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Events, Meetings & Programs Accessibility Guidelines

Events provide significant experiences and opportunities to share in the traditions and history of William & Mary. Proactive planning for access and inclusion ensures a well-planned accessible event and minimizes the need for individuals with disabilities to request accommodations to participate in the event. This page serves as a resource for departments and organizations hosting or sponsoring programs and meetings on campus to ensure their event provides equitable access and participation for all participants. This is are not an exhaustive list, and some information and examples may not apply to your specific meeting, event or program.  The ADA Coordinator can be reached at [[compequity]] should you have questions or need assistance.  

Registered Events

When planning events that require registration or an RSVP, ask guests if they need an accommodation or have dietary restrictions. This is helpful for both in-person and virtual events. Some suggested language you can include with your event information:

If you need an accommodation related to a disability, please contact [event contact person's phone number and email address] no later than [specific date, typically 7-10 days prior to the event date]. Accommodation requests received after [above date] will be provided to the extent possible.

If you are unsure whether or not you can provide a specific accommodation request, you can discuss potential alternatives with the guest or contact the ADA Coordinator, Carla Costello, at [[compequity]] for assistance.

If you receive a request from a faculty or staff member, please direct them to Jennifer Cook in the Office of Human Resources at [[jbcook]] for assistance.  

If you receive a request from a student, please direct them to Student Accessibility services at [[sas]] for assistance.  

Zoom/Virtual Events
  • PowerPoint or other presentation slides should be 36 point font with a maximum of 6 lines of text per slide.
  • Basic contrast colors should be used (e.g. black font on a white background).
  • Zoom Video Conferencing, provides accessibility features including captioning.
  • Activate captions on any video used in a presentation. 
  • If someone requests CART/Live Captioning, this must be provided to ensure effective communication.  AI Media provides real time captioning and is frequently used on campus in classrooms and other settings.  Our Web Accessibility page provides more information about captioning.

It is always a good idea to look at the space you are reserving. When planning for accessibility consider the following:

  • Line of sight. Ensure that screen(s)/stage is visible from all seating areas.
  • Reserve some seats in the front row for those who may have vision or hearing impairments.
  • Reserve seating for those with limited mobility.
  • When feasible, remove a couple of chairs on the end of every other row to allow wheelchair/scooter access. This approach allows persons using wheelchairs or scooters to sit in various locations.
  • For fixed seating areas, ensure there is wheelchair/scooter space available (ground level if in an auditorium or stadium) and provide a companion seat.
  • Keep pathways free from barriers.
  • Inform attendees of the location of accessible restrooms near the event space.
Speakers and Visual Presentation/Presentation Materials

When there is a guest speaker or a presentation, consider the following:

  • Use handheld microphones to pass to audience members or others who may speak or ask questions during a presentation. This allows everyone to hear the conversation.
  • Provide reasonable accommodations as requested including auxiliary aids to ensure effective communication.
  • Asking the presenter to provide written copies of any presentation materials (PowerPoint, for example). Copies can be provided at the event, or if possible, provided in advance.
  • For meetings, provide a copy of the presentation materials ahead of time, where possible.
  • Printed copies of materials should be in 16-18 point font and double spaced.
  • If there are handouts, make sure they are printed in 16-18 point font and double spaced.
  • PowerPoint or other presentation slides should be 36 point font with a maximum of 6 lines of text per slide.
  • Basic contrast colors should be used (e.g. black font on a white background).
  • If there are concerns about information being distributed outside the presentation or meeting, a notation can be added to any document stating Not For Distribution. You can always ask attendees to return any presentation materials at the end of the event or meeting.
  • Zoom Video Conferencing, provides accessibility features.
  • Activate captions on any video used in a presentation.
Other Requests

Requests for Sign Language Interpreter, Assistive Listening Devices, alternative formats for materials, or other technology assistance must be provided when requested.  Contact ADA Coordinator Carla Costello at [[compequity]] with questions or assistance.

Report A Barrier

William & Mary is committed to equal access for, and the civil rights of, people with disabilities. We strive to prevent and remove barriers to access. If you encounter a physical, electronic programmatic or other barrier to access at William & Mary please help us identify the problem so that we can work to remove the barrier as quickly as possible.