honor and celebrate people with disabilities as part of the diversity and strength of our community. We realize we must work daily to advance equity and inclusion to assure that all people  including those with disabilities  feel welcome and are able to be successful within OSU, not only on our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, but in our centers, offices and programs offered statewide.

Recent activities within the university highlight this commitment:

  • OSU hosted a month-long ADA30 celebratory symposium in spring, bringing together more than 500 disabled and nondisabled participants from artistic, scholarly, activist and other community groups from within and beyond the university.
  • A set of university disability archives has been created to share stories of disabled people in the OSU community.
  • The Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport is a first-of-its-kind building in the nation that is designed to assist individuals with disabilities in evacuating during tsunami emergencies.
  • Planning and construction of the OSU-Cascades campus prioritizes universal design and disability inclusion. Meanwhile, construction occurring this summer around Community Hall on the Corvallis campus will greatly improve access along the sloped walkways leading from the Pharmacy Building and Furman Hall.
  • The university’s IT Strategic Plan 2023 seeks to redesign the OSU digital experience to provide students with more personalized, accessible and equitable services. As well, here is a link to an effort within OSU to advance web accessibility.

This fall, OSU will convene an ADA31 task force to assess university policies, programs and systems that identify and remedy barriers to provide for greater disability inclusion and access. The task force will focus on the growing importance of information technology accessibility in serving OSU’s mission of teaching, research and outreach programming. Listening and discussion sessions, online surveys and other opportunities will be offered during fall term so all may share their thoughts and experiences.

While we do this work, we must be ever diligent in understanding and addressing the barriers that remain for disabled individuals to have full and equal access. Let’s advance this work together as a truly welcoming and inclusive community.

Sincerely,

Becky Johnson
Interim President