Tennessee State University's Avon Williams Campus is accessible by bus numbers 1, 10, 17, 24, and 25. The closest bus stop to the campus is Charlotte Ave & 10th Ave N. Parking at TSU is free and no permit is required. For more detailed directions to the campus, please visit TSU's website.
The main parking lot is facing the 2nd floor "South Entrance." To the right of that entrance, you may take an outside staircase to the 3rd floor entrance, just above, that opens into the 3rd floor Atrium. Or you can enter at the 2nd floor entrance and take an elevator or interior stairs to the 3rd floor where all convening activities will take place. There will be directional signs the day of the convening that show where the staircase and elevator are located. Registration will be in the Atrium near the elevator/stairs in front of rooms 319-320.
Avon Williams Campus
We have chosen Tennessee State University as our convening location because it is a historically Black university and we seek to invest our resources in Black, indigenous, and other people of color. The Avon Williams campus is named after Avon Nyanza Williams, Jr., a leading African American civil rights lawyer in Tennessee and state senator who represented the plaintiffs in Geier v. Blanton 1972, a case in which he fought and won desegregation in higher education. For a detailed history of the university and its namesake Mr. Williams, see TSU's website.
Our accessibility plan is informed by universal design and disability rights activism. Universal design benefits people of all ages and abilities by making schedules, communications, and the physical environment usable by as many people as possible. We strive to create an event that works for us in all our physical and mental variety.
We must balance our goal to maximize accessibility against limited fiscal resources, and the paradox that sometimes one member’s accommodation is another member’s barrier. Given these constraints, and our commitment to our current venue, we cannot guarantee accessibility for everyone. “No” is not the same message as “we don’t care” or “we don’t believe you” or “we’re comfortable ignoring your needs.” Healthy and Free Tennessee has and will continue to expand accessibility and work hard to accommodate specific accessibility requests when possible. We always welcome feedback on how we can better accommodate our convening attendees. Feel free to contact us anytime with inquiries or concerns via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to work with you!
Considerations for All Attendees
Flashing lights can trigger seizures or other conditions. Please avoid wearing or carrying decorative flashing lights and don’t take photographs using the flash on your camera in public spaces.
TSU’s Avon Williams Campus is not scent-free. For some people, fragrances trigger asthma, migraine, or illness, while some people need to use fragrance to manage pain and mood. If you can, please avoid wearing perfumes, colognes, or essential oils so that chemically injured community members can comfortably attend.
Please ask for consent for all activities during the conference. Please accept no for an answer for any request or activity. Please do not touch other people without asking. This includes hands on knees, backs, shoulders, and hugs.
There is only one vending machine in the building that will be unlocked/available on Saturday. It is located in the Atrium Cafe on the 3rd floor, but it only has beverages, no food/snacks.
Please don’t pet, distract, talk to, or take photos of service animals.
Childcare will be provided Saturday Oct 5th by Ms. Nella Pearl Frierson. Please indicate whether you will need childcare when you submit your registration.
We will not be providing ASL, CART, or other language interpretation/translation at this event.
TSU Avon Williams - Space Details
All of the convening spaces are on the 3rd floor except the lactation room, which is called the "Blue Tiger Room" located on the 2nd floor, room 206. The lactation room is a small windowless room with an overhead fluorescent light, but with a lamp in the room if yellow light is preferred. There is a small table and one chair. Breastfeeding mothers and parents are welcome in all of the conference spaces, but the door to the lactation room locks from within if you desire privacy.
Image description: floor plan of the 3rd floor of the Avon Williams campus.
There are six restrooms on the 3rd floor, four of which are private/single use. The multi-use bathroom with a row of private stalls next to room 303 is the only restroom on the 3rd floor that has a changing table. All of the restrooms are wheelchair accessible. All of the restrooms on the 3rd floor will be designated as gender neutral for the convening. We will provide scent-free soaps in all of the restrooms on the 3rd floor.
Carpet can make wheeled travel more challenging. All rooms are wheelchair accessible but some parts of the Auditorium, the Capitol Room 320 which is the quiet room, and breakout Training rooms 1 & 2 are carpeted.
