Summer Quarter Newsletter

2019 v.2
Blue sky and white clouds
Thank you for signing up for the Office for Access and Equity listserv. Each quarter we hope to bring you engaging content regarding the work, vision, and commitment to access and equity at the University. 

The Office for Access and Equity (OAE) supports the full participation of all members of the University community while maintaining a commitment to fair process, compassion and creativity. On a day to day basis, OAE receives reports and investigates complaints made under the University's Policy on Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct, removes barriers to participation, offers training and resources and connects with the campus community.

Like to learn more? Visit our website or contact us by email at, phone 773.834.OEOP (6367), or in person during our office hours
In this Issue:
Learn. Cultural Accessibility for Visitors with Disabilities, AHEAD's annual conference, and additional resources. 
Share. A Conversation with Facilities Services's Glenn Okazaki and Maya Gharpure; Report a Campus Access Barrier.
Connect. Access UChicago Now; What Does Disability Inclusion Mean to You? A Video Project; Office Hours.

Intro to Cultural Accessibility for Visitors with Disabilities

The Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium recently hosted a forum at the Court Theater to share information about accessible cultural events. Members of the campus community attended this forum along with staff from various theaters, museums and other cultural spaces in the Chicagoland area. The CCAC promoted organizations taking an incremental approach to improving accessibility for cultural events. They also provided information on how to implement common accommodations, such as assistive listening devices, audio descriptions, American Sign Language interpretation, as well as how to create sensory-friendly events. 

Matthew Sitz, Director of Audience Services at the Court Theater, said of Court's relationship with CCAC: "Working with CCAC has allowed Court to learn how to implement more accessible programming at our theater while we work to develop our own best practices. The guidance and equipment provided by CCAC has been invaluable to us." 

Learn more by visiting CCAC's access calendar, which provides information on Chicago area organizations hosting accessible cultural events across the City. 

You’re Invited!

Attend a live streaming of the annual conference of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (“AHEAD”) on July 11 and 12, 2019 on campus, hosted by the Office for Access and Equity and Student Disability Services.
For more information, including information on the conference schedule, visit
OAE’s website.

RSVP here

Additional Resources

To request a training or workshop, contact OAE by email at or by phone at 773.834.OEOP (6367). 

A conversation with Facilities Services’s
Glenn Okazaki and Maya Gharpure on

Accessible Space and Design

Glenn Okazaki and Maya Gharpure are no strangers to the challenges posed by working on a historic campus. However, both are committed to creating and improving campus spaces that are inclusive for all members of the campus community.
Glenn and Maya, who are both architects, work in the Campus Planning + Sustainability unit of Facilities Services and their work includes providing consultation and advancing improvements to physical accessibility of campus spaces. Glenn first became involved in physical accessibility work on campus around 1990, after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2007, Glenn’s work in accessibility became formalized in the role of Accessibility Specialist. Around campus, Glenn is known for being a trusted and thoughtful resource on applying accessibility standards to create an inclusive and accessible user experience. Maya, who joined the University in 2011, is Associate Director of Planning, and in this work, aspires to provide the campus community with infrastructure that is equitable and inclusive. Both Glenn and Maya serve on the Accessibility Design Review Committee, which is responsible for reviewing renovations or new construction projects in light of accessibility standards, and includes representatives from the Office of the Provost, Facilities Services, Student Disability Services/ Campus and Student Life, and the Office of Legal Counsel. In addition, Glenn sits on the Accessibility Working Group, which identifies and funds improvements to physical accessibility on campus with representation similar to the ADRC. Both working groups are crucial in advancing a campus infrastructure and environment inclusive of difference.
Glenn observed that the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion led the University to consider accessibility for people with disabilities in its facilities-related work even before ADA became law. This work has evolved too. Around 2013, Facilities Services, with the guidance of Glenn, drafted
Accessibility Plus Guidelines, establishing standards of accessibility for the University to employ, where feasible, that exceed current code requirements. The Accessibility Plus guidelines prioritize inclusion by seeking to anticipate and plan for evolving needs of people of different abilities, particularly in situations where compliance with code in the design does not necessarily mean that everyone can attain access. Further, Glenn noted, the University continues to incorporate universal design to the maximum extent feasible. Universal design is an approach that seeks to create a design that is usable by all people to the greatest extent possible without adaptation. In sum, as Maya observed, access” is a “key component” of design.
What are some examples of campus projects that they are most proud of? The Keller Center, Glenn responded, because it incorporates Accessibility Plus design standards. Likewise, Maya noted that improvements to Saieh Hall and the Social Sciences Research Building have created more inclusive spaces on campus.
Through their work, Glenn and Maya give creative and thoughtful attention to make campus spaces inclusive of difference, advancing the University’s core commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Like to learn more?

  • UChicago Maps. Information on building accessibility, accessible routes, and parking (click on “accessible routes” box for the routes to be made visible).
  • Accessibility Plus. Facilities Services accessibility guidelines.  
  • For hosting inclusive events. The Keller Center’s Sky Suite, which opens for rent by the campus community in Autumn Quarter 2019, incorporates accessibility plus design standards and has a great view of campus! Contact Jodi Daily, Director for Events, by email at for more information.  

Have you noticed an access barrier on campus? 

Please report any physical, technological or other barriers  online. You can also email Facilities services at or call 773.834.1414 for urgent requests.
Access UChicago Now
OAEStudent Disability Services, and Employee and Labor Relations serve members of the University community with disabilities and partner with students, faculty and staff to support an inclusive and welcoming learning and work environment. OAE, SDS, and ELR in partnership with the D+I Studio created a new initiative, Access UChicago Now, to increase awareness about campus accessibility and to solicit feedback from members of our community about their experiences and perspectives related to access and inclusion of people with disabilities at the University.

Access UChicago Now launched spring quarter 2019 and will host individual and small group conversations with interested participants through summer quarter 2019. If you are interested in participating in these initial conversations, please email or call 773.843.4967. 

To learn more visit OAE's website.

What does disability inclusion mean to you?

Through the support of an inclusive climate grant, SDS, in collaboration with OAE, invites members of the campus community with disabilities to participate in a video project to discuss what inclusion means to them as a person with a disability. The purpose of the video is to broaden the conversation about diversity on campus and educate about ways to be inclusive of disability in our work.

The short video vignettes may cover the following:
  • What does disability inclusion mean or look like to you?
  • In your experience and opinion, what UChicago program, initiative, practice, etc. has advanced disability inclusion?
  • In the context of your disability, share a time/experience at UChicago when you felt particularly included or supported. You do not have to disclose your specific disability(ies).
  • What do you want others to know or wish others knew about you and living with your disability?
  • What can members of the UChicago community do to be a disability ally?
The videos will be used in workshops and for training purposes, with the intention that the video will be shared broadly with the campus community.

To participate or learn more, please contact Kappy Fahey, Deputy Director of Student Disability Services, or 773-702-6000.
Visit Us
OAE will have weekly office hours during summer quarter on Tuesdays between 11:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m. 

During this time, a member of the OAE team will be available to discuss any concerns you might have regarding reasonable accommodations, accessibility initiatives, discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct.

OAE is located with other offices in Equal Opportunity Programs at
5525 S. Ellis Ave., Suite A 
(in the campus north parking structure across from Ratner)
Contact Us
Liz Honig
Director, OAE/ Deputy Title IX Coordinator

Jackie Hennard
Associate Director, OAE/ Lead Investigator
Copyright © 2019 University of Chicago Office for Access and Equity, All rights reserved.

Contact us
773.834.OEOP (6367)

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