CODI: Cornucopia of Disability Information

Brooklyn College Letter of Findings

Brooklyn College
Letter of Findings



UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT of EDUCATION
REGION IX
FEDERAL BUSING
26 FEDERAL PIZZA
NEW YORK,. NEW YORX 10278

OCT 25 1991        


CERTIFIED MAIL - RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED
Dr. W. Ann Reynolds
Chancellor
City University of New York
535 E. 80th street
New York, New York 10021

Re: Case No. 02-90-2075

Dear Dr. Reynolds:

The New York Regional Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has completed
its investigation of the above-refereneed complaint filed against
the City University of New York (CUNY), Brooklyn College, (the
College). The complainant  alleges that the college discriminates
on the basis of handicap. Specifically, the complainant alleges
that the College is not accessible to individuals with disabilities
because (1) recently constructed rasps have excessively steep
slopes which are not in conformance with the Uniform Federal
Accessibility Standards (UFAS); (2) the elevators in Doylan Hall
are too small and do not conform to UFAS specifications; (3) there
are no accessible restrooms, telephones or water fountains in any
of the College's buildings; and (4) doors, hardware and handrails
do not meet UFAS specifications. 

This complaint was investigated under the authority of Section 504
of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), as amended, 29
U.S.C. Sec. 794  et seq and its implementing regulation located at 34
C.F.R. Part 104, which prohibit discrimination, on the basis of
handicap in any program or activity receiving Federal financial
assistance from the United States Department of Education (the
Department). OCR has determined that the University is a recipient
of such assistance froD the Department Therefore, OCR has
jurisdiction to investigate this complaint and make a compliance
determination.

During the course of this investigation, OCR reviewed information
submitted by the complainant and the college, including the
College's Section 504 nondiscrimination policy and its procedures
for notifying individuals with disabilities as to the availability
and location of accessible buildings and services. OCR interviewed
the complainant, members of the College's administration and
members of a campus advocacy group for disabled students OCR also
conducted an on-site inspection of the College facilities.

Further, on June 28, 1991, OCR informed CUNY that the monitoring of
the corrective action in a previous complaint, 02-88-2025, was
being subsumed into the above referenced complaint.

Based on an analysis of the information obtained, OCR has deter-
mined that the College is not in compliance with Section 504 and
its implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. Sec. 104.21 and 104.22(a).

In a letter dated October 7, 1991, the College assured OCR that it
would take the necessary steps to come into compliance with Section
504 on the basis of these assurances, OCR finds the College to be
presently fulfilling its obligations under Section 504, and we are
closing this case as of the date of this letter. A summary of
OCR' factual findings and the legal basis for this determination
are set forth below.

The Section 504 regulation, at 34 C.F.R. Sec. 104.21, provides that no
qualified handicapped person shall, b cause a recipient's facili-
ties are inaccessible to or unusable by handicapped persons, be
denied the benefits of, be excluded frod participation in, or
otherwise be subjected to discrimination in any program or activity
to which the regulation applies. The Section 504 regulation
further provides, at 34 C.F.R. Sec. 104.22(f), that a recipient shall
adopt and implement procedures to ensure that interested persons
can obtain information as to the existence and location of
services, activities and facilities that are accessible to and
usable by handicapped persons.

The regulation at 34 C.F.R. Sec. 104.22 and 104.23 contains two
standards to be used in determining whether a recipient's programs
and activities are accessible to handicapped persons. One standard
applies to "existing" facilities while the other standard applies
to "new" or "altered" facilities. The term "existing facility," 
which is applicable to this investigation, is set out at 34 C. F. R.
Sec. 104.22, and has been interpreted to mean that the facility was in
existence or under construction on or before June 3, 1977, the
effective data of the regulation. Recipients operating programs or
activities in existing facilities are required to ensure that the
program or activity, when viewed in its entirety is readily
accessible to handicapped persons. A recipient may comply with
this accessibility requirement by such means as redesign of
equipment, reassignment of classes or other services to accessible
buildings, alteration of existing facilities or any other method
that results in making program or activities accessible to
handicapped persons However, a recipient is not required to make
each of its existing facilities or every part of a facility
accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities Gil, 34
C.F.R. Sec. 104.22(a)and (b).

