The American Astronomical Society and 232nd 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 232nd meeting of the American Astronomical Society will take place 3-7 June 2018 in Denver, Colorado, at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel.
The Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel includes both the hotel rooms and meeting rooms. The following public spaces are accessible:
- Public entrance
- Registration desk
- Concierge desk
- Valet parking
- Self-parking area for cars
- Fitness center
- Swimming pool
- Business center
- Route from public entrance to registration
- Route from public entrance to guest rooms
- Route from public entrance to restaurant
- Route from public entrance to meeting room/ballroom
- Route from public entrance to fitness center
- Route from public entrance to swimming pool
- Route from public entrance to business center
Additionally, accessible guest rooms are available, service animals are welcome, and assistive listening devices are available for meetings.
The AAS asks that all attendees of the 232nd 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 Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.