This document was created by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) to provide a helpful resource for planning accessible and inclusive events and meetings on the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor campus. This resource guide compiles existing tools and information specific to campus venues as well as helpful tips about designing accessible and inclusive events. We reached out to a number of campus partners and accessibility advocates to ask for tips, information, resources, and feedback.

Purpose and Background

We recognize that everyone can benefit from varying levels of accommodations to better, and more fully engage in events and meetings on campus and remotely. This document includes resources and information that can benefit everybody, including people with disabilities.

The initial version of this resource guide began during Fall 2019 semester by Jessica Ko, ODEI Graduate Assistant (Masters in Higher Education, 2019). This Resource Guide is a working document; as relevant information and resources are continually updated, please share any additional feedback, changes, and/or suggestions.

In March 2020, much of the U-M campus community began working remotely in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) developed two webpages providing comprehensive information for planning virtual meetings and events:

Video Conferencing and Digital Accessibility at the University of Michigan 
This resource discusses accessibility status and features in the various videoconferencing platforms to which U-M community members have access.

Remote Events Accessibility at the University of Michigan 
This resource was created to provide helpful information for planning accessible and inclusive remote events at the University of Michigan. Additionally, sections 3 (CART), 4 (Event Captioning), and 9 (Offsite and Remote Participation) of the ODEI Accessible and Inclusive Events Resource Guide below may also be useful in planning virtual events.

**Please note: The inclusion of specific vendors and service providers in this resource guide are for informational purposes only and does not represent an endorsement by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It is up to the discretion of the event/meeting organizer to decide which resources best meet the needs of their participants and are in compliance with University vendor contracts.**

Document Structure

We acknowledge that accessibility work and advocacy has been and is being done by various units and groups. Where possible, we include the sources for links and information.

This Resource Guide builds on the Ten Tips for Inclusive Meetings list. We used some of the categories and/or exact explanations, such as “Food & Drinks,” “Off-Site Participation,” and “Personal Assistance.” (See the document for a list of committee members and authors.) In this resource guide, we offer information for 15 topics, additional resources, and a table on some U-M venues’ accessibility.


We firmly believe in the saying, “Nothing about us, without us.” Thank you to everyone who spent their time and energy to provide information and guidance on this Resource Guide. For historical purposes, here are some of the people or committees we consulted with to ensure that this Resource Guide was inclusive of current resources and tools:

  • Jane Berliss-Vincent, Assistive Technology Manager, ITS
  • Jim Pyke, Classroom Services Supervisor & Special Events Scheduling, LSA
  • Sonia Raheja, Disability Program Manager, ODEI
  • Stephanie Rosen, Accessibility Specialist, University Library
  • Todd Austin, Instructional Technologist, Videoconferencing Lead, LSA
  • Mapping Disability Knowledge Community Group
  • Disability Culture at U-M Advisory Board
  • Rackham 580: Cripping Participation Disability Studies Course, Fall 2019

For questions or suggestions, please contact Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) using our online DEI Feedback Form or email [email protected].

Table of Content

  1. Event Scheduling
  2. If there’s an in-person component
    • Selecting an Event Space
    • Transportation, Navigation, and Parking
    • Chart of common event spaces
    • Restrooms
    • Food and Drink
    • Personal Assistance
    • Safety
    • Microphones
  3. If there’s a virtual component
    • Off-site/Remote Participation
  4. Accessible Materials
    • Marketing & Materials
    • Access and Accommodation Statement
    • Accessible and Inclusive Events Checklist
    • American Sign Language (ASL) & Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART) & Event Captioning
    • Additional Resources

1. Event Scheduling


When scheduling events, avoid conflicts with major cultural and religious holidays by consulting the Office of the Provost holidays calendar. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list, so please check with your participants. Events that are held between 10-3 p.m. allow caregivers and people with chronic illnesses more flexibility to attend.

2. If there’s an in-person component

Selecting an Event Space

Lactation and/or Reflection Rooms

Acknowledging the locations of the nearest lactation and/or reflection rooms can build a more inclusive event/meeting environment.


Ensure the availability of accessible, single-stall restrooms, and gender-inclusive restrooms.

Gender-Inclusive Restrooms

A map of gender-inclusive bathrooms across U-M and a list of gender-inclusive bathrooms provided by The Spectrum Center. Please note this list is updated on a rolling basis as folks reach out with new additions or corrections. Unfortunately, due to limited staff capacity, they do not go out on campus to check the restrooms but do add to the list periodically throughout the year. If any questions or concerns, please contact [email protected].

