T 5-18-94 MAY 23 1994 DJ 202-PL-771 Mr XX (b)(7) (c) XX SIUC Carbondale, Illinois 62901 Dear Mr.

XX (b)(7)(c)

I am responding to your letter concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities that have rights or responsibilities under the Act. Pursuant to that authority, this letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding the ADA. However, this technical assistance does not constitute a legal interpretation of the statute, and it is not binding on the Department. You have asked whether the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) is required by the ADA to clear snow from the sidewalks on its campus. SIUC is a covered entity under title II, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs offered by public entities. A public entity is required to provide "program access", that is, the entity is required to operate each service, program, or activity it provides so that, when viewed in its entirety, the service, program, or activity is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. 28 C.F.R. 35.150. See also section II-5.000 of the enclosed Title II Technical Assistance Manual. Providing program access does not necessarily require a public entity to make each of its facilities fully accessible. For example, program access can be achieved by the relocation of services from inaccessible to accessible buildings or by the assignment of aids to program beneficiaries. A public entity is not required to take any action that it can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of its services, programs, or activities or in undue financial and administrative burdens. 28 C.F.R. ​ 35.150(a)(3).

cc: Records, Chrono, Wodatch, Blizard, Hill, FOIA, Friedlander n:\udd\hill\policylt\ XX 2.ltr

01-03110

With respect to the situation you describe, if SIUC has responsibility for, or authority over, sidewalks or other public walkways, it must ensure that any such sidewalks and walkways that are necessary to meet the program access requirement are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. To meet the program access requirement, a public entity may be required to remove obstacles blocking the passage of persons using wheelchairs or other devices to assist mobility. The title II regulation also requires covered entities to "maintain in operable condition those features of facilities and equipment that are required to be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities by the Act or this part." 28 C.F.R. ​ 35.133. Therefore, to the extent SIUC is required by the Act to provide accessible sidewalks, the Act also requires maintenance of those sidewalks in accessible condition. Such required maintenance could include reasonable snow removal efforts. Title 11 specifically provides that "isolated or temporary interruptions" are permitted. 28 C.F.R. ​ 35.133. Therefore, the Act would be violated only to the extent the interruptions in accessibility "persist beyond a reasonable period of time" or are "due to improper or inadequate maintenance." See enclosed title II regulations, p. 35707. The title II regulation also requires a public entity to make reasonable modifications in its policies, practices, or

procedures when "... necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the public entity can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity." 28 C.F.R. ​ 35.130(b)(7). Under this provision, title II might require SIUC to modify its snow removal procedures if such modification is necessary to ensure that, aside from temporary and unavoidable situations, its sidewalks are not blocked by impediments to travel by wheelchair. I am enclosing copies of the regulations implementing Title II and the Department's Title II Technical Assistance Manual. I hope that this information is helpful to you. Sincerely,

John L. Wodatch Chief Public Access Section

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