Approved by NIU President John Peters on November 17, 2008

I. Mission

The Commission, established in 1989, will advise the President regarding issues and concerns related to people who have disabilities. The Commission has a particular emphasis on promoting issues of physical, virtual, and attitudinal accessibility. The Commission will collaborate with others on campus to improve the campus climate, advocate for accessibility, and increase the university community’s awareness of issues concerning individuals with disabilities.

II. Roles and Duties

  1. The Commission shall advise the President on issues pertaining to people who have disabilities and the accessibility of the university and university programs. This will include informing the President about issues defined by the Commission itself, by other units, or individuals within the university community, or by the President.
  2. The Commission shall make recommendations to the President on studies, reports, or other actions needed to address particular issues related to the status of people with disabilities.
  3. The Commission may hold hearings to collect information or may request information from units or individuals within the University.
  4. The Commission may suggest and sponsor programs that carry out its mission.
  5. With prior knowledge of the President, the Commission, in carrying out its charge, may establish subcommittees whose membership may be drawn from non-Commission members.

III. Membership

  1. Every effort will be made to maintain a membership of no fewer than 15. Members shall be appointed by the President from nominations or volunteers solicited by the President from major university constituencies.
    1. Membership on the Commission of those in the following positions is required:
      1. Human Resources’ identified ADA Coordinator
      2. Human Resources’ identified 504 Coordinator
      3. Director, Disability Resource Center
      4. Coordinator, Library Services for Persons with Disabilities
      5. Student Association representative
    2. At least one representative from the following areas should be appointed to the Commission:
      1. Academic Affairs
      2. Affirmative Action
      3. Finance and Facilities
      4. Housing and Dining
      5. Information Technology Services
      6. Student Affairs
    3. Efforts shall be made to seek representation for students with hearing, learning, visual, and mobility disabilities.
  2. Every effort will be made to ensure membership includes representation from all facets of the university community, including those with and those without disabilities. It is expected that each representative will report back to his or her constituents about activities of the Commission. In keeping with the Northern Illinois University Constitution and By-Laws, Section 16.71, the Commission shall include minority representation.
  3. Specific positions noted above will hold permanent appointments to the Commission. Other faculty and staff members shall serve three-year staggered terms. Student members shall serve one-year terms. All members shall be eligible for reappointment.
  4. Membership will be reviewed annually by the Commission in spring for the following fall. Deficiencies in participation by constituency shall be noted and communicated to the President. Nominations for new members will be solicited by the middle of spring semester via an advertising campaign sponsored by the President’s office. Applications and nominations should be sent to the President’s office by the end of spring semester and include a letter of interest from the nominee summarizing how his or her participation will benefit the Commission.
  5. Letters of appointment will be sent from the President to new Commission members prior to the fall semester.

IV. Operations

  1. A Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary shall be elected by the end of spring semester. Terms will be for one year and begin July 1. Officers may be reappointed. Each spring, one Commission member shall be selected by the commission members to be the liaison representative to the Affirmative Action and Diversity Resources Committee.
  2. The Commission will generally meet at 3:00 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month, except June and July. Meeting dates and times may be adjusted to accommodate holiday and vacation schedules. Supplemental meetings may be called by the Chair as necessary.
  3. Members will be expected to attend all regularly scheduled meetings or notify the Chair of their absence in advance of the meeting date. The appointment of members with excessive absences may be reviewed as needed.
  4. When a vote is necessary, the Commission will decide issues based on a majority of votes by the members in attendance.
  5. At the beginning of each meeting, Commission members will receive a copy of the previous meeting’s minutes to approve and an agenda for the current meeting.
  6. The Commission Chair and members shall make themselves available to meet with units or persons within the University at the President’s request.
  7. An annual report will be drafted by the Chair and shared with the Commission prior to July 1. Upon acceptance by the President, a copy will be sent to the University Archives and posted on the Commission’s website.
  8. An annual budget shall be prepared by the Chair, reviewed and endorsed by the Commission, and presented to the President for approval.
  9. The Commission will collect, evaluate, and communicate constituents’ comments or concerns related to campus accessibility and disability issues to the President.
  10. The Commission shall provide equal access to members and guests with disabilities.
    1. All meetings, events, and activities shall be held in accessible facilities.
    2. Meetings, events, and activities shall have a sign language interpreter or speech-to-text services, if requested or as needed.
    3. All printed materials shall be provided in an appropriate medium and in a timely manner, if requested or as needed.