Accessible Restrooms

A list of accessible bathrooms across U-M provided by The Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). This list is not up to date, so if there is information on this list that is incorrect, please contact the SSD Office at [email protected].

General Considerations

When selecting an event venue, it is recommended to consult with building facility, IT, and A/V team to see if space and your event needs are possible before booking the event. If possible, visit/tour the space prior to the event/meeting. Consider the following when deciding on a space:

  • Lighting
  • Location, elevator/stairs access, ramp access, stage access
  • Wheelchair accessible space, automatic door openers
  • Movable chair space and/or chairs without arms to provide more flexible seating arrangements
  • Thin walls can be distracting in terms of sound clarity in the room
  • Avoid spaces with ongoing construction, new carpeting, newly painted walls, and recently used chemicals for smell-sensitivity

Example: Weiser IDEAs advisory board.

Transportation, Navigation and Parking

Provide transportation information that includes exact street addresses, distances and obstacles, directions for walking, car, or public transport, and information on accessible parking and entrances. As well as images of the building and contact information of event organizers.

(Source: RSVP emails for the Disability Culture Panel on July 22, 2019, organized by Ashley Wiseman, Associate Director, Global Scholars Program, and Ashley Bates, Program Manager, Zell Visiting Writers Series.)

Chart of Common Event Spaces

The table below provides information about restrooms, elevator & stair access, lactation and reflection room, parking and ramp access to specific event spaces. The table below includes U-M Central Campus’s commonly used event spaces such as Gallery in Hatcher, Hill Auditorium, Michigan League, Michigan Union, Palmer Commons, Power Center, Rackham, Ross Colloquium Room, and Trotter Multicultural Center. In addition, each location below is hyperlinked to their event planning or accessibility information. Please note that this is NOT a complete list of accommodations or event spaces.

Including these following accommodation information in your event/meeting invitation and/or confirmation email may be helpful for participants:

View Chart of Common Event Spaces 

Food and Drink

Consider the time of the event/meeting. This is not a complete list, so please refer to your accommodation requests.

  • Provide a range of food that includes: vegan/vegetarian, gluten-free, healthy, lactose-free and Kosher/Halal options, and ensure that these options and ingredients are clearly labeled in large print and either individually packaged or offered in a way that avoids cross-contamination.
  • Serve non-alcoholic beverages in a similar style as alcoholic drinks.
  • Provide water and make plastic straws available, especially for hot beverages.
  • Have more options to hold beverages other than glass or ceramic.
  • Avoid common food allergens (especially peanuts) in spaces, and list any possible factory exposure to them on packages.
Kosher/Halal Resources

Check with the attendee as sometimes a vegetarian meal is acceptable:

  • Hillel Cafe provide Kosher sandwiches, wraps, salads, and bagel boxes to U-Go’s at the Michigan Union and League and Bert’s Cafe at the Undergrad Library. For kosher catering, please contact Hillel at 734-769-0500.
  • University of Michigan Museum of Arts (UMMA) uses two Kosher caterers: Chef Cari Kosher Catering, 248-770-6521 and Jewel Kosher Catering, 248-968-1200
  • Chabad of Ann Arbor also provides Kosher/Halal resources.
  • Grocery stores that carry Kosher meats and other products: Busch’s, 2240 S Main St, Ann Arbor, 734-998-2666; Kroger, 3615 Washtenaw, Ann Arbor, 734-677-2370; Trader Joe’s, 2398 East Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor, 734-975-2455.

(Kosher/Halal Source: Barbara Smith, Senior Executive Assistant for Dean Thomas A. Finholt, U-M School of Information. Contact: [email protected])

Personal Assistance

If requested, designate staff who can offer individual assistance (with navigation, food, etc.). Identify them with plain, text printed name tags and encourage them to verbally offer help.


Ensure that there are emergency plans that include locations of exits, a protocol for people with limited mobility and other disabilities, and the nearest area of rescue assistance. For planning emergency protocols, please contact the Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS) at 734-763-1131.


At the beginning and throughout the event, reinforce the need for everyone to use a microphone, even if they think do not need it. Avoid asking participants if they can hear you without using the mic. Ensure there are plenty of microphones and/or lapel mics for speakers as well as for the Q&A, if that is part of the program. This is helpful not just for people at the event, but for captioners and other remote participants. If someone asks a question without a microphone, the person with a microphone should repeat the question before answering.

