University employees and students have specific responsibilities when it comes to ensuring equal access to University Information and Communication Technologies.
Student Responsibilities and Expectations
- Promptly advise your campus’s Disability Services department or staff of any disability-related needs. For example, if you have low-vision and use a screen magnifier or screen reader, you must work with your campus’s disability service providers to create a formal “accommodation letter” for your instructors. Given that it may take several weeks to check all course materials for compatibility with your assistive technology and basic accessibility features (such as captions on videos), the sooner you advise your school of your needs, the better.
- Make your needs known to your instructors. Your Disability Services department will give you an accommodation letter to show to your instructors. They may also work directly with your instructors to assist them in checking course materials and plans for accessibility. Either way, the more information the instructor has about our need the better position they will be in to ensure that all course materials are accessible.
- Promptly notify your campus’s Disability Services department of any changes in the status of your need and any disability-related difficulty you are having with any aspect of a course.
- Notify your instructor and your campus Disability Services office when course materials or processes are not accessible.
- Notify your campus EEO office if you feel your are being discriminated against because of a disability.
- You should expect that accommodations or alternatives provided to you because of a disability give you access to the same information and opportunities, with the same level of integration, and with a substantially similar ease of use.
- You should not expect an accommodation for an activity where the activity would be fundamentally invalidated by the accommodation. For example, since adequate vision is a pre-requisite for a pilot’s license, you cannot expect an accommodation that would allow you to receive pilot training if your vision is below that which is required. However, you can expect that an Art History course would provide detailed text-based descriptions of art works, or that a music piece, for a person with low-hearing, would also be represented by a detailed text-based description.
Employee (Faculty and Staff) Responsibilities
- Read and understand the University’s policy on Accessibility of Programs and services.
- Make your response to, and mitigation of, accessibility issues your top priority.
- Report problems to your campus’s Disability Services office or EEO.
- Ensure that ALL materials and technologies you provide/support to the general student, employee, general public populations, meet accessibility standards. These are known as “public accommodations” and must be accessible per U.S. Federal law, even if there are no known immediate accessibility needs.
- Ensure that you have a TESTED plan to mitigate any accessibility issues with materials and technologies you provide/support to specific limited-size populations. While materials and technologies for these limited, closed, populations are not required to meet accessibility guidelines when there isn’t a known need, U.S. Federal law requires that you have a plan for making the materials accessible immediately upon request. Several hours to one business day may qualify as “immediate”. Several days DOES NOT quality as “immediate”. Some technologies, such as captioning for video, cannot practically be implemented immediately and therefore you may need to caption all the video you produce. For example, if you are relying on a single 10 minute video for consumption by a single course, it would not be difficult to caption it upon request if you already have a tested technical plan in place. However, if you have ten 30 minute videos, that you plan on making available to several courses, it is not reasonable to expect to be able to caption them all only after receiving the request.
- Understand that it is illegal to meet disability needs by a means that does not provide “equal access, similarly integrated, with substantially the same ease of use.” For example, if your department utilizes an inaccessible website or tool for your clients’ use, that is available 24×7 from the clients’ homes, your accommodation for users of assistive technologies must also be available 24×7, from home, and provide the same level of access and ease of use. Hence, a “telephone” alternative, where clients call your office for service during business hours, is never an acceptable alternative accommodation for an inaccessible website. Even a 24×7 telephone service would be unlikely to meet the legal standard unless it provided access to ALL of the same resources, information, opportunities, etc.
- When fielding accessibility-related complaints about access or discrimination based on disability, advise the client of the process for submitting a complaint AND alert your campus EEO office of the situation.