New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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Student gov’t announces initiative to promote on-campus accessibility measures

The Student Government Assembly announced the start of a new accessibility task force to provide more resources for NYU community members with disabilities.
Mikaylah Du
(Illustration by Mikaylah Du)

The student government announced the creation of a task force dedicated to promoting the inclusivity of resources on campus at a Student Government Assembly meeting on Thursday. 

The Student Government Assembly Accessibility Task Force, put forward by SGA chair Ryan Carney, will work to “identify, prioritize and implement initiatives” aimed at improving the quality of on-campus life for students and community members with disabilities. At the meeting, Carney said areas of focus for the committee would include physical accessibility of university buildings and facilities, improved accessibility of online platforms and efficient access to information for students in search of disability resources.

“The purpose of the task force is to really streamline the process, so SGA can identify the issue, connect with the right administrators and address the issue head on,” Carney wrote to WSN. “It can provide a framework and a foundation to work toward addressing the root issues.” 

Carney also said the task force would attempt to address challenges students may encounter in on-campus buildings, classrooms and libraries. He said he has been working closely with Christina Beck, the former senator at-large for students with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Carney told WSN there was “a log of recurring issues that kept coming up and haven’t been resolved” regarding on-campus accessibility measures.

The initiative referenced an April 2021 letter from SGA representatives, which advocated for the adoption of an “All University Asset-Based Model” focused on ensuring “all accommodations needed for success” and inclusion of all students with disabilities at NYU. Signatories of the letter cited increasing rates of disability disclosure to the Moses Center for Student Accessibility and reports from the Disability Student Union as grounds to foster a “disability inclusive culture.”

The committee will comprise student government representatives, the SGA Executive Committee, the Office of the Dean of Students and any NYU student expressing interest in joining. According to Carney, it will be up to future governing bodies within the SGA to determine whether the task force will function as a temporary or permanent committee. 

In November 2022, the university entered a “voluntary compliance agreement” with the U.S. Department of Justice, providing NYU with a five-year period to develop an inclusivity plan, subject to department review. The agreement was to guarantee accessibility in on-campus housing across all dorming units, incorporating accessible bathrooms, entrances and signage, along with updating emergency evacuation plans tailored to those with disabilities. 

The agreement followed a compliance review, revealing that university housing violated the “new construction provisions” outlined under the Americans with Disabilities Act, with identified “barriers to access to existing facilities.” Under ADA regulations, all privately owned spaces, including universities, are obligated to eliminate barriers preventing unassisted access to buildings and follow accessibility standards for new projects. In a statement to WSN at the time, NYU spokesperson John Beckman said NYU is committed to making all student housing in compliance with ADA regulations.

The SGA’s proposal is not the first on-campus initiative formed as a result of accessibility complaints. In December 2022, disability rights advocates called on the university to address its tap access policy for accessible doors, claiming the existing policy required students to disclose their disabilities to enter certain buildings, potentially violating ADA provisions.

The new accessibility task force will have preliminary meetings starting the first week of March and continuing through the end of the semester in May. 

Contact Maisie Zipfel at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Maisie Zipfel, Deputy News Editor
Maisie Zipfel is a first-year double majoring in Journalism and Politics, and double minoring in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Spanish. She is a Yerba Mate enthusiast, a Taylor Swift fanatic and an anti-Greek Life turned sorority girl (Deeph or Die). When she’s not writing in the WSN basement you can find her isolated in Palladium for NYU’s Competitive Dance Team practice, obsessing over her Four-Year Plan or trying to weave in time to take a nap. You can reach her on instagram @maisiezipfel, on LinkedIn (her favorite social media platform) @MaeZipfel or preferably on Venmo @mkzipfel.
Mikaylah Du, Illustration Editor
Mikaylah Du is a first-year studying Media, Culture, and Communication. She's a fine art nerd and one of the few people that actually likes writing essays. Follow her art account on Instagram @mikaylahdoodles to see her post once in a blue moon.

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