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Press Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office Reaches ADA Settlement with North Dakota State University Regarding the Sanford Health Athletic Complex

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of North Dakota

 

FARGO - United States Attorney Drew H. Wrigley announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota completed its investigation and entered into a settlement agreement with North Dakota State University to resolve allegations that the Sanford Health Athletic Complex violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"). The Sanford Health Athletic Complex opened in 2016, and the facility is a multipurpose 5,685-seat arena used for basketball, wrestling, and training.

The settlement agreement resolves an ADA complaint alleging that the Sanford Health Athletic Complex was not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. During its investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office found that the Sanford Health Athletic Complex did not provide sufficient wheelchair seating, seating for companions to users of wheelchairs, accessible aisle seating, and further, that the accessible seating provided was not integrated and dispersed throughout the facility. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also found that the Sanford Health Athletic Complex did not provide adequate accessible parking, and the toilet rooms, signage, concession stands, ramps, drinking fountains, and assistive listening devices did not comply with the ADA’s requirements. Under the settlement agreement, NDSU will provide adequate, integrated, and dispersed wheelchair and companion seating, provide proper accessible parking, and cure all other noted violations of the ADA.

Under federal law, discrimination on the basis of a disability in the services, programs, or activities of a public entity such as North Dakota State University is prohibited. Newly constructed buildings, like the Sanford Health Athletic Complex, are required to comply with the

ADA’s program accessibility requirements and be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs.

"Protecting access for individuals with disabilities will continue to be a priority for the District of North Dakota," said U.S. Attorney Wrigley. "North Dakota State University cooperated throughout this investigation and I commend its commitment to take swift remedial action to address all ADA violations when these barriers to accessibility were brought to its attention," adding that "the SHAC is a marvelous venue, and this settlement will help ensure access for all to enjoy the hosted events in comfort."

This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melissa H. Burkland and Tara Vavrosky Iversen of the District of North Dakota.

2020 marks the 30th Anniversary of the ADA. The Justice Department plays a central role in advancing the nation’s goal of equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. The Justice Department will continue to use its enforcement and technical assistance tools to eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Any member of the public who wishes to file a complaint alleging that any place of public accommodation or public entity in North Dakota is not accessible to persons with disabilities may file a complaint online at ada.gov or contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 701-297-7400.

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Contact

Terry W. Van Horn 701-297-7458 terry.vanhorn@usdoj.gov

Updated January 29, 2020