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GrizTix not in compliance with new ADA regulations - News -...

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GrizTix not in compliance with new ADA regulations By Mark Boatman Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 Updated: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 04:04

When University of Montana alumnus and disability advocate Darren Larson needs to order accessible tickets through GrizTix, he said it turns out to be an annoying process. Larson, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, would like to be able to order his tickets online but GrizTix hasn't offered that as an option for those seeking wheelchair accessible seats. His only choice is to order them by phone and this is difficult for Larson. Larson's speech is affected by his cerebral palsy and this makes it hard for him to be understood on the phone. Larson said it's annoying to have to repeat himself several times to the ticket agent. He added that it's probably annoying for the agent as well. Larson gets frustrated with extra steps involved with getting the tickets he needs. "Is it fair that I have to go through more hassle than you do to get my tickets?" Larson asked. The extra hassle experienced by Larson may become a thing of the past thanks to an action by the U.S. Department of Justice. Recent updates to the Americans with Disabilities Act that became law last month require ticket outlets like GrizTix to make disability seating available for purchase online, but the Adams Center has yet to fully comply with the updated civil rights law. Mary Muse, director of the Adams Center, oversees GrizTix and said the switch to online purchasing hasn't happened because the current system gives them control in making sure people who need accessible seats can get them. Under the existing system, people wanting to purchase accessible seats online must fill out a special ADA form on the GrizTix website. The customer indicates how many accessible seats they would like and for what event. Then the form is sent to GrizTix and a representative contacts the customer in regards to their request. Tickets for accessible seating can also be purchased in person at GrizTix outlets located in the Adams Center, Wordens, Southgate Mall and The Source in the University Center.

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GrizTix not in compliance with new ADA regulations - News -...

http://www.montanakaimin.com/news/griztix-not-in-complianc...

Muse said the online form helps GrizTix understand the needs of customers with disabilities and helps prevent others from purchasing seats in an accessible area. She added that big shows with high ticket demand cause some people without disabilities to try to get accessible seats. Muse said Missoula residents are mostly considerate and bad behavior is rare. "It has happened, but I would not say that it's a common occurrence," Muse said. Muse said GrizTix can switch to online ordering, but her concern is that availability of accessible seating will decrease because less monitoring will be in place. "We could do it either way, but right now from our perspective it feels like we create the best equity by managing it and having an interface with the people," Muse said. Muse is open to changing ticketing policy if people request it because the objective of GrizTix is to provide a level of service that customers ask for. Muse said there is always room for improvement, but it's important that people with disabilities bring challenges to her attention. "I can't solve a problem I don't know about," Muse said. Larson said that GrizTix requiring a special form to get tickets is a convenient excuse to say that they are thinking about the interests of people with disabilities. "That doesn't change the fact that the law is the law," Larson said. Larson said it "sounds ludicrous" that Muse and GrizTix won't comply with the updated ADA law until people with disabilities ask for online ordering. Larson said following the law is the best way to ensure equal access and if one person wants online ordering they should be accommodated. Larson is a disability advocate with Summit Independent Living Center in Missoula. The Americans with Disabilities Act is a 1990 civil rights law that was signed by President George H. W. Bush and prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. Updated regulations that deal with public entities have been added to Title II of the ADA. Public entities selling tickets are now required to ensure individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to purchase tickets for accessible seating. This includes distributing tickets through the same methods available to the general public. The UM ADA Committee is charged with making sure university programs and facilities comply with regulations. Barb Seekins, UM's ADA committee chair, said they are working with GrizTix on the ticketing issue. Seekins and members of Muse's staff recently attended a national webinar on ADA issues and said that it provided a lot of information.

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GrizTix not in compliance with new ADA regulations - News -...

http://www.montanakaimin.com/news/griztix-not-in-complianc...

According to Seekins, if the GrizTix issue isn't addressed, an action plan will be drawn up with the changes needed and a deadline given. Seekins said the ADA committee will make sure GrizTix offers online ordering of accessible tickets. "They have to," Seekins said. "It's the law." Seekins encourages people to fill out a barrier report on the University website if they have any access issues. Seekins said reports become permanent records of access complaints and how they are handled. A copy of each report is sent to President Engstrom's office. "I think it's really important just for us to have that record, and hopefully we'll get stuff fixed right away," Seekins said. UM Legal Counsel David Aronofsky said, "We are aware of the ticket rules and we'll be complying with them just as we comply with all other ADA and state disability laws and rules." mark.boatman@umontana.edu

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Griztix not in compliance with new ADA regulations  

Montana Kaimin April 20 2011

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