Introduction of accessibility office at Iona

Coordinator for Accessibility Services Emily Brechtel explains why Iona needs an office thatfocuses on making the college accessible to all students


I am writing this letter to update the Iona Community on some of the recent changes that have been implemented to support Iona students. I am pleased to share with you that beginning in June 2018, Iona College now has an office that is designated to support students with disabilities.We are: The Accessibility Services Office.

Iona is committed to creating an equal educational opportunity for all enrolled at the College. We value and celebrate the experiences of all of our students, including those with disabilities. The ASO collaborates with the Iona community to ensure equal access for students with disabilities to its facilities, programs and activities.


Accessibility refers to the legal right given to students to utilize reasonable accommodations in higher education and beyond, through legislature like the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. We help those with disabilities remove barriers to their postsecondary educational experience. Creating access is an important and necessary task, and something we take very seriously.


Accessibility also represents a growing movement of web developers, professors, institutions and social media managers to make accessible spaces be the standard and the ‘norm.’ This idea can be in the form of wheelchair accessible buildings, image descriptions on social media posts or extended assessment time for those with testing impairments.


As a former undergraduate student at Iona, I know how trying college can be. Whether you are commuting or a resident, part-time or full-time, or have a freshman or senior status, college is complicated. Having a disability may be a part of your college journey.


The word ‘disability’ is one with a complicated and exclusionary history. However, it is now a legally represented and defined word that encompasses a wide range of people. Being disabled specifically refers to any impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.


When most people hear this definition, they may only think of a person with a physical disability. Though a physical impairment is included under this definition, being ‘disabled’ is a spectrum. Every person’s experiences and symptoms are unique to them, and may be invisible to the naked eye.


If you struggle with succeeding in college, Iona is here for you. In partnership with resources like the Office of Student Success, Residential Life, the Commuter Student Association, and the Office of Mission & Ministry, the Accessibility Services Office is also available for support. We are available 8:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for you. Join us in promoting our services, awareness, and addition to the campus.

You can reach the office by email at [email protected], by phone at 914-633-2614 or by stopping by room GR-05 in Amend Hall (across from the Rudin Center). You can also follow us on Twitter @AccessibleIona.

— Emily Brechtel, Coordinator of Accessibility Services