Language Access in Extension
Extension defines “language access” as the strategic and systematic management of multilingual communication within different contexts and across various scales of delivery. With regard to extension activities, language access has two main implications. First, language access involves the provision of appropriate accommodations (e.g., translation and interpretation) to mitigate communication barriers caused by language differences. Second, language access refers to extension’s collective effort to create programming, services, and activities that are culturally responsive and linguistically appropriate for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP). The purpose of creating language access is to ensure equal footing and equitable participation in programs and activities for LEP persons and audiences.
Defining Limited English Proficiency
Understanding Our Responsibilities
In order to comply with Title VI non-discrimination law and the corresponding legal framework for language access accountability, extension commits itself to the following set of organizational standards:
- Provide free language support services for LEP audiences
- Provide public notice of language support services
- Maintain records of efforts to identify and serve LEP audiences
- Engage in language access training
- Monitor and evaluate language support services
- Expand programming access to underserved populations
Learn about our legal responsibilities for translating text-based materials (decision tree).
View the Language Access presentation recorded on Jan 5, 2023.
Compliance Resources for Language Access
Language access is a right. Persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) are protected from national, origin-based discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As recipients of federal financial support, K-State Research and Extension, extension’s programs, services, and activities are accountable to the federal laws and policies that protect the rights of LEP persons. In accordance with our organizational values and the federal accountability framework for language access, it is K-State Research and Extension’s policy to ensure that persons with limited English proficiency have meaningful access to our programs, services, and activities. This policy aims to ensure that no person is subject to prohibited discrimination based on the language they speak or their ability to communicate in English. The resources on this page are designed to help extension professionals not only meet federal requirements, but to go beyond in using inclusive practices that enhance communication and build relationships with linguistically and culturally diverse audiences.
Understanding Language Access Needs in Local Communities
It is each extension professional's responsibility to understand the language access needs of the communities they serve. Local units are expected to provide a synopsis of their language access situation and plans to address language access needs on the Annual Civil Rights Check-up. Census data has been compiled in the document below to assist with this responsibility.
- Language Access Census Data (by county) table
- Pivot Table User Guide comming soon!
K-State Research and Extension administration has developed a Language Access Plan Guide to help local units.
Keeping Records of Your Efforts to Serve LEP Audiences
Ways to improve and document civil rights compliance efforts for LEP audiences:
- Keep an available copy of the KSRE Language Access Plan in each public-facing extension office
- Log LEP requests and actions in the LEP Request & Actions Log
- Retain written communications related to language access and accommodations for LEP individuals (including internal communications)
- Publish and promote public notifications of available language access services
- Hold on to program artifacts, like multilingual ads, evaluations, and handouts
- Document correspondences with community stakeholders connecting with LEP audiences
- Track direct educational contacts who speak a language other than English
- Utilize multilingual materials produced by KSRE and cooperating organizations
- Learn about and document the use of LanguageLine
Federal Accountability Framework for Lanuage Access
- Executive Order 13166
- LEP Guidance from the Department of Justice
- 2022 Memorandum to federal agencies from the Office of the Attorney General .
- USDA guidance for Improving Access to Services for Persons with LEP for USDA-funded entities
- NIFA guidance for LEP Implementing Strategy for Federally Assisted Programs
Learn more about federal resources and guidance for improving LEP access at www.lep.gov
Discrimination Complaints Involving Language Access
Kansas State University is committed to maintaining academic, housing, and work environments that are free of discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment. Discrimination based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, ancestry, disability, genetic information, military status, or veteran status is prohibited. Retaliation against a person for reporting or objecting to discrimination or harassment or for participating in an investigation or other proceeding is a violation of PPM Chapter 3010, whether discrimination or harassment occurred. PPM 3010 is not intended for, and will not be used to, infringe on academic freedom or to censor or punish students, faculty, employees, or staff who exercise their legitimate First Amendment rights.
In PPM 3010, discrimination is treating an individual adversely in employment, housing, or academic decisions based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, ancestry, disability, genetic information, military status, or veteran status without a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the treatment, or maintaining seemingly neutral policies, practices, or requirements that have a disparate impact on employment, on-campus housing, or academic opportunities of members of the above-listed protected categories without a valid business or academic reason.
The person designated with responsibility for coordination of compliance efforts and receipt of inquiries concerning the nondiscrimination policy is the university's Title IX Coordinator: Director of the Office of Institutional Equity, firstname.lastname@example.org, 103 Edwards Hall, 1810 Kerr Drive, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas 66506-4801. Telephone: 785-532-6220 | TTY or TRS: 711. The campus ADA Coordinator is the Director of Employee Relations and Engagement, who may be reached at email@example.com or 103 Edwards Hall, 1810 Kerr Drive, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas 66506-4801, 785-532-6277 and TTY or TRS 711.
Complaints pertaining to Cooperative Extension may also be filed with the United States Department of Agriculture. For specific questions or to file a discrimination complaint, please contact:
Kansas State University
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Access the online USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form.