A PDF version of this policy is at the bottom of the page.
University Operations – Information Services
|EWU Policy 203-05||Authority: EWU Board of Trustees|
|Effective: February 24, 2017||Proponent: Vice President of Information Technology|
Purpose: This policy provides information and processes by which University personnel will create, obtain and maintain all electronic and information technology in a manner that ensures accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
History: This policy is new. It was adopted by the Board of Trustees on February 24, 2017.
Scope: This policy applies to all information technology that EWU develops, procures, or uses.
Chapter 1 – Purpose
Eastern Washington University (EWU) values diverse experiences and perspectives and strives to fully include everyone who engages with EWU. Inaccessible information technology (IT) negatively impacts people with a variety of disabilities, including mobility/orthopedic impairments, sensory impairments, specific learning disabilities, attention deficits, autism spectrum disorders, speech impairments, health impairments, and psychiatric conditions. This document provides guidance to EWU personnel for fulfilling the EWU’s commitment to equal access through the provision of accessible IT.
The EWU makes its offerings accessible to individuals with disabilities in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended (ADA), the State of Washington OCIO policy 188, and the Washington Law Against Discrimination. This commitment includes access to IT that the EWU develops, procures, or uses, such as websites, software, hardware, and media.
Chapter 2 – Accessibility Standards
With respect to this policy, “accessible” IT means a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and use the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and integrated manner.
A person with a disability should be able to obtain the information as fully, equally, and independently as a person without a disability. Although this might not result in identical ease of use compared to persons without disabilities, it still must ensure equal opportunity to experience the educational benefits and opportunities afforded by the technology.
If a technology cannot be made accessible EWU will provide equally effective alternate access to qualified individuals with disabilities.
Technologies and standards evolve at a rapid pace. EWU looks to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Level AA for guidance in meeting its IT accessibility commitments. WCAG 2.0 provides success criteria for measuring web accessibility and also provides useful metrics for products and services that are not specifically web-based.
2-2. Statement of Accessibility
All web pages and web-based applications must display in a consistent location a statement, or link to a statement, referring to a commitment to accessibility by EWU. In addition, each page must have a link allowing users to contact the designated responsible Accessible Technology Coordinator.
2-3. Examples of IT covered by this Policy:
- University electronic resources, websites and University hosted websites
- Campus wide software applications
- electronic materials and applications
- Web-based applications
- Emergency Communication
2-4. Technology Procurement
New technology purchased for EWU will conform to accessibility standards, if the technology is commercially available and its purchase does not result in undue financial and administrative burdens or a fundamental alteration. Exceptions will be judged on a case by case basis, and can be exempted from this policy by the Vice President for Information Technology. EWU may take into account a contractual commitment from a vendor to make any non-conforming technology conform to the standards before it is made available to EWU. In any case, EWU must independently test the product through automated, expert, and user testing, and verify that the product meets the vendor’s representations. EWU shall not use the product until the vendor satisfies its commitment to make the product conform or best conform to the relevant accessibility standards.
Chapter 3 – Procedures
3-1. Training & Website Development
EWU will develop and provide training for employees who are responsible for administering or maintaining technologies covered by this policy.
Training will be conducted for any staff responsible for creating or distributing information involving accessible technology. Training must include review of this policy, the accessible technology plan and employees’ responsibilities to ensure that web design, documents, classroom technologies, and multimedia content are accessible.
EWU will design an online resource center to help campus units work toward improving their IT accessibility.
3-2. Accessible Technology Team
The Director of Academic & Emerging Technologies will serve as the Accessible Technology Coordinator (ATC). The ATC will lead an audit of current EWU technology systems, handle grievances and lead accessibility improvement efforts.
An accessibility audit will be conducted at regular intervals under the direction of the ATC. All problems identified during the audit will be documented, evaluated, and, if necessary, remediated within a reasonable period of time.
The ATC will lead the Accessible Technology Team, comprised of representatives of key areas identified during technology audits:
- Information Technology
- Marketing and Communications
- Student Disability Support Services
- Business & Affairs
- Academic Affairs Outreach & Engagement
- Faculty Organization appointee
- ASEWU appointee
The Accessible Technology Team is responsible for the following:
(A) Coordinate periodic audits regarding covered technologies currently used by the university,
(B) Prioritize the need for updating and improving accessibility in covered technologies,
(C) Develop a long-term accessibility plan for the institution,
(D) Develop technical standards and workflows to improve accessibility of covered technologies,
(E) Develop a plan for making current technologies accessible, and,
(F) Assist in developing and providing training for employees.
3-2. Help with Accessibility
All questions or concerns about this policy or about covered technologies accessibility should be directed to the Accessibility Coordinator.
Further technical and support information regarding this initiative is available in the previously mentioned Accessible IT resource center. For individual consultation on making IT accessible, contact the ATC.
3-3. Grievance Procedures
Anyone who has a concern about the accessibility of a University technology may file a complaint with the Accessibility Technology Coordinator. The Coordinator or designee will conduct an investigation and respond in writing to the complainant within a reasonable amount of time.
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the response, he or she may file an appeal with the Director of Equal Opportunity within 21 days of receiving a notice of the ATC’s decision. The Director of Equal Opportunity will respond in writing within 20 days.
Chapter 4 – Resources
The following resources can assist the EWU community in understanding and meeting our accessibility goals. These resources can also be used as a reference for vendors and contractors providing products and services to EWU.
4-1. Resources and Support for IT Accessibility
- IT Accessibility Checklist
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0
- Disability Resources for Students
4-3. Legal and Policy Resources
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Americans with Disabilities Act as amended
- Supplemental Instructional Materials for Students with Print Access Disability
- Accommodating Persons with Disabilities
4-4. External Compliant Resources
Individuals have a right to file complaints alleging discrimination with state or federal agencies within the agencies’ prescribed time periods. State and federal agencies have their own processes for responding to and processing such complaints. Filing a complaint with a state or federal agency listed below may be done in lieu of or in addition to the university’s complaint process.
U.S. Office for Civil Rights
Department of Education
2910 3rd Avenue, Mail Stop 106, Seattle, WA
Washington State Human Rights Commission
905 Riverside, Suite 416, Spokane, WA 99201