PURPOSE OF THIS POLICY
The purpose of this policy is to state and affirm Colorado State University’s commitment to creating and sustaining a welcoming, accessible, and inclusive campus. An inclusive physical and virtual design enhances usability for everyone and helps create a campus environment in which we support, protect and respect rich dimensions of diversity.
Through a broad and inclusive definition of diversity, we recognize that historical exclusion and marginalization necessitate active measures to promote equity. Barriers exist that can prevent individuals from fully accessing and enjoying the benefits of our facilities, educational opportunities, and information in the same way that other individuals do. This policy guides our campus design to reflect our commitment to excellence and inclusion.
APPLICATION OF THIS POLICY
This policy applies to Colorado State University facilities, including new construction, existing and renovated facilities, as well as university methods for communication and information. All University academic, administrative, and business units must abide by this policy.
EXEMPTIONS FROM THIS POLICY
Exemptions for virtual design include archived content, legacy web pages, and any other content that is an exception as set forth in CSU’s Accessibility of Electronic Information and Technologies policy (EIT policy). In addition, the EIT policy governs accessibility requirements for CSU electronic information and technologies, and for any conflict between this policy and the EIT policy, the provisions of the EIT policy take priority.
DEFINITIONS USED IN THIS POLICY
Accessible refers to making physical and virtual or electronic environments equitably available to all. It means information, communication, and facilities are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, so they can access the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as individuals without disabilities.
Diversity includes the broad, intersecting, and inclusive characteristics that make one individual or group different from another, including, but not limited to: age, culture, different ideas and perspectives, disability, ethnicity, first generation status, familial status, gender identity and expression, geographic background, marital status, national origin, race, religious and spiritual beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and veteran status.
Inclusion means working, learning, research, and service environments that are mindful of every member reaching their full potential. Inclusion intentionally values all voices and contributors, while mitigating intentional and unintentional incidents of bias.
Inclusive Features are physical and virtual elements that enhance usability and the well-being of individuals. Some examples of inclusive features are: lactation rooms, reflection spaces, all gender restrooms, break rooms, wheelchair access, curb cuts, commuter showers, wayfinding, and accessible electronic information and communication.
Universal Design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. Universal Design includes both physical and virtual design and requires flexibility and ongoing revision. By considering the diverse needs and abilities of all throughout the design process, universal design creates products, services and environments that strive to meet all peoples' needs.
The University’s commitment to an inclusive campus contributes to the well-being and success of our students, staff, faculty, and visitors. CSU actively fosters the inclusive environment by removing barriers, proactively planning, and anticipating inclusivity needs. Equitable access to University resources and facilities supports teaching, learning, living, commuting, working, visiting, and engaging in discovery. The University commits to the continual enhancement and systematic review of our virtual and built environments through the creation and implementation of inclusive design standards and best practices.
CSU anticipates the needs of all users and builds inclusion into the design process through the incorporation of universal design principles and inclusivity best practices. Inclusive standards will be created, maintained, and incorporated into all CSU building and signage standards and electronic communication and information and be upheld by all CSU divisions and units to provide campus-wide consistency. These standards meet the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) requirements but may be different or exceed them in some respects. Virtual design standards are outlined in the CSU Policy: Accessibility of Electronic Information and Technology. The Inclusive Physical and Virtual Campus policy does not amend or supersede the Accessible EIT policy but considers electronic information and communication from a universal and inclusive design lens.
Applicability to Leased Space
The Inclusive Physical and Virtual Campus Committee (IPVCC) will work with the Colorado State University Research Foundation (CSURF) to ensure all parties to a lease give ample consideration to accessibility and inclusivity of their spaces. All campus units will comply with this policy in the leasing process.
Evaluation of the inclusiveness of leased spaces shall occur when beginning or renewing leases. Factors to be considered include, but are not limited to: intended occupancy, intended use of the leased space, square footage, lease term, proximity to other CSU buildings, and availability of other suitable properties.
