Disability Services coordinates services and accommodates for individuals with disabilities, including students and their guests, attending or participating in any of the Commencement week ceremonies. University Commencement as well as all individual school ceremonies and the Baccalaureate Service are held in wheelchair accessible venues. Services are available to guests who use wheelchairs, have limited mobility, are elderly and need assistance, and those who need sign language interpretation. During Commencement week events, Disability Services staff, Event Hosts, and Public Safety officers will be available to assist guests with disabilities.

For more information about disability services at individual school ceremonies and the Baccalaureate Service, please contact Disability Services at access@columbia.edu.

You may check the following sections for additional information about accessibility at Columbia University during Commencement Week.

Parents, Families, and Friends for University Commencement, May 18, 2016.

Designated Gates for guests with disabilities, limited mobility, the elderly needing assistance, or those needing sign language interpretation.

The following gates should be used:

  • 116th Street and Amsterdam Avenue
    Gate opens at 8:30 a.m.
  • 115th Street and Amsterdam Avenue (between Wallach and Hartley Halls)
    Gate opens at 8:30 a.m.

It is important that guests with disabilities enter campus through the above designated gates.  Event Hosts will be available at these gates with wheelchairs to transport guests needing additional assistance to the seating area. The general admission gates on 114th Street have stairs and considerable distance from the designated seating areas. The large crowds at Commencement will make movement on campus difficult. Additionally, there is no access across campus on Commencement Day. Movement from Broadway to Amsterdam Avenue may require traveling long distances around the campus perimeter. Therefore, we suggest you consider the location of these gates when planning your arrival to campus.


There are two dedicated seating areas on campus during Commencement for guests with disabilities. Guests with disabilities do not need to alert the University in advance to reserve seating or to make other arrangements. No special tickets are required to enter designated seating areas; general admission tickets may be used. The locations of the two seating areas are as follows:

  • Walk near Kent Hall (with seating, wheelchair accessibility and sign-language interpretation). The best gate to use to gain access to this area is at 116th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.
  • Tent adjacent to Hamilton Hall (with seating, wheelchair accessibility, sign-language interpretation and closed-caption video of the Commencement exercises). The best gate to use to gain access to this tent is at 116th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.


There is no on-campus parking. However, there are several parking garages in the neighborhood. Drivers are advised to drop off and pick up passengers with disabilities at either of the accessible gates listed above. View a list of area parking garages.


A wheelchair accessible shuttle bus will circle the perimeter of campus to pick up guests with disabilities, their families and those who may need assistance. The bus will transport guests to the designated disability access gates (116th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, 115th Street and Amsterdam Avenue) Event staff will be available with wheelchairs at the gates to assist guests to their seats. Because of the large crowd at Commencement, the waiting period for the shuttle can be long. To avoid waiting for the shuttle, we suggest you plan to arrive to campus at the designated disability access gates.

Services for Guests with Visual Disabilities

Large-print Commencement programs will be available at both disability access seating areas on campus.

Services for Guests who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

The University's Commencement exercises will include sign language interpretation in both disability access areas. All video screens, including those in the disability access seating areas, will have captioning available during the Commencement exercises.

Contact Us

For further information, call Disability Services at 212-854-2388 or email access@columbia.edu.

Campus Access Information

Printed copies of the Disability Access Map are available at the Public Safety booths on 116th Street at Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue or at the DS office.

Please note: Only College Walk and lower campus (South Lawn) will be open to guests during the Commencement exercises. After the main ceremony is completed (at approximately noon), the entire campus will open, and guests with disabilities may use the elevator to upper campus at the east end of Dodge Hall. (Public Safety officers will be available to assist guests.)

Graduating Students

Commencement Day

Students requiring accommodations should contact Disability Services. Please note that the University Commencement is held on Low Plaza and the processional route for graduates includes stairs. Those graduates whose disabilities limit their ability to walk or negotiate stairs should contact Disability Services to arrange for accessible seating.

Disability Services can be reached via email at access@columbia.edu or at (212) 854-2388.

School Ceremonies

Contact Disability Services with any specific requests for information about accessibility of the venues for these ceremonies or to request accommodations.

Disability Services can be reached via email at access@columbia.edu or at (212) 854-2388.

Faculty and Staff

Contact Disability Services via email at disability@columbia.edu or at (212) 854-2388 for more information.


Last updated March 28, 2016