Please take care to use the microphone correctly by holding it close to your mouth and speaking clearly and slowly. Consider what types of microphones would be best for your participants (e.g., handheld, standing, wireless, lapel, podium).

Suggested microphone: Snowball microphone for small to medium size meetings. This plugs into the laptop by USB and picks up sound really well.

(Source: Marissa Taylor, Program Manager, CEO. Contact: [email protected])

3. If there’s a virtual component

Off-site/Remote Participation

OIE developed two webpages with comprehensive information for planning virtual meetings and events: Video Conferencing and Digital Accessibility at the University of Michigan and Remote Events Accessibility at the University of Michigan.

Consider how off-site participants can be seen, heard, and/or otherwise participate during the event. Consult with IT, A/V, and facility team to check if the space has off-site or remote participation resources. Send agendas, presentations, and handouts before and after the event/meeting.

  • Whenever anyone speaks, they should say their name so that people who are participating remotely can follow along with the conversation, including the event captioner (if applicable).
  • Include opportunities in the agenda to solicit or respond to comments/questions from remote participants.
  • Avoid using whiteboards or large poster paper to write notes. Consider using a Google doc to take notes and share with off-site participants
  • U-M Resources: U-M Live Event Stream and U-M LSA post-event recording including captions.
  • Video Access: A good quality webcam is at eye-level. It should not be mounted or located in a high mount or random corner. Do not rely on webcam microphones for larger meetings/events. Zoom and Google Hangout are common options. Each option has some accessibility features, Zoom is more preferred. BlueJeans has incompatibility problems with assistive technologies, especially screen readers. (Source: Jane Berliss-Vincent, Assistive Technology Manager, ITS, [email protected])
  • Phone Access: Test the phone before the meeting/event and consider getting a microphone to make sure everyone can be heard clearly by remote participants. A common mistake is using a single person’s laptop microphone for a BlueJeans meeting, instead of a speaker/conference phone or external microphone. Consider the location and acoustics of the phone, including the microphone. Make sure laptops are not blocking the speaker/conference phone.

(Source: Todd Austin, Instructional Technologist, Videoconferencing Lead, LSA. Contact: [email protected]. Jim Pyke, Classroom Services Supervisor & Special Events Scheduling. LSA, [email protected]. Sonia Raheja, Disability Program Manager, ODEI. Contact: [email protected])

4. Accessible Materials

Marketing & Materials

When creating marketing and materials, pay attention to readability and visibility so participants can follow along with the content and find the information easily. This can increase participation and make the event more inclusive. Considering the following when planning your event:

  • Event promotion. Include information about proactive measures in all event advertising and invite participants to identify accommodation needs, including food allergies and chemical sensitivities, before the event via email or phone. Promote and advertise using a variety of media: email (including text format), social media, website, posters, flyers, etc.
  • Handouts/Presentations/Infographics. Consider the following:
    • Font sizes and styles. Make sure the body text is at least 16pt. Avoid font styles that are hard to read such as bitmapped text.
    • Use good color contrast. Use patterns or other status indicators such as text or textures for charts or graphs.
    • Use markup to create a hierarchy such as Title, Header 1, Header 2, etc. and use headers on tables. This facilitates navigation for screen readers and provides visual cues for sighted users.
    • Strive for simplicity and good readability. Write in plain language (ie if you are using acronyms- make sure to write out the meaning of each letter, explain jargon or complex terms that people might not be familiar with, have summaries of texts, and be concise).
    • Use built-in accessibility checkers and request user feedback.
    • Make materials available before and after the event.

(For more information and other resources on accessible materials, please see the Improving Accessibility of Word and Powerpoint Files presentation, and visit Your Role: Content Creators & Presenters.)

  • Nametags. There are multiple ways to be inclusive through the use of name tags such as including pronouns and color communication badges where participants can indicate their communication preferences through different colors.
  • Signage. Provide multiple signage from multiple directions and entrances.
  • Reminders. Before meeting/event, send multiple reminders with the description of the layout of the room, parking instructions, and available bathrooms. Attach agenda/materials in advance and accommodation processes.
Access and Accommodations Statement

Access Statement

Access and accommodation statements should be included in RSVP forms, emails, calendar invites and other marketing materials.

An access statement informs participants of accessible resources available for the event. This includes: address, parking information, points of entry, elevator and ramp locations, restroom types and locations, availability of CART/ASL services, if the event is scent-free, and the other topics highlighted in this guide.

