Disability Act to improve RCC

By Memi Lorico Iriye / Special to Viewpoints

A change is coming (Memi Lorico Iriye / Special to Viewpoints)

By Memi Lorico Iriye / Special to Viewpoints

In January, the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) Amendments Act of 2008 came into effect.

The Riverside Community College District held public meetings as part of its ADA compliance process.

The dean of Disabled Student Programs & Services, Paula McCroskey, was pleased that the district would go above and beyond compliance efforts.

“We want diversity on our campuses,” McCroskey said. “We want to include Title II of the ADA on top of all requirements that are already mandated.”

Under Title II of the ADA of 1990, disabled students are protected from discrimination in their admission procedures.

And they have the right to ask for reasonable accommodations. But, the new ADA intended to improve public accommodations and commercial facilities.

To help the effort, the district hired Chani Beeman, district director of Diversity, Equity and Compliance. She is the ADA/504 district coordinator.

“This is a civil right” Beeman said. “We have an obligation…We have to be as inclusive and effective as possible. It is our plan.”

Both McCroskey and Beeman host the meetings.

The purpose of the new ADA Transition Plan is to ensure that RCCD complies with its Board Policy 7100 by identifying access deficiencies and barriers, designing the most feasible and cost effective solutions for barrier removal, prioritizing the design solutions, developing an implementation phasing plan and developing a parking master plan for each facility.

A team of consultants from PSOMAS Engineering and government architecture services from Black, O’Dowd and Associates, Inc., were appointed for this project. 

The priorities of the plan are paths of travel, parking, access to programs and services, restrooms and other public accommodations of the three campuses including the district office.

The project is currently at 40 percent completion.

Field investigation and assessment will be completed by the end of June. A report is to be delivered to RCCD in July.

In attendance at the May 7 meeting in the Digital Library Auditorium was Jan Muto, president of the Riverside campus to support the plan and answer public questions.

She emphasized the importance of accessibility at this college.

One attendee in a wheelchair did express how hard it was just to get to the meeting.

First, she had difficulty with parking.

Second, she found no sign on  how to get to the meeting.

Then, she asked for help from a campus employee who was not even aware of the ADA Transition Plan meeting.

But, Salvador Gomez, an employee of nine years at RCC, who is also in a wheelchair defended the college.

“I have seen a lot of changes,” Gomez said. “We have gone pretty far but we still need changes.”

Questions pertaining to the Ben Clark Training Center and the Soho Center were also addressed. These sites are non-RCCD owned buildings.

But, the district assured that future contracts will include a cluster of ADA compliance. 

For public outreach and local feedback, contact Chani Beeman at 951-222-8039 and ADATransition@rcc.edu.

For accommodation and support services, contact Paula McCroskey at 951-222-8060.

For students with immediate questions, Disabled Student Services is located in the Administration building room 121.