FEDERAL MANDATES ON ACCESS
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that no otherwise qualified person with a disability be denied access to, or the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination by any program or activity provided by any institution receiving federal financial assistance. In addition, the Office of Civil Rights requires that institutions have a written plan in place that notifies interested persons concerning the policy and practice of relocating meetings, programs, and activities to accessible locations.
THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII COMMUNITY COLLEGE POLICY
The Policy and Procedural Guidelines for Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability for Students Attending the University of Hawaii Community College System states:
All programs and facilities must be made available to disabled individuals in the most integrated setting appropriate, if structural barriers are present, the following accommodations can be provided:
THE GOAL OF THE TEMPORARY ACCESS PLAN
Honolulu Community College is committed to providing equal opportunity to persons with disabilities by ensuring safe access to its classes and programs. The Temporary Access Plan is a part of HCC's ongoing efforts to adhere to federal laws and Office of Civil Rights (OCR) guidelines for disability access in post-secondary institutions. Specifically, the plan lists the procedures for relocating classrooms rendered inaccessible due to a breakdown of the freight elevator in Building 7. This temporary plan will be implemented until an evaluation and an effective long-range plan to correct access problems in Building 7 can be put into place.
THE CURRENT SITUATION
The upper levels of Building 7 are accessed through three public elevators in an exterior tower on the south side of the building. Rather than going to every floor, these elevators stop at floors 3 ½ and 5 ½. Upon exiting the elevator, a person must enter the fire exit, walk up or down a half flight of stairs, and open a door to enter the desired floor.
Floor to floor elevator access is available only through a freight elevator with ground floor access in the Library. A key is required to use this freight elevator. Faculty, staff, and students who provide the college with written documentation validating an appropriate disability are issued an elevator key. Visitors needing disability access must ask a faculty or staff member with a key to call the elevator for them.
When the Library is closed, disability access to the building must be coordinated with Campus Security and the evening staff in the Apprenticeship Program to unlock the Library doors and escort the person needing disability access as he or she enters or exits the building.
Although the freight elevator is well maintained, it is old and has been subject to breakdowns every semester. It is difficult to predict when and for how long elevator service may be disrupted. In the past few years, the longest disruption lasted 4 days. Whenever a disruption in service has occurred, every effort has been made to relocate classes for which a student with a mobility impairment needs access. There have been times when students with disabilities have been unable to access their classes due to a breakdown of the elevator. At other times, students have been stranded on the upper floors and unable to exit the building safely. Wheelchair users have been carried up or down a half flight of stairs in order to access the public elevators and exit the building. In one case, a student who uses a cane sustained injuries when he fell while trying to use the stairs to get to and from his classes in Building 7 when the freight elevator was inoperational.
STEPS TO IMPROVING ACCESS
Each semester, Student ACCESS will compile a listing of students who have identified themselves as being unable to access classes/areas and those unable to exit or evacuate Building 7 safely when the freight elevator is out of service. This Building Evacuation list will incorporate all affected students class schedules and will be organized by day and time of when classes meet. Ongoing evening and weekend classes will be automatically relocated out of Building 7 due to lack of staffing available to facilitate move. Instructors for weekday classes (7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) will be notified when an identified student with a mobility problem enrolls in one of their classes held in Building 7. Unlike what other Colleges do in automatically reassigning classes to an accessible building, at this time, HCC will provide instructors of weekday (7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) classes the opportunity to select one of two options*:
If option 2 is selected, an attempt will be made to relocate classes whenever the elevator will be out of service for more than a reasonable amount of time. The responsibility for securing a new accessible classroom location (not in Building 7 and preferably on the ground level for safety reasons) rests with the Division and should be worked out internally within the Division cache of rooms. The Division is responsible for informing instructors, students, the Studnet ACCESS, and other appropriate parties of the new room changes.
* - Note: This is a temporary procedure for weekday classes. A more permanent policy will require automatic reassignment of classes to accessible locations.