Responsibilities of the University Campus Climate Committee (UCCC)
The Office for Inclusive Excellence (OIE) leads the University’s efforts towards inclusion and diversity and is responsible for appointing members to the IPVCC.
Responsibilities of the Inclusive Physical and Virtual Campus Committee (IPVCC)
The IPVCC is a subcommittee of Office of Inclusive Excellence. The IPVCC receives direction and guidance from the Office of Inclusive Excellence on prioritization of inclusivity efforts. The IPVCC is an operational organization that creates progress towards campus climate strategic goals.
The IPVCC includes representatives from the Office for Inclusive Excellence, Facilities Management, Student Disability Center, Assistive Technology Resource Center, Student Diversity Programs and Services, Parking and Transportation Services, Housing & Dining Services, University Marketing and Communications, student leadership, and others as needed.
The IPVCC is charged with creating and maintaining inclusive design standards and guidelines with Facilities Management by evaluating a potential project for prioritization and approval to fundraise to ensure inclusive amenities have been budgeted for and included. The committee reviews new construction and renovation projects’ compliance with these inclusivity standards. The committee is charged with ensuring that an annual or periodic audit is conducted of existing buildings for compliance and to identify high-priority needs. The committee also considers instances of hardship and requests for waivers.
The IPVCC is charged with advocating for universal and inclusive design approaches with all university electronic communication and information.
Responsibilities of Facilities Management
Facilities Management is responsible for ensuring architects, engineers, designers, and contractors adhere to CSU’s Facilities Planning, Design and Construction Standards. Project prioritization, conceptual design, fundraising, construction and post-construction evaluation will integrate inclusive elements as consistent with the Facilities Planning, Design and Construction Standards. Facilities Management is also responsible for assisting campus units in identifying suitable locations for inclusive features as defined above.
Waivers to CSU’s building construction standards will be reviewed by the Associate Vice President of Facilities Management or designee. Disputes regarding a waiver that cannot be resolved will be referred to the Vice President for University Operations, whose decision will be final.
All new construction and major remodels will include budgeted investments associated with inclusive features, for both the virtual and the built environment. Renovations and additions should also incorporate inclusive features, the costs of which will be included in the project budget.
In some circumstances, campus units may choose to incorporate inclusive features within their areas apart from proposed new construction or remodel projects. In these cases, each unit will need to identify funds or submit a budget request. Retrofitting existing facilities promotes consistency in design and equitable access to University resources.
Any new standards for inclusive features that have a substantive financial impact must be approved by the Operations Committee of the Cabinet.
Regarding virtual inclusivity and accessibility, as per CSU’s Accessibility of Electronic Information Technology, “Those responsible for the creation of information that is shared through EIT will be responsible for making its content Accessible with guidance from the Web Accessibility Subcommittee and the Assistive Technology Resource Center.”
The Office for Inclusive Excellence (OIE), Division of University Marketing and Communications (MarComm), President’s Sustainability Commission, Facilities Management, and other departments and offices, as necessary, will collaborate to disseminate information promoting awareness and utilization of inclusivity features.
The OIE has created and will continue to maintain the Inclusive Physical and Virtual Campus webpage, which contents detail how to access inclusive features and related sources. Training or information, as needed, will be provided to departments, faculty, staff and students to further enable the utilization of inclusive features.
COMPLIANCE WITH THIS POLICY
The IPVCC and Facilities Management will address issues that arise from the application of this policy and provide compliance assistance. A form is available on the Inclusive Physical & Virtual Campus website for individuals to report campus inclusivity issues. The IPVCC will refer issues concerning accessibility of electronic information and technologies to the Web Accessibility Subcommittee for assistance with compliance.
FORMS AND TOOLS
Accessibility of Electronic Information Technology Standards
Approved by Anthony A. Frank, CSU President, June 15, 2017
Revision approved by Brendan Hanlon, Vice President for University Operations, on January 17, 2023.