  • Example: Accessibility for Angell Hall: Accessible entrance through adjacent buildings, or the North-West corner ground-floor entrance of Angell Hall. From the North-West entrance, the elevators are down the hall on the left and right sides. The event is on the third floor in room 3222. Men’s and women’s restrooms are located on the third floor near the elevators. A gender-inclusive restroom is located on the fifth floor around the corner from the elevator. Communication access real-time translation (CART) is provided for this event.

(Source: Happening @ U-M for The University of Michigan Initiative on Disability Studies (UMInDS) Welcomes: Lauren Obermark/ Interdependent Pedagogies: Rethinking Access and Disability in Graduate Education on October 28, 2019 organized by Melanie Yergeau, Associate Professor, LSA English Language and Literature.)


Accommodations Statement

An accommodation statement provides a space for participants to let the event planner know what resources they need to fully participate. Just as important as allowing people to make requests, is following up with requestors so that they know if and how their requests will be honored.

  • To create an accommodation statement: (1) State commitment to accessibility and willingness to make accommodations, (2) Describe the event so individuals can assess their needs, and (3) Invite people to contact organizer or team if they anticipate that accommodations will be needed.

(Source: Stephanie Rosen, Accessibility Specialist, Universities Library & Dilip Das, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Office of the Provost.)

  • Example of (3): “Please let us know how we can ensure that this event is inclusive to you. What accommodations or access needs can we help facilitate?”

(Source: RSVP Google Form for the Disability Culture Panel on July 22, 2019, organized by Ashley Wiseman, Associate Director, Global Scholars Program and Ashley Bates, Program Manager, Zell Visiting Writers Series. )

  • Note to event/meeting planners: In anticipation of a potential request for services such as ASL interpreting or CART/event captioning, it is advised to check the availability of these services well in advance of publicizing your event.
Accessible and Inclusive Events Checklist

This checklist is a summary of the information on this webpage, and includes some links to external resources. This list is meant to be a starting point in the event planning process.

Contact: Accessible and Inclusive Events team, [email protected]

View the Accessible and Inclusive Events Checklist 

American Sign Language (ASL) & Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART) & Event Captioning

American Sign Language (ASL)

Please note that providing just one of the following three resources–American Sign Language (ASL), Community Access Realtime Translation (CART), and Event Captioning–may not meet the needs of all attendees, and the meeting/event organizers should be prepared to field requests accordingly. Please contact ASL providers with your event information to request a price quote for their services.

Below are a few resources at and outside of U-M.

More ASL resources: Translation Services and Deaf Access Program | Michigan Medicine and Interpreter Services | Michigan Medicine.

(Fiona Lee, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion/Professional Development- Academic Affairs. Contact [email protected].)


Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART)

OIE developed two webpages with comprehensive information for planning virtual meetings and events: Video Conferencing and Digital Accessibility at the University of Michigan and Remote Events Accessibility at the University of Michigan.

CART provides a full text/transcription of the event in real-time for viewers. For more details on what CART is, please visit What is real-time captioning? Please contact CART providers with your event information to request a price quote for their services.

  • List of ASL interpreter and/or CART Resources (Source: Dana Brown, Senior Assistant to the Director, National Center for Institutional Diversity. Contact: [email protected].)
  • A CART operator does not necessarily need to be on site to provide these services. If a room is already set up with the technology, it is cheaper to have remote captioning/CART if (1) the captioner can access audio from the event and (2) there is a CART screen at the event.
  • View a comparison of live captioning service capabilities with the Live Captioning Matrix.

Zoom and Google Hangout are common options. Each option has some accessibility features, Zoom is more preferred.

Request funding for ASL or CART by emailing ECRT at [email protected] or by filling out a request form.



Event Captioning

OIE developed two webpages with comprehensive information for planning virtual meetings and events: Video Conferencing and Digital Accessibility at the University of Michigan and Remote Events Accessibility at the University of Michigan.

This service is for live-streamed videos, where “a trained operator provides a live transcript of an event in such a way that that transcript either overlaps or interfaces with a video or webinar interface. The primary difference between a CART provider and a captioning provider is that the captioning provider has the skills and knowledge to work with a variety of video display or streaming data formats.” (What is real-time captioning?). Please contact event captioning providers with your event information to request a price quote for their services.

