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UAB Enters Into Agreement with Justice Department to Improve ADA Compliance

February 11, 2016
Source: Shoals Insider

BIRMINGHAM — U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance today announced a comprehensive settlement agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act with the University of Alabama at Birmingham to ensure equal access for individuals with disabilities to university academic and general facilities. The agreement also established an innovative process for ADA complaints to be investigated or reviewed.

The agreement resolves a complaint filed by a UAB student who alleged that various buildings and parking lots on campus were inaccessible to individuals with mobility impairments, in violation of the ADA.

UAB worked jointly with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney Office to address the complaint. Through the collaboration, the parties developed a pilot program designed to address alleged violations of the ADA at institutions of higher learning. As part of the pilot, UAB agreed to conduct architectural reviews of several academic and general facilities. The Justice Department provided support and trained UAB personnel to properly survey university property for ADA compliance. Once UAB completes its architectural surveys, it will submit reports to the Justice Department for review.

“UAB should be commended for its quick response to the complaint of potential ADA violations and its willingness to work collaboratively with my office and DOJ to promptly address the problem and protect the rights of people with disabilities,” Vance said. “We welcome the use of this collaborative model, which avoids litigation costs and encourages efficient remedies for the people in our community.”

Title II of the ADA requires that public entities ensure that no qualified individual with a disability be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of services, programs or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination on the basis of that disability. In addition, Title II of the ADA requires, among other things, that no qualified individual with a disability shall, because public entity facilities are inaccessible to or unusable by individuals with disabilities, be excluded from participation in, or be denied the benefits of the services, programs or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any public entity.

As a public entity, UAB is required to ensure that its facilities are readily accessible to individuals with disabilities. Public entities must also construct or alter any buildings or facilities in such a manner that those structures meet the requirements of Title II of the ADA.

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