Additional Resources for Students, Faculty, and Staff
Understanding the ADA - Blog of William D. Goren, J.D. LL.M.
ADA.gov - U.S Department of Justice Official ADA Site
AHEAD in Virginia Disability Student Scholarship – Scholarship information from the Association on Higher Education and Disability
NFB Scholarship – Scholarship Program for the National Federation of the Blind
General VCU Campus Accessibility Resources
If you would like accessibility-related resources for VCU students, faculty, staff and visitors, please go to the VCU Accessibility Resources page and find out more. For specific needs, please see the options below.
All subscribers parking in handicapped accessible spaces in controlled lots/decks must display BOTH a valid university parking permit for their assigned lot or deck and a disabled person placard or license plate, issued by the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or equivalent office for the state in which the car is registered, indicating that the driver is permitted to park in an accessible space for persons with disabilities. Contact VCU Parking and Transportation at 804-828-7275. View Parking and Transportation Accessible Parking Maps as well.
Building and Property Issues
Accessibility related issues such as inoperable handicap doors, blocked curb cuts, elevator malfunctions, etc. should be reported immediately to Facilities Management at 804-828-9444.
In the event that any individual on the Monroe Park or MCV campuses needs to be evacuated from a building due to an emergency, please call the VCU Campus Police at 804-828-1234 (8-1234 from a campus phone) and request the EVAC Chair for assistance.
- Don't be afraid to make a mistake when meeting and communicating with someone with a disability.
- Keep in mind that a person who has a disability is a person and is entitled to the same dignity, consideration, respect and rights you expect for yourself.
- When introduced to someone with a disability, it is OK to offer to shake hands.
- Use a normal tone of voice unless requested to speak louder.
- Look and speak directly to the person with a disability even if an interpreter or companion is present.
- When addressing a person in a wheelchair, try to situate yourself at eye level.
- Offer assistance in a dignified manner with sensitivity and respect. If the person declines your assistance, do not insist. If you do not know what to do, ask how you can help and follow the individual’s directions.
- Treat adults in a manner befitting adults.
Federal laws, such as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, mandate university responsibilities to individuals with disabilities. Both address the civil rights of persons with disabilities.
The Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center may not discriminate in the recruitment, admission, educational process or treatment of students with disabilities. Students who have voluntarily disclosed that they have a disability, provided documentation of that disability and requested reasonable accommodations are eligible to receive approved modifications of programs, appropriate academic accommodations or auxiliary aids that enable them to participate in and benefit from all the educational programs and activities at the VCU Medical Center.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States … shall, solely by reason of … disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
Definition of a qualified person with a disability
- Someone who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the education program or activity.
Definition of a person with a disability
- Any person who (1) has a physical or mental impairment, which substantially limits one or more major life activities, (2) has a record of such an impairment or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. A non-exhaustive list of qualified impairments is: AIDS; Attention deficit disorder; Bipolar disorder; Cancer; Cerebral palsy; Chronic fatigue syndrome; Depression; Diabetes; Epilepsy; Hearing loss/deafness; Learning disabilities; Multiple sclerosis; Muscular dystrophy; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Traumatic brain injury; Ulcerative colitis; and Visual impairments/blindness.
Our personal experiences, education and media exposure all shape our beliefs and attitudes about disability. Our awareness of these perceptions and how they influence our actions is key to defusing myths about disability.
- People with disabilities cannot be successful.
- Students with learning disabilities are unmotivated.
- Anyone who uses a wheelchair is chronically ill or sick.
- People with disabilities are more comfortable with their “own kind.”
- Individuals with speech impairments also have cognitive deficits.
- People with disabilities are always in need of “special” help.
Guidelines for talking about disabilities
- Refer to a person’s disability only if it is relevant.
- Do not portray people with disabilities as overly courageous, brave or special.
- Use “People First” language. Place the person before the disability — doing so promotes equality. Here are some examples of “People First” language:
- Person who is handicapped/ an invalid VS Person with a disability
- Individual who is a victim/afflicted with cerebral palsy VS Individual who has cerebral palsy
- She is restricted/confined to a wheelchair or is wheelchair-bound VS She uses a wheelchair
- He is a deaf mute/deaf and dumb VS He is deaf/does not voice for himself/nonvocal
- She has a birth defect VS She has been disabled since birth
- He is crazy/insane/a mental patient VS He has a psychiatric disability/ emotional disorder/mental illness
- My aunt has fits VS My aunt has epilepsy/seizures
- The student is slow/retarded/lazy/ stupid/an underachiever VS He is a student with a learning disability/attention deficit disorder
- A normal or healthy person VS A person without a disability
- Steve is crippled and lame VS Steve has a mobility impairment
- Tonya is a quadriplegic VS Tonya has quadriplegia
- Handicapped parking VS Accessible parking