  • Event captioning requires captioning boards, encoders, and expensive software. If a room is already set up with the technology, it is cheaper to have remote captioning/CART if they can access audio.
  • Estimate includes event time, set up time on the day of the event (which may take as long as 2 hours), as well as prep time to review event agenda, PPT, potential content/phrases/names/acronyms, additional equipment/software that may be needed (e.g., captioning on live stream); also to watch previous recordings of the speaker(s) to anticipate cadence, speech patterns. For this reason, repeated events/meetings get easier; one-time events are more difficult.
  • Additional fee to have transcript of captioning which is edited by reviewing the audio of the event.
  • Easiest if event captioning services can be provided remotely as long as IT staff on the event side can send captioner the audio and set up a captioning display with encoder.
  • Prior to the event, for both services, provide as much information about the event as soon as possible beforehand (see first bullet above).

(Source: Sue Dear Dembrowski of ScreenLine LLC, a company that offers real time captioning; Contact: Leticia Fox, [email protected], 517-627-2500.)

Google Slides

Google Slides has free built in live captioning, which is ~89% accurate, and the more the speaker talks, the more the AI catches what you are trying to say. You can change the font size and placement of captioning. It use your computer/laptop microphone.

  • Feedback: In the Michigan League has different microphone so the captioning might be harder to pick up. This is not an alternative substitute for CART. Google has a bias towards deep male voices & Midwestern accents.
Automatic Sync

Automatic Sync is a free captioning service. Below are some feedback of this service:

  • The captioning was available on mobile, laptop, ipad, and other devices.
  • When you request the service, you fill out the form and then they email you the link to share with friends, so you have to call the company to confirm next steps and how to set up.
    • You need a Zoom account for the event captioner to stream into the meeting/event 10 minutes beforehand
  • Someone off-site/remote is streaming into your event, so it is very important to have good audio for captioner.
    • They assigned different people to caption the event throughout the day.
  • Customer service is not friendly, multiple people were condescending.
  • There were a lot of things that the captioners put that was not inclusive. Ex: someone with an accent was talking and the captioner put [inaudible person talking, stay tuned].
    • Suggestion: giving the captioner a script on things they might need help with.
  • Note: CEO wants to continue to use this service for larger events, and interested in having a collective working group to help make this experience better.

(Source: Marissa Taylor, Program Manager, [email protected], and Amanda Hudeck, Public Engagement Coordinator, Center for Educational Outreach.)

Additional Resources
Mapping Disability Inclusion Knowledge Community

Mapping Disability Inclusion is a Knowledge Community sponsored by U-M’s National Center for Institutional Diversity that aims to document, connect, and publicize the networks of scholars, practitioners, and advocates working on disability inclusion at the University of Michigan.

Contact: Stephanie Rosen, [email protected]

Equity, Civil Rights, and Title IX Office (ECRT)

Provides guidance, support and delivery of programming, services and educational initiatives to University faculty, staff, and students to support diversity, inclusiveness, equal access, equitable treatment, cultural understanding and the prevention of prohibited discrimination and harassment.

Contact: [email protected], 734-763-0235

Services for Students with Disabilities

The mission of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities is to support the University’s commitment to equity and diversity by providing support services and academic accommodations to students with disabilities. We share information, promote awareness of disability issues, and provide support of a decentralized system of access for students within the University community.

Contact: [email protected], 734-763-3000

Spectrum Center’s Event Navigation/Wayfinding Documents

The Spectrum Center have created template documents to help. These documents can help people navigate events, including finding parking, getting allergen and trigger warnings, and more.

Contact: Lorant Peeler, [email protected]

U-M Council for Disability Concerns

The University of Michigan Council for Disability Concerns works towards creating a community that respects disability, honors individual needs, and makes everything accessible.

Contact: [email protected]

U-M Information and Technology Services

Information and Technology Services provides technology and communications services in support of UM-Ann Arbor’s academic and research needs. ITS also manages the administrative computing systems and executes the IT security strategy for the Ann Arbor campus, Michigan Medicine, and the two regional campuses (Flint and Dearborn).

Contact: [email protected], 734-764-4357

U-M Library Accessibility

Information on accessing resources, services, and spaces through the University of Michigan Library, including accommodations for individuals whose disabilities prevent them from using Library materials in their original format.

Contact: Library Accessibility, [email protected]

U-M Library Disability Resource Guide

Provides resources on the topic of disability. Not only does the guide offers resources specific to the University of Michigan, but it also includes external links to other sites such as and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Contact: Anna Schnitzer, [email protected]