Temperature in Building
We cannot control the internal temperature at TSU. Bring layers to add in chilly breakout rooms, subtract in hot ones, and ensure you’re comfortable in a wide range of weather both inside and outside the venue.
TSU is an alcohol-free and tobacco-free campus.
Detailed Room Descriptions
Image description: Atrium set up with round tables where meals and the keynote will take place
The Capitol room 320, just off the atrium, will be a quiet room for attendees who need a break from the noise of conference activities. Please, no talking in the quiet room. It has fluorescent overhead lights but also has a wall of windows, so enough natural light if needed to avoid turning on the fluorescent lights. Capitol room 320 is carpeted.
Image description: Capitol Room 320 will be the quiet room
The Auditorium seats 250 people. The auditorium at TSU has yellow lights and does not have fluorescent lighting, but there is no natural light. Some parts of the auditorium are carpeted.
Image description: Auditorium where plenaries will take place
Room 318 fits 35 people. It has a wall of windows, so enough natural light if needed to avoid turning on the fluorescent lights.
Image description: Room 318 is a breakout room
Room 311 fits 30 people. It has a wall of windows, so enough natural light if needed to avoid turning on the fluorescent lights. This room’s lights are set to detect motion, so even if the switches are flipped on, you may need to walk into the room for the lights to come on.
Image description: Room 311 is a breakout room
Room 353 fits 50 people and is set up with stadium seating. It has no natural light/windows, only fluorescent lights, so people with fluorescent light sensitivities will not be able to attend panels comfortably in this room.
Image description: Room 353 is a breakout room
Training Room 1 fits 35 people. It has a wall of windows, so enough natural light if needed to avoid turning on the fluorescent lights. Training Room 1 is carpeted.
Image description: Training Room 1 is a breakout room
Training Room 2 fits 50 people. It has two walls of windows, so enough natural light if needed to avoid turning on the fluorescent lights. Training Room 1 is carpeted.
Image description: Training Room 2 is a breakout room
Color Communication Badges
HFTNcon2019 uses a three-color communication system at our events. The color communication badge stickers are both different colors (red, yellow, and blue) and shapes (star, circle, heart). Place these on the badges given at registration so that others can easily find and identify your preference. Be sure to place a sticker on the front and the back of your nametag in case it flips over.
Attendees are not required to actively participate but are required to respect the boundaries and choices of those who do. Please be aware of people who are using stickers on their badges and act accordingly:
A BLUE STAR sticker means that the person is actively seeking communication; they have trouble initiating conversations but want to be approached by people who are interested in talking.
A YELLOW CIRCLE sticker means that the person only wants to talk to people they recognize, not by strangers or people they only know from the Internet. The yellow sticker wearer might approach strangers to talk, and that is okay; the approached people are welcome to speak back to them in that case. But unless you have already met the person face-to-face, you should not approach them to talk.
A RED HEART sticker means that the person probably does not want to talk to anyone, or only wants to talk to a few people. The person might approach others to talk, and that is okay; the approached people are welcome to speak back to them in that case. But unless they have told you already that you are on their “red list”, you should not approach them to talk.
Having NO STICKERS means that a person is comfortable verbally confirming their boundaries and social availability. Please be mindful that some people are not comfortable being touched regardless of their social availability.
Unsure what sticker to use? Change your mind? Need time to digest a difficult topic? Please feel free to change stickers anytime or as many times as you need. Additional stickers may be found at the Registration table.
Via Autistic Advocacy: Color communication badges are a good aid because they allow people to express their current communication preference quickly, nonverbally, and simply – people can change what card is showing if their preference changes. They are a good way to prevent situations where someone is caught in a social situation they do not want to be in, or situations where someone wants to talk but can’t initiate. This means that communication badges can help make conferences, conventions, meetings, college campuses, and other spaces more accessible. People with communication impairments, people who have trouble expressing their communication preferences, and people who have trouble reading social cues about communication preference, may find color communication badges useful. Color communication badges also help all people, abled or disabled, to more easily and effectively let people know whether they want to be approached for conversations or not. This can create a positive impact on the social atmosphere where communication badges are being used.