Planning Accessible Events

Departments sponsoring lectures, talks, conference, symposia, and/or conferences that are open to the campus/community-at-large should plan proactively to ensure that any attendee has equal opportunity to fully participate in events held at the University of Rochester.

For information specific to online events, please download our Online Accessibility Tip Sheet (Word).

Event Accommodations

Any events should include information on how to request accommodations. Sample statement:

“The University of Rochester is committed to providing inclusive experiences and equal access to programs and services. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation, please contact (name and contact info of event organizer). In all situations, a good faith effort (up until the time of the event) will be made to provide accommodations.”

Listed below are common accommodation requests you might receive for events along with resources for fulfilling those requests. Please note that any accommodations requests should be treated in a time-sensitive manner, as vendors often need lead time of up to a week or more to make arrangements.

ASL Interpreting

Event organizers need to submit a RedCap form to Deaf Professional Interpreter Services who will process and assign interpreter services for the event. Please note that the request needs to have a lead time of two weeks at minimum due to the local and nation-wide shortage of in-person ASL interpreters.

Zoom Webinars

The easiest approach for a wide audience is to use the Webinar format and invite the interpreters to join as co-hosts or panelists so that they will be visible to everyone for the entirety of the event, and will be captured in the Zoom recording.

Zoom Meetings

For Zoom meetings, the interpreter can be added as a participant. The host should instruct the interpreters to change their names in Zoom to "Interpreter—NAME" so they can be easily found. The requesting attendees can pin the interpreter's window in Zoom so they can continuously view the ASL interpreter on screen. A new feature allows the host to give specific permission to a limited number of participants to pin multiple videos. Up-to-date Zoom software is required.

To let consumers know there are interpreters, announce via your presentation, or in the Chat Box, that interpreters are available to "pin" if they click on the three dots in the interpreter window and select "pin."

The host can also "spotlight" the interpreters so they appear as the primary active speaker for all participants in a Zoom meeting.

Note that the host's view of the interpreters will determine what is captured in the meeting recording, so the host should spotlight the interpreters if the meeting is recorded.

Auto Captions

Zoom has an auto-transcription/captioning feature built in using artificial intelligence. Download our tip sheet (Word).

Web Captioner is a free tool that can be used with Zoom to provide computer-generated real-time captions. Download our tip sheet (Word).

Please note that according to the US Dept. of Justice, computer-generated captions are not accurate enough to provide equal access for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Therefore, free services such as these, though they may be useful in many situations, are not always sufficient or appropriate as a substitute for providing accurate real-time captioning using a third-party vendor if class participants have been formally approved captioned media as an accommodation through the UR Office of Disability Resources. Defer to any stated preferences from the student who has been approved this accommodation, and/or contact the Office of Disability Resources with any questions regarding the kind of captioning required for your class/event.

Other Accommodation Requests

If you are unsure how to provide a requested accommodation, please contact the Office of Disability Resources at for assistance.

Event Materials


Videos shown during a live public event or an event with a requesting Deaf/HH participant, and/or recordings that are later posted online or distributed for those events must be accurately captioned.

Resources for Captioning

Fee-based Services:

Free options using automatic speech recognition: (Please note that these captions alone are not accurate enough to provide access. They must be edited manually. Instructions are included in the links below.)

Handouts and Print Materials

Have handouts and other print materials available in electronic (accessible Word or PDF) formats. For presentations, have printed copies of the presentation available or send electronic versions to attendees in advance, if possible. Please read through our Accessible Materials page for more information to ensure that these materials can be accessed by all attendees.

Physical Access

For in-person events, consider the physical accessibility of the room(s) or space in which you are hosting your event. As much as possible, select rooms accessible to wheelchair or other device users. If you know you have a wheelchair user attending the event in a room that is not accessible you should find an alternate venue. Identify the closest accessible parking and accessible restrooms. Within the room, consider navigation routes and ease of access for all individuals.

Use of Microphone

Encourage speakers and the audience to use a microphone at all times to ensure that all attendees are able to hear and participate.


Clearly indicate allergens and gluten-free options.

Event and Classroom Management Support

Lastly, we recommend speaking with our colleagues at Event and Classroom Management (ECM) who will be able to assist in all aspects of planning a successful collegial event.

Additional Resources for Online Events

Please note: The department or sponsoring entity of an event is responsible for ensuring equal access and opportunity to participate in events convened at the University of Rochester. Departments are responsible for any costs associated with providing equal access for events that they host.