Making the impossible, possible: MSU’s American Disabilities Act Coordinator

June 19, 2019 - Chris Chapman

Imagine heading to a class across MSU’s campus. When you arrive, you have trouble opening the door. After feverishly attempting to push the door open, you find that you have to climb two flights of stairs to get to another heavy door before you reach your class.

For a person using a wheelchair or other mobility aids, design issues like these are more than an inconvenience, they create access barriers that can limit the ability to fully participate in the campus community.

Aislinn Sapp is using an understanding of these experiences to prioritize accessibility and compliance with federal and state disability laws at MSU through her role as the American With Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator.

Though she is responsible for keeping MSU compliant with the ADA, as amended, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and all associated university policies and procedures, her focus is educating and modernizing the campus community.

Clinically, she is trained in both child and adult psychology and specializes in working with children with disabilities and children and adults who have experienced trauma, complex trauma and PTSD. She uses this training, coupled with trauma-informed practices, to foster a more inclusive environment.

“I think the most important part of my job is the human experience piece,” Sapp said. “Working every day to ensure that persons with disabilities are encountering as few barriers as possible and working to ensure that persons with disabilities are being included as equal members of our campus community.”

She consults with units and partners with Infrastructure Planning and Facilities and the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to address accessibility barriers facing students, faculty and staff.  She also   sits on university committees to ensure that all disability-related concerns are represented and taken into consideration.

“There isn’t really a typical day in this role,” said Sapp.

Her role is housed in the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance (OCR) which leads MSU’s efforts to cultivate a campus community that is free of discrimination and harassment. The office also coordinates with MSU entities that provide crisis and advocacy services to survivors of sexual assault and relationship violence.

To learn more about accessibility at MSU visit the OCR website.