Accessibility and Inclusion

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The following has been adapted from the Inclusive Astronomy 2015 Conference. Please see the AAS Anti-Harassment Policy for additional guidelines.

The American Astronomical Society and 234th AAS meeting organizers, working with members of the Inclusive Astronomy Community, are 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 234th meeting of the American Astronomical Society will take place 9-13 June 2019 in st. Louis, at the St. Louis Union Station.

• Accessible guest rooms have a 34-inch wide opening

• Hotel has on site accessible self-parking

• Meeting spaces are all accessible
• Pool entrances are all accessible

• Restaurants and lounges are all accessible

• A self-operating lift is available for all pools

• Fitness center entrance is accessible

• Main entrance is accessible

• Pathway to registration desk is accessible

• Registration desk is accessible

• Route to accessible guest rooms is accessible

• Business center entrance is accessible

• Service animals allowed for persons with disabilities

Accessible Parking
· Accessible parking is located in the South and West parking lots. South Parking is located off 18th Street behind the hotel. West Parking is located behind Maggie O'Brien's off 20th Street. Accessible parking is also available through the valet.

· A limited number of wheelchairs are available at no fee for emergency purposes only. They can be requested at the Bell Stand upon arrival for assistance to a guest room or in the case of an emergency. If a wheelchair or scooter need to be rented to be used during your stay, the approved vendor is Missouri Medical Supply and they can be reached at 314-997-3600.

Gender-neutral Bathrooms
· There will be gender-neutral bathrooms available and labeled. One will be located near Regency Ballroom A and another is located between Midway Suite 5 and Midway Suite 6 by the Grand Hall Staircase. This bathroom will double as family bathrooms with infant changing tables.

Nursing Room
· Zephyr Rocket, Lobby Level of Head House Conference Center
This room is equipped with a refrigerator.

· Quiet Room
Meteor, Lobby Level of Head House Conference Center
Monday – Wednesday: 8:00 am – 6:30 pm Thursday: 8:00 am – 2:00 pm

The AAS asks that all attendees of the 234th 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 JW Marriott is a non-smoking hotel 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.
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:

  • We will attempt to arrange for gender-neutral bathrooms in the conference building.
  • We have not yet added detailed information about the building infrastructure (e.g., the distance between various events in separate buildings; the availability of shuttles; the locations of ramps, escalators, and elevators; are the rows between seats wide enough to permit wheelchairs; etc.) or accessibility information for presenters (whether or not they are expected to stand; if there will be bright/harsh lighting; if there will be electrical equipment that could interfere with hearing aids or other mechanical aids; if there will be stairs to get up to the presenting podium).
  • 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.
If you have suggestions for making current and future meetings more accessible, please email