Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, terminated a voluntary compliance agreement under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) with New York University (“NYU” or the “University”) to increase the accessibility of NYU’s student housing for people with disabilities. The agreement applies to all NYU student housing in the New York metropolitan area.
Title III of the ADA requires that privately owned public facilities, including colleges and universities, remove physical barriers to access to existing facilities where readily achievable, comply with accessibility standards for new construction and remodeling, and change policies and practices where necessary is to ensure full and equal enjoyment of services and facilities.
The out-of-court settlement resolves a compliance review in which the U.S. Attorney’s Office identified various aspects of NYU’s student housing that did not comply with Title III of the ADA and the ADA’s standards for accessible design, including violations of new construction regulations of the ADA and access barriers to existing ones facilities.
NYU’s New York-area campuses include student housing in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island for the university’s undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. The agreement covers a total of more than 4,000 student housing units located in 22 NYU-owned student housing units and 10 facilities that are leased in whole or in part by the university.
NYU has agreed to develop a plan under which it will review and change its student housing within five years, update its student housing contingency plans, and improve the accessibility information related to student housing on its website.
US Attorney Damian Williams said: “ADA requires colleges and universities to ensure that no one is discriminated against on the basis of a disability in the full and equal use of their services and facilities. We are pleased that NYU is committed to improving accessibility in university student housing and hope other colleges and universities will follow suit and improve access to their facilities for people with disabilities.”
Under the agreement, NYU will:
- Conduct architectural surveys and solicit public comments from the university community, then submit an accessibility plan to that office for review, outlining how the university will comply with the agreement.
- Ensure that students with disabilities have an adequate number of accessible student housing units (and restrooms that service those units) that are available and distributed throughout university student housing facilities that serve the (i) general NYU student population, (ii) the student population ( ii) serve, (iii) Grossman School of Medicine, (iv) Long Island School of Medicine, (v) Law School and (vi) Brooklyn Campus.
- Ensure that any student housing complex housing accessible housing units required by the Agreement has accessible facilities, including accessible entrances, walkways, bathrooms and signage; and that a reasonable number of additional living facilities have an accessible entrance, a first-floor common area, and a bathroom.
- Update emergency evacuation, housing and housing plans for people with disabilities for student housing after soliciting public comment from the university community.
- Update its website to identify accessible entrances, routes and transportation options for its student housing; identify newly added or renovated accessible features of student housing; and providing information to assist students and prospective students with disabilities in securing and using accessible housing and housing at NYU.
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This case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Division in the Civil Division. Assistant US Attorney Samuel Dolinger is in charge of the case.