A recipient is not required to make structural modifications where
other methods are effective in achieving compliance. In the event
structural modifications of existing facilities are required to
achieve programs accessibility, all necessary renovations,
alterations, or structural modifications must comply with the
requirements of 34 C.F.R. Sec. 104.23(b) which provides that, after
the effective date of the regulation, each facility or part of a
facility that is altered in a manner that could affect its
usability shall, to the maximum extent feasible, be altered in such
a manner that it is readily accessible to and usable by handicapped
persons. Further, the regulation at 34 C.F.R. Sec. 104.23(c) provides
that the construction, design or alteration of facilities in
conformance with UFAS shall constitute compliance with Section 504.

Departures from the requirements of these standards are permitted
only when it is clearly evident that equivalent access to the
facility or part of the facility is provided.

One of the methods used by OCR in determining accessibility of
facilities is to inspect them. OCR conducted an on-site investiga-
tion in order to examine the College's facilities. As a guide the
UFAS specifications for making buildings and facilities accessible
to and usable by individuals with disabilities were used. The areas
reviewed included parking, routes of travel, ramps, doors, drinking
fountains, telephones, restrooms, assembly areas, laboratories,
classroom locker rooms, pool area, library, interior and exterior
access, fire safety, warning systems and notification of accessible
areas for individuals with disabilities.

The College campus has eleven buildings, grouped into eight
complexes. Complexes consist of one or more buildings intercon-
nected by a common entrance or set of elevators All buildings in
the eight complexes were constructed prior to 1977. All complexes
are maintained and used by the College. The College has a standing
policy which insures that educational programs will be relocated or
duplicated as a means of making all programs accessible to students
with disabilities.

Complex 1

Complex 1 is composed of James Hall, the Plaza, Old and New
Roosevelt Halls and the Field recreational area. These five
buildings and the field provide space for 40% of the College's
programs. The complex houses (1) the Brooklyn Academy High
School; (2) classrooms; (3) offices; (4) the faculty-research
laboratory; (5) the film department; (6) athletic exercise rooms;
(7) swimming pools; and (8) locker rooms. Based on OCR's on-site
review, OCR found that the programs in Complex 1, when viewed in
their entirety, are inaccessible to and unusable by individuals
with disabilities

OCR's investigation disclosed that access to this complex is
provided through the entrance located at New Roosevelt Hall. OCR's
on-site inspection revealed that this entrance meets UFAS specifi-
cations and is accessible. All of the educational programs located
in this complex have been duplicated or relocated to the first
floor as necessary. This complex has a women's locker room which
provides a shower and changing area adjacent to the pool. The
locker room does not meet UFAS specifications because the doorway
leading into the restroom stalls is too narrow, the stalls lack
grab bars and there is a six inch curb leading to the shower area.

Further, there is no accessible entrance from the locker room to
the swimming pool. OCR's investigation also disclosed that there
is no restroom in any building in this complex which meets UFAS
specifications. Additionally, the complex has no drinking
fountain, telephone augmented for the hearing-impaired, warning
system or signage which meet the UFAS specifications.

Complex 2

Complex 2 is composed of Old and New Ingersoll Halls. This complex
houses classrooms, laboratories and offices. Based on OCR's on-
site review, OCR found that the programs in complex 2, when viewed
in their entirety, are inaccessible to and unusable by individuals
with disabilities.

OCR'- investigation revealed that access to this complex is through
New Ingersoll Hall. OCR's on-site investigation revealed that this
entrance meets UFAS specifications and is accessible. All of the
educational programs located in this complex have been duplicated
or relocated to the first floor as necessary. However, OCR found
that Complex 2 has no restroom in any building which meets the UFAS
specifications Additionally, there is no public telephone
augmented for the hearing-impaired, warning system or signage which
meet UFAS specifications.

Complex 3

Complex 3 is composed of Gershwin and Whitman Halls. This complex
houses property shops, auditoriums, offices, recital halls,
practice roos and the Department of Music. Based on OCR's on-site
review, OCR found that the programs in Complex 3, when viewed in
their entirety, are inaccessible to and unusable by individuals
with disabilities.

OCR's investigation disclosed that access to Complex 3 is gained
through Gershwin Hall. OCR's on-site investigation revealed that
this entrance meetly UFAS specifications and is accessible. All of
the educational programs located in this complex have been
duplicated or relocated to the first floor as necessary However,
OCR found that this complex has no restroom in any building of the
complex which meets the UFAS specifications- Additionally, there
is no drinking fountain, public telephone augmented for the hearing
impaired, warning system or signage which meet the UFAS specifica-
tions.