CLASS RELOCATION DURING WEEKDAYS, EVENINGS, AND WEEKENDS
Upon breakdown of freight elevator in Building 7 the following steps will be followed:
Security (Mobile Assistance)
Student ACCESS, Wayne Sunahara, Disability Service Provider (Liaison between College and Student)
Student ACCESS, Heidi Green, Educational Specialist (Liaison between College and Student)
Instructors with classes held in Building 7
Available Staff (clerks, secretaries, student workers from various areas)
Evenings & Weekends
All ongoing evening and weekend classes (credit/non-credit) in Building 7 with an identified person with a mobility problem must be relocated. The responsibility for securing a new accessible classroom location (not in Building 7 and preferably on the ground level for safety reasons) rests with the Division.
Once the student registers for classes, the Division responsible for the class will be notified. The Division will internally make adjustments and inform the Student ACCESS of the new accessible classroom location. If after considering all viable options the Division is unable to designate a new accessible classroom location, then the Dean of Academic Affairs must be notified promptly to determine further options. If the Division does not respond appropriately, then the student may lodge an Office of Civil Rights complaint against the Division. The CSC/Student ACCESS staff will handle all College Skills Center (CSC) testing activities internally.
The following procedure is to be used for all other short-term activities such as meetings, workshops, or non-credit courses if the Building 7 freight elevator is breaks down or is out of service.
Library (Disseminate information to arriving freight elevator users)
Security (Facilities Management)
Persons conducting evening and weekend activities in Building 7* (all ongoing evening and weekend classes with identified persons with mobility problems will be automatically relocated)
Available Staff (clerks, secretaries, student workers from various areas), if any
This Temporary Access Plan will be evaluated on a semesterly basis. It may become necessary to institute a contingency plan whereby rooms will be kept on reserve for class relocation purposes.
EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURE
Designate two persons (and alternates) to be responsible for ensuring an expedient and safe evacuation of persons with mobility problems. The Honolulu Fire Department will be responsible for evacuating persons in an emergency. We have been advised that we should not carry any person down the fire escape. The designated helpers should follow these guidelines:
B. Medical emergency:
NON-EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURE
The College is committed in seeking assistance from outside professionals who are trained in safely transporting persons with mobility problems. Handi-cabs of the Pacific has been approached to consider providing assistance to us in non-emergency situations. While we await their response to our formal request, we may call and check whether they would be able to assist us. Decisions on whether they can provide assistance will be made on a case-to-case basis depending on their scheduled appointments, staffing, driver availability, and number of drivers required to provide assistance, etc. These non-emergency procedures should be followed:
Do not carry any person out of anything
Elevator company will be consulted regarding the length of time it will take to repair and return the accessible elevator to full service. If the elevator will not be operational within a reasonable period of time, a call will be made by either Security or the Business Office to obtain approval (see chart below) to contact vendor (Handi-cabs of the Pacific for now) to send personnel trained to provide assistance to move person(s) with mobility problems out of the building.
a. Approval to call vendor will be sought from the appropriate person depending on day and time (see chart):
|APPROVAL FOR NON-EMERGENCY EVACUATION|
|M, T, W, Th
Till 6 pm
(See semester Night Duty Schedule)
|After 6 pm||
b. Interim instructions as of 10/24/01 for non-emergency evacuation of persons with mobility problems using wheelchairs on Mondays through Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.:
Once approval is received from above party, contact Handi-Cabs of the Pacific at 524-3866. This company has trained drivers who transport persons in wheelchairs and stretchers. Depending on their staffing, they may or may not be available to help us.
Inform them of need to have person with mobility problem moved out of building:
"I am calling from Honolulu Community College. We need assistance to get a person in a wheelchair out of he building. HCC and Handi-Cabs has an informal agreement that if scheduling permits, Handi-Cabs will send drivers to the campus to help carry the person down to a floor with an operable elevator or down to the ground floor if all elevators are inoperable. Additional information is as follows:
Approximate weight of the person:_____
Wheelchair user is in a ___regular or ___ electric wheelchair."
If Handi-Cabs of the Pacific is able to assist, give directions:
"Enter driveway off Kokea Street.
Someone will meet you in the parking lot and will direct you to the building and floor that assistance is needed.
We are in Building ___ Floor #___ Room #_____."
Have at least one-person stay with the person needing assistance until help arrives.
Send someone to meet vendor and escort up to floor.
Invoice should be sent to HCC Administrative Services.