The Ethics, Feasibility, Opportunities and Challenges of Adopting a Facility Accessibility Design Standard (FADS) for Queen’s University
Tan, Rebecca K.
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This research project seeks out the underlying structural and institutionalized barriers that threaten the development of a Facility Accessibility Design Standard (FADS) for Queen’s University, and focuses on processes as the unit of analysis rather than the content of a FADS itself. In essence, it is the cultural components of campus planning that are examined in depth; why it is that a FADS has been adopted and implemented at only one university in Ontario, Brock University, and what barriers have prevented other institutions and Queen’s from developing one. Because culture is the focus of this research, two literature reviews were conducted to demonstrate how Foucauldian planning theory and the theories of disablement overlap in planning practices that contradict professional planning ethics, but are so entrenched in campus institutions that it becomes difficult to reverse. Furthermore, the research reflects findings from six key informant interviews (four with individuals in decision-making positions at Queen’s and two with individuals who led the FADS development process at Brock), a walking tour of Brock’s campus, a visioning workshop with members of the Queen’s community, and a review of key policy documents. Ultimately, this research concludes that path dependency, a theory of historical sociology, can accurately capture why decision-makers at Queen’s can say inclusivity is important but also possess a reluctance to go above and beyond provincial legislation to become more accessible than is required. A path dependent analysis shows that the process of establishing new, more inclusive culture of accessibility may be emerging at Queen’s, with individuals in leadership positions taking charge. To make this cultural shift more than a possibility and a reality, the following are recommended courses of action: centralizing accessibility into one office for clear leadership, bettering inter-departmental communications with a knowledge transfer guide, and continuing spreading awareness and creating interest in accessibility initiatives on campus. In following these steps, the hope is that Queen’s evolves from a state of individual to institutional readiness to adopt a FADS.