Complex 4

Complex 4 is composed of Boylan Hall and houses classrooms,
offices, the art studio, the cafeteria and the bookstore. Based on
OCR's on-site review, OCR found that the programs in Complex 4,
when viewed in their entirety, are inaccessible to and unusable by
individuals with disabilities.

Access to this complex is through the use of an exterior and
interior ramp. Although the exterior ramp meets UFAS specifica-
tions, the interior ramp does not as it is too steep. All of the
educational programs in this complex, except the cafeteria and the
bookstore, have been duplicated or relocated to the first floor as
necessary. The cafeteria and bookstore, are located in the
basement. The basement area is accessible through the use of an
elevator meeting UFAS specifications. However, this complex has no
restroom, public telephone augmented for the hearing-impaired or
signage which meet the UFAS specifications.

Complex 5

Complex 5 is composed of Whitehead Hall and houses classrooms,
offices, T.V. studios and the outdoor sculpting area. Based on
OCR's on-site review, OCR found that the programs in Complex 5,
when viewed in their entirety, are inaccessible to and unusable by
individuals with disabilities. Access to this Complex is through
the use of the main entrance. This entrance meets UFAS specifica-
tions and is accessible. All of the educational programs located in
this complex have been duplicated or relocated to the first floor
as necessary. However, Complex 5 has no restroom, public telephone
augmented for the hearing impaired or signage which meet the UFAS
specifications.

Complex 6

Complex 6 is composed of the Student Union and houses meeting
rooms, conference rooms, leisure activity rooms and kitchens.
Based on OCR's on-site review, OCR found that the programs in
Complex 6, when viewed in their entirety, are inaccessible to and
unusable by individuals with disabilities.

This Complex may be reached through the basement where an elevator
provides access to the second floor and another elevator provides
access to all other floors. However, Complex 6 has no accessible
restroom, drinking fountain or public telephone augmented for the
hearing impaired which meet the UFAS specifications.

Complex 7

Complex 7 is composed of La Guardia Hall and the College library.
It houses the art gallery, the faculty lounge and the library.
Based on OCR's on-site review, OCR found that the programs in
Complex 7, when viewed in their entirety, are inaccessible to and
unusable by individuals with disabilities.

Access to this complex is provided through the library's main
entrance. OCR's on-site investigation revealed that this entrance
meets UFAS specifications and is accessible. All of the education-
al programs located in this complex have been duplicated or
relocated to the first floor as necessary. However, OCR found that
there is no accessible restroom or public telephone augmented for
the hearing impaired which meet the UFAS specifications.

Complex 8

Complex 8 is composed of the parking lots. The College maintains
two lots providing a total of 540 spaces. The College is required
by UFAS specifications to have 2% or 11 of its parking spaces
designated for individuals with disabilities. During OCR's on-site
investigation, OCR found 13 designated parking spaces for individu-
als with disabilities. Based on its on-site review, however, OCR
found the parking lots of Complex 8 to be inaccessible to and
unusable by individuals with disabilities.

These parking lots do not meet UFAS specifications because there
are no access aisles. UFAS specifications require a separate aisle
for each parking space designated for individuals with disabili-
ties. OCR did, however, find that the ground markings meet UFAS
specifications.

Recipient's Negotiated Agreement

The recipient assured OCR in a letter dated October 7, 1991, that
it would make changes necessary to come into compliance with the
UFAS specifications, on or before October 7, 1992. Specifically,
the recipient has agreed to do the following:

Complex 1

o A drinking fountain will be made available

o Accessible restrooms will be made available

o A telephone will be available with provisions for the
	hearing impaired

o A locker room shower will be modified to provide access
	to individuals with disabilities in the Plaza and
	Roosevelt Hall

o The entryway from the locker room to the swimming pool
	will be made accessible in Roosevelt

o A restroom will be made accessible in the locker rooms in
	Roosevelt and the Plaza

o A policy will be developed so that in the event of a fire
	alarm, security personnel will verbally notify students
	and staff with disabilities

o Signage will be provided to identify the restrooms and
	telephones designated for individuals with disabilities

