Accessibility and Inclusion

Accessibility and Inclusion at the 49th DPS Meeting

The Division for Planetary Science is dedicated to creating a welcoming and accessible environment for all meeting attendees. If you have specific accessibility requirements or requests, please complete the Meeting Inclusion Request Form. During the meeting, please see the registration desk with your questions and concerns.

The 49th DPS meeting will take place 15–20 October 2017 at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo, Utah.

Bathrooms, Nursing, and Quiet Rooms

For this meeting, there will be gender-neutral bathrooms available and labeled. These bathrooms will double as family bathrooms with infant changing tables. See the maps of Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 for bathroom locations.
A nursing mothers room is located on the first floor, next to the south end elevators. This room is equipped with a refrigerator and comfortable seating.

A designated quiet room is also located on the first floor, next to the south end elevators. This room is for meeting participants who would like to take a few moments to unwind and regroup in a quiet, safe space.


From the Utah Valley Convention Center (UVCC) website: The UVCC is ADA-compliant and offers many features that make the facility friendly to guests with disabilities. The UVCC is responsible for the permanent building of ADA access requirements such as, but not limited to: wheelchair access, elevator standards, restroom standards, internal hallways, and doors.
Elevators are located on the south and north sides of the convention center, on all floors.

Accessible parking is located in front of the convention center on the south side, as well as in a small parking lot on the northwest side.

A limited number of wheelchairs are available at no fee. They can be checked out at our Administrative Offices on Level 1M on the south side of the building. Guests must provide a government-issued ID in exchange for the wheelchair. The ID will be returned when the wheelchair is returned. These wheelchairs are for event use only and may not leave the premises.

ADA-recognized service animals (guide dogs and mini-horses) are welcome at the UVCC, provided they are leashed or under similar control as appropriate. The owner must take full responsibility for the animal.

Ramps and railings will be present to access all stages. The seats will be placed widely enough to accommodate wheelchairs.


The DPS asks that all attendees of the meeting work to make it an inclusive space. Please keep the following in mind during the meeting:
  • Keep pathways clear for people who use wheelchairs or who have limited mobility.
  • Please minimize the use of fragrances and scented products (e.g., colognes and perfumes). The UVCC is a non-smoking facility in all public areas; if you smoke, do so outside in designated areas, and please wash your hands after smoking to reduce the scent.
  • Ask before photographing anyone and do not use flash photography without permission.
  • Always use (and wait for) a microphone if one is available, whether presenting or asking questions.
  • Please respect the preferred pronouns of others.
  • Reserve the front row and aisle seats for people with accessibility needs.
  • Respect the privacy of people with visible disabilities.
  • Use inclusive rather than ableist language. For example, instead of referring to a parking spot as "handicapped," please refer to it as "disability accessible" or "accessible."
  • Additionally, avoid making contrast between a person with a disability and "normal," e.g., do not say, "I'm sorry normal people aren't aware of accessibility for blind people." Say, "I'm sorry sighted people aren't aware of accessibility for blind people."
  • You may offer help, but do not assume that help is needed. If they refuse help, respect this.
  • Do not touch or stare at a person's mobility aid or guide animal under any circumstances. If someone has a helper (e.g., pushing a wheelchair or sign language interpreter), do not talk to them as though they are a stand-in; speak to/look at the person with the disability.
  • Do not touch someone without permission and do not be offended if they refuse (even a handshake). For some people with mental disabilities, this can be a very personal issue and their preferences should be respected.
  • Presenters should follow the following guidelines for making their presentations accessible:
    • Use a large, easily readable font and sufficient color contrast.
    • Describe any graphics or figures, and remark on important features.
    • Use colors that are accessible to anyone who is colorblind (e.g., by avoiding red-green color pairings).
    • Use captions for audio/video content.
    • Speak clearly into the microphone while facing the audience. Keep your lips visible for anyone who speechreads.
    • If you have paper handouts, also provide electronic versions for people who may need it to use reader software.
    • Avoid using jargon and idioms.
    • Give sufficient time for conference participants to process the information.

Accessibility Is a Work in Progress

Information on details of accessibility for this meeting is a work in progress, and there exist several remaining accessibility barriers that need to be addressed during this and future meetings. Some of these barriers include:
  • Unless there is a specific request, this meeting will not have American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation. If you need ASL interpretation, please complete the Meeting Inclusion Request Form as soon as possible and we will do our best to accommodate.
  • Many of the conference materials are not yet optimized for use with reader software.
  • Videos played or created during the meeting may not have closed captioning.
  • Poster sessions may be inaccessible to blind and visually impaired participants when the poster presenter or a reader is not present.
  • The conference site and hotels may use scented cleaning products.
  • The culture within astronomy does not generally place a high priority on accessibility above and beyond the legal requirements. Many in our community, including several organizers, are in the process of learning about the principles of universal design and disability justice. A goal of the AAS is to change our community's culture to prioritize making astronomy accessible for all.
Some portions of this page derive from the Inclusive Astronomy 2015 Conference. Please see the AAS Anti-Harassment Policy for additional guidelines. If you have suggestions for making current and future meetings more accessible, please email