Following months of constructive discussion and community input, the Chancellor’s Executive Team has approved a new University policy governing information technology accessibility. The Information and Communication Technology Accessibility Policy—which will be published and go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018—affirms the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“This policy will support the University’s ongoing and steadfast effort to enhance accessibility across campus,” Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Samuel J. Scozzafava Jr. says. “Through improved technology and increased education, we hope to remove as many barriers as we can for individuals with disabilities. Each member of our campus community plays an important role in our efforts to enhance accessibility. We must all prioritize accessibility and leverage universal design as we update and create new web content, classroom materials and many other forms of digital content.”
Since April 2015, a broad-based University committee has been working to develop the policy, and in 2016, the Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion formally recommended adoption of a comprehensive policy. The policy was crafted with input from students, faculty, staff and senior leaders through direct outreach and a formal open comment period.
The new policy ensures that information and communication technologies used on campus are accessible to all members of the University community. It also requires that services, products and content acquired or created by the University on or after Jan. 1, 2018, must be accessible to individuals with disabilities, pursuant to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 AA standards.
Additionally, a new cross-campus working group has been created to develop a comprehensive remediation plan in response to a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The working group is charged with assessing the University’s technology and current web properties. Like many other universities and colleges that have received OCR complaints, the University is working closely with OCR to remediate barriers to existing content and to put processes in place to ensure future content is fully accessible and compliant.