Accessible Event and Meeting Planning

Inclusion is one of the core values of Oakland Community College.  For persons with disabilities, inclusion means designing an event that is accessible so that they can fully participate fully. One important aspect of being a caring community is thinking about how a person’s disability will affect his or her attendance and enjoyment of a program, training or event, and planning ahead so that individuals will feel welcomed and valued.

The purpose of this guide is to provide information for planning events and meetings that will foster full participation for everyone. A well-planned event ensures the participation of all.

Who is Responsible for Making Events and Meetings Reasonably Accessible?

Event and meeting planners are responsible for planning and providing for the accessibility needs of participants. 

Who is Responsible for Expenses Associated with Providing Access?

The costs associated with access are considered part of the overall expense of the event. Event and meeting planners should include the expense of any anticipated accommodations as a budget item in the event planning.  Event and meeting planners who think the cost of the accommodations cannot be supported by the event should discuss alternative funding sources with their supervisor.  Before denying any accommodation requests, event planners should consult the, Human Resource Benefits and Compensation Manager, Julie Hoyt at or 248-341-2029.

Do You Need a Sign Language Interpreter for Your Event or Meeting?

Event and meeting planners should contact:

  • Human Resource Benefits and Compensation Manager, Julie Hoyt  or 248.341.2029regarding events and meetings hosted outside of the classroom
  • Academic Affair Administrative Specialist II, Marquel Howell or 248.522.3911 regarding events and meeting that occur within the classroom

Are You a Student Who Needs an Accommodation?

All students who require reasonable accommodations should contact an ACCESS office or

Accessible Meeting & Event Checklist

Taking care to create an accessible event benefits not only individuals with visible or known disabilities, allows all participants/attendees, including individuals with non-obvious disabilities and/or chronic health conditions, and people of all ages and body types, to fully engage in the meeting or event.

1. Invitations

When you send out the invitation, include a welcome message to let attendees know they can contact the planner regarding accommodations.  For example:

“We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals to engage fully. To request a reasonable accommodation or for inquiries about accessibility, please contact (name, email, phone).”

Other approaches may include 

    • A checklist in your meeting RSVP. For example: I will need the following accommodations in order to participate:

☐  Assistive listening device

☐   ASL Interpreter

☐  Captioning

☐  Reserved front row seat

☐  Large print

☐  Advance copy of slides to be projected

☐  Wheelchair access

☐  Diet Restrictions. List:  ____________________________

☐  Other:  ____________________________________________

    • For disability accommodations (e.g., sign language interpreters, alternative formats) please contact [event or meeting planner’s name, email, phone] as soon as possible.
    • Oakland Community College is committed to providing access to all of our events whenever possible. Please contact [event or meeting planner’s name, email, phone] to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.
    • Sample Registration Statements:

If you have a disability and may require accommodations in order to fully participate, please indicate here___________.

How would you like to be contacted to discuss your needs? ____________________.

I will need the following accommodations in order to participate:
__ ASL Interpreter
__ Large print
__ Wheelchair access
__ Assistive Listening Device
__ An Assistant will accompany me
__ Closed captioned videos
__ Other (Please explain)

Pre-registration for an event provides an opportunity for event planners to provide important details about the event. A comprehensive description of the event, including location, environmental conditions, services available, etc. will help participants determine what types of accommodations may be needed. Information that is helpful to know includes the distance to parking areas, the availability of transportation services, if assistive listening devices are available, scooter or wheelchair availability, and the availability of food options for persons with food allergies.

If an event includes overnight lodging, the event planner should investigate the accessibility features of the lodging.

Make sure you follow up on all requests received. If it appears you will be unable to meet a specific request, follow up with the individual who made the request to determine whether an alternative arrangement can be made.

2. Location

☐   Visibility: Consider those with impaired sight |Clear signage (identifying location and directions); well-lit meeting space and adjacent areas; projection screen visible from all seating (if using projection).

☐  Acoustics: Consider the needs of deaf and hard of hearing individuals | Roving/handheld microphone; limit unnecessary background music; seating available near presenter for lip reading; availability of assistive listening devices. Is there well-lit space for an interpreter if needed?

☐  Sensory/Neuroinclusivity| Print your agenda or schedule in advance; make sure the purpose of the meeting is clear; create written instructions if possible; identify any sessions that might change; create sensory retreat spaces; Invite people to take breaks as needed; ask about seating preferences or offer early seating; offer hybrid options whenever possible; provide session recordings and transcripts.

☐  Mobility:Consider those who may be in a wheelchair or have other mobility impairments | Accessible parking; proximity to bus stop; ramp and/or elevator access; accessible bathrooms; barrier-free pathways; wide doorways and aisles to accommodate wheelchairs/scooters; no loose cables across walking areas.

☐  Technology: Consider those who may need to use adaptive devices |Electrical outlets in accessible seating areas to accommodate devices, laptops, etc.; extra space or work surface

☐  Zoom – Zoom provides accessibility options, please visit the website for assistance in making this option more accessible.

☐  Service Animals: Provide Access and Space when needed | Comfortable space for service animals to rest during event; accessible toileting and watering facilities nearby.

3. The Event

Ensure that presenters are aware of OCC’s commitment to inclusive events, and ask them to prepare and deliver their presentations with accessibility in mind.

☐  Designate | Designate someone to be responsible for accommodations as well as help with seating, ensuring captioning and other technology is working, maintaining clear pathways, or other needs.

☐  Presentations | Provide presenters with a checklist requesting that they: submit materials in advance so that they can be forwarded to individuals who may not be able to view screens or flip charts; verbally describe visual materials (e.g., slides, charts, etc.); have printed copies available (in larger font); avoid using small print on presentations that can’t be seen from a distance; ensure speakers (including those asking questions) always use a microphone; and activate captions on any video used in the presentation.

☐  Q&A | Make sure to repeat questions posted by audience before responding, especially if there is not a roving microphone available. Presenters or audience members may express confidence that they are loud enough and do not need a microphone. Regardless, ask them to speak into one.

☐   Food | Clearly indicate allergens and gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, or other options.