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Policy Manual – Information and Communications Technology Accessibility Policy
Section 902 Information and Communications Technology Accessibility Policy
Responsible Office: Information Technology
The rapid proliferation of information technology as the medium for University programs and services can unintentionally exclude persons with disabilities from opportunities and full participation in university activities.
This policy supports minimizing barriers to higher education for persons with disabilities, improvement of learning outcomes for persons with and without disabilities, and fulfilment of the university’s statutory obligations by establishing responsibility for developing, maintaining and monitoring outcomes related to standards and expectations regarding the design, acquisition, compatibility and use of Information and Communications Technologies in any University activity, such as academic programs, services, communications, events, etcetera.
The University of Maine System is committed to providing equality of opportunity to persons with disabilities, including equal access to University programs, services and activities that are dependent upon, or involve the use of, Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
All campuses, colleges, departments, offices, employees and all other entities of the University are responsible for ensuring that Information and Communications Technology, including content, documents and other outputs created using such technologies, included as a component of University programs, services, or activities, meet accessibility requirements for equal and effective access by persons with disabilities.
“Information and Communications Technology” includes but is not limited to:
● Web sites, web pages and associated web-based applications
● Electronic Documents such as word processing, spreadsheet and PDF files or those produced by other applications.
● Multimedia including audio and visual content delivered electronically, videos projected in a classroom, streaming video, photos, charts, and works of art distributed or accessed electronically.
● Communications via email, web, video, audio or other electronic medium.
● Computer and non-computer equipment with technological human interfaces, such as kiosks, printers, vending machines, etc.
● Signage, such as electronic information displays, score boards, marquees
● Software, such as off the shelf packages, client-server applications
Examples of activities that are often dependent on ICT include, but are not limited to:
● Courses and Instruction
● Distance Learning
● Recruitment and Admissions
● Public events
● Athletic events
● Process Documentation
● Business Process Improvement
● Employee Communications
Responsibilities – Universities and Their Departments, Program and Service Areas
● Ensure that employees and students are regularly made aware of this policy and the UMS commitment to equal access.
● Establish a process for reporting and responding to accessibility problems.
● Regularly review ICT, information assets, and business processes for accessibility risks and problems.
● Develop and implement tactics to monitor and resolve ICT accessibility issues.
● Incorporate ICT accessibility awareness in business processes, such as procurement, communications, training, budgeting, program review, documentation development, etc.
● Identify and plan for necessary investments to address accessibility issues.
● Refer accessibility complaints to Equal Opportunity officials.
● Support employee and student participation in ICT accessibility training.
All exemptions to this policy must be approved by the Chief Information Officer, based on recommendations from campus leadership. Specific procedures for requesting and reviewing exemption requests will be specified in an Administrative Practice Letter (APL). Exemption decisions made under this policy may be appealed to the System Equal Opportunity Officer to determine whether the decision is in accordance with university policy and supporting APLs.
Accessibility Compliance Standard
Recognizing that standards for ICT Accessibility are fluid and must respond to changes in technological capabilities over time, this policy empowers the University Services: Information Technology Accessibility Committee (ITAC) as the standards recommending body for ICT Accessibility Compliance and the Chief Information Officer as the standards approval authority. ITAC will establish and execute processes for reviewing, updating, recommending, communicating, and publishing UMS ICT Accessibility Compliance Standards for the University System. These standards will be considered part of this policy.
Such standards will at a minimum support compliance with US Federal and State law and regulations regarding ICT Accessibility and Equal Opportunity.
The Equal Opportunity Office, in cooperation with University Services: Information Technology is responsible for overseeing compliance, initiating reviews of this Policy, and sponsoring audits, with regard to state and federal regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Non-technical questions or concerns regarding compliance with the policy, or complaints of discrimination, should be directed to the Equal Opportunity Center of Excellence.
University Services: Information Technology is responsible for developing, implementing, and monitoring controls and procedures to ensure equal access to ICT services and resources. Questions or concerns regarding compliance with ICT accessibility standards and their application should be directed to the Chief Information Officer (CIO), or his designee.
The IT Accessibility Committee, chartered by the CIO and comprised of a diverse and System wide representation of ICT stakeholders, will continue to monitor, analyze and make recommendations to the CIO and University Services: Information Technology ICT Accessibility Coordinator, on matters of ICT accessibility.
The Chief Information Officer will oversee the development of an implementation plan, in coordination with the System Equal Opportunity Officer.
Contact related to this policy will be maintained in a supporting Administrative Practice Letter and ICT Accessibility website.