Complex 2

o A drinking fountain will be made available

o Accessible restrooms will be made available

o A telephone will be made available with provisions for
	the hearing impaired

o A policy will be developed so that in the event of a fire
	alarm, Security personnel will verbally notify the
	students and staff with disabilities

o Signage will be provided to identify the restrooms and
	telephones designated for individuals with disabilities

Complex 3

o A drinking fountain will b made available

o Accessible restrooms will be aade available

o A telephone will be made available with provisions for
	the hearing impaired.

o A policy will be developed so that in the event of a fire
	alarm, security personnel will verbally notify the
	students and staff with disabilities

o Signage will be provided to identify the restrooms and
	telephones designated for individuals with disabilities

Complex 4

o A drinking fountain will be made available

o Accessible restrooms will be made available

o A telephone will be made available with provisions for
	the hearing impaired

o A policy must be developed so that in the event of a fire
	alarm, Security personnel will verbally notify the
	students and staff with disabilities

o Signage will be provided to identify the restrooms and
	telephones designated for individuals with disabilities

o The interior ramp at the main entrance in Boylan Hall
	will be modified to bring this ramp into compliance with
	UFAS specifications

Complex 5

o A drinking fountain will be made available

o Accessible restrooms will be made available

o A telephone will be made available with provisions for
	the hearing impaired

o A policy will be developed so that in the event of a fire
	alarm, Security personnel will verbally notify the
	students and staff with disabilities

o Signage will be provided to identify the restrooms and
	telephones designated for individuals with disabilities

Complexw 6

o A drinking fountain will be made available

o Accessible restrooms will be made available

o A telephone will be made available with provisions for
	the hearing impaired

o A policy will be developed so that in the event of a fire
	alarm, Security personnel will verbally notify the
	students and staff with disabilities

o Signage will be provided to identify the restrooms and
	telephones designated for individuals with disabilities

Complex 7

o A drinking fountain will be made available

o Accessible restrooms will be made available

o A telephone will be made available with provisions for
	the hearing impaired

o A policy will be developed so that in the event of a fire
	alarms Security personnel will verbally notify the
	students and staff with disabilities

o Signage will be provided to identify the restrooms and
	telephones designated for individuals with disabilities

Complex 8

o Access aisles will be provided in between parking spaces
	designated for individuals with disabilities

The recipient assured OCR that it would complete these
corrective actions in accordance with the following timetable:

o Provision of accessible drinking fountains will be
	completed within 90 days

o The policy for notification by security personnel to
	individuals with disabilities during a fire alarm will be
	completed within 90 days

o A policy for notification to individuals with disabili-
	ties for restrooms accessible to individuals with
	disabilities will be completed within 90 days

o The painting of access aisles between parking spaces
	designated for individuals with disabilities will be
	completed within 90 days

o The modification to the telephones in each complex will
	be completed within 6 months

o The necessary modifications to the interior ramp in
	Boylan Hall will be completed in 1 year

o The necessary modifications to the locker rooms in Plaza
	and Roosevelt will be completed in 1 year

Based on these assurances, OCR considers the College to be
presently fulfilling its obligations under Section 504. Failure to
perform the above agreed upon actions may result in OCR's finding
a violation of Section 504 and possible enforcement proceedings.

In accordance with OCR's standard practice compliance with
commitments and assurances will be monitored. Furthermore, OCR may
conduct on-site inspections to confirm that the changes made by the
College meet the requirements of Section 504.

This letter of findings is not intended, nor should it be con-
strued, to cover any issues regarding compliance with section 504
that are not specifically discussed in this letter.

The college is reminded that retaliation or harassment against any
person who has filed a complaint, participated in, or cooperated
with an OCR investigation is prohibited.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, it may be necessary to
release this letter and related correspondence and recordR upon
request In the event that OCR receives such a request, we will
seek to protect, to the extent provided by law, personal informa-
tion which, if released, could constitute an unwarranted invasion
of privacy.

OCR offers technical assistance with respect to questions you and
your staff may hav regarding any of the regulations enforced by
OCR If at any time such assistance is desired, please feel free
to contact Ms. Helen N. Whitney, Deputy Regional Director at (212)
264-5589

We appreciate the cooperation you and your staff extended to this
office during this investigation. If you have any questions,
please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Rolando H. Alvarado,
Director, Postsecondary Education Division, at (212) 264-3822

Sincerely,
Paula Kuebler
Regional Director