One of the hopes that Clemson has for its faculty, students, and staff is that they will strive to create a better Clemson and a better tomorrow. Pursuing and incorporating accessibility is an excellent way to start achieving this goal. As such, Clemson's Accessibility Commission has developed this collection of accessibility resources provided by Clemson and learning materials on how to incorporate accessibility in your print and digital creations.
To define accessibility, it is probably best to start with what it is not. Accessibility is not accommodations. Accommodations are tools and practices provided in the last minute to overcome barriers while accessibility is the removal of barriers before a product, service, or communication is made available. Accessibility is ensuring that people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, cognitive, and linguistic abilities can access, use, understand, (in some cases) contribute to, and benefit from our creations just as easily or almost as easily as the average user can. In some cases, incorporating accessibility into your designs can even eliminate the need for accommodations which can help some users avoid delayed access, stigmatized attention, attention and discrimination.
As much as 20% of the population (1 in 5 people) have a disability. In 2016, that would equate to approximately 4,500 Clemson students and 1,000 Clemson employees. These numbers are only expected to increase as Clemson strives to enroll more students, hire more employees, and support a diverse and inclusive campus community.
If the growing need is not enough of a reason, it is important to realize that at least some of these disabilities will come without warning. Broken bones, emergency surgeries, and life-altering diagnoses can occur in the middle of the semester just as easily as they can occur before classes begin. When disabilities occur suddenly and the learning or work environment is not already accessible, all that is left to do is to request accommodations which can create unnecessary stress for the individual with disabilities as well as the staff of Clemson's various support services.
Finally, Clemson has a legal obligation under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure that its facilities, tools, and resources are accessible. For more information, please visit Clemson’s legal obligations page.