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Policy Title: Information Technology Accessibility

Boise State University Policy #: 8140
Effective Date: February 2017

Purpose:
To ensure that the University information technology (IT) environment is accessible to all, and in particular to individuals with disabilities.

Additional Authority:
Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended
Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
University Policy #NEW – Non-Discrimination On the Basis of Disability

Scope:
Applies to informational technologies employed by all Boise State units and departments, including departmental websites hosted by non-Boise State servers, applications, and other technologies employed to store, convey, or otherwise host information and communications accessible to the general public.

Timeline:
The Boise State IT Accessibility Committee will develop a timeline to bring applicable technologies into compliance with this policy as soon as practicable, but no later than December 31, 2017.

Responsible Party:
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, 426-1202
Office of Institutional Compliance and Ethics, 426-1258

Definitions:
Accessible – Refers to the concept that a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use.

Accessible Information Technology – Information technology that has been designed, developed, or procured to be fully usable by all people, including those who use assistive technologies. The person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally, and independently as a person without a disability.

Assistive Technologies – Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a person with a disability. Examples of Assistive Technologies commonly used with Information Technologies include include special input devices (e.g., head or foot mouse, puff- and-sip switches, speech recognition), screen-reading software, and screen magnifiers.

Information Technology – Anything related to computing technology, including but not limited to, networking, hardware, software, and website development, maintenance, and usage available for use by students or members of the general public.

Usability – Refers to how easily, effectively, and efficiently users can use a product or system to achieve their goals, and how satisfied they are with the experience.


Policy

  • I.  Policy Statement
    • The University is committed to supporting an information technology (IT) environment that is accessible to all, and in particular to individuals with disabilities. To this end, the University seeks to deploy information technology that is designed, developed, or procured with accessibility in mind. An Accessible IT environment generally enhances usability for everyone, and particularly for people using Assistive Technologies. By supporting IT Accessibility, the University helps ensure that everyone able to access, benefit from, and contribute to its electronic programs and services.
  • II.  Responsibilities
        All University departments and units will:
        • A. Adhere to all processes adopted and implemented by the University, including but not limited to the processes outlined in Appendix A.
        • B. Adhere to the University IT Accessibility Standards located in Appendix A as well as the implementation timeline developed by the IT Accessibility Committee.
        • C. Develop, purchase, and/or acquire, to the extent feasible, hardware and software products that are fully accessible to people with disabilities. The Systems Architectural Review Board (SARB) is available to consult on accessibility standards and requirements. It is the University’s responsibility to ensure that products created or purchased from vendors or contractors are considered Accessible Information Technology under this policy.
        • D. Occasionally and intermittently review website content for conformance with this policy and related Appendix.
        • E. Designate at least one staff member to act as IT Accessibility Liaison. That staff member shall regularly attend accessibility training and/or other educational activities offered by the University and ensure Information Technologies employed in that department or unit are Accessible Information Technologies. For current information on IT Accessibility trainings and educational materials, visit webguide.boisestate.edu/accessibility.
    • The Director of Web Strategy and the Chief Information Officer or designee will:
      • A. Promote awareness of this policy to all members of the University community, particularly those in roles that are responsible for creating, selecting, or maintaining electronic content and applications.
      • B. Coordinate targeted website accessibility training opportunities for University departments and units to provide support and to enhance compliance with this policy.
      • C. Continue to offer accessibility training relevant to pedagogical methods through the IDEA shop.
  • III. Grievances
      If any member of the University community or the public has reason to believe a University department or unit is not in compliance with this policy, they may file a formal grievance by contacting the University’s ADA/504 Coordinator in the Office of Institutional Compliance and Ethics. Any grievance filed under this policy will be processed under University Policy 1060: Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment and associated investigation procedures.

Appendix A

  • University IT Accessibility Standards and Requirements
    Information Technology Accessibility Program
    • The purpose of the IT Accessibility Program is to establish processes to address IT accessibility in a systematic fashion at the University, using current structures and practices as appropriate.
    • The Vice-President of Finance and Administration will designate an IT Accessibility Committee (Committee) to develop and oversee the Program and to promote coordination on IT accessibility initiatives. The Committee must represent a broad range of functional areas and be able to address academic, research, and administrative concerns and needs. The Associate Vice President of the Office of Information Technology will chair the Committee, and the committee is charged to build the Program and address IT accessibility in an innovative manner. At a minimum, the Program must include the following:
      • 1. Authority and Responsibility: Assignment of roles, authority, responsibilities, and accountability for achieving policy compliance.
      • 2. Audience: A strategy to address the different needs of the academic, research, and administrative functions and to support IT accessibility for decentralized academic and research activities.
      • 3. Prioritization: A process to prioritize effort that takes into consideration local needs, practices and available resources, including providing access to centralized IT accessibility support.
      • 4. Design Process: A strategy to incorporate accessibility into the design and authoring process of electronic information resources.
      • 5. Procurement: A procedure to incorporate IT accessibility into the procurement process, including establishment of a formal means for evaluating the accessibility of products or systems under consideration for procurement.
      • 6. Training: A training plan for personnel who develop and maintain electronic information resources, author web content, or make IT related purchases.
      • 7. Awareness Campaign: A communication plan and campaign to raise awareness about IT accessibility.
      • 8. Compliance Monitoring: Processes for monitoring compliance, including compliance with any standards listed in this Requirements document.
      • 9. Evaluation: An evaluation process to measure the effectiveness of the Program on an annual basis.
      • 10. Exception Process: A process for determining exceptions and for ensuring the development, documentation, and communication of effective alternate forms of access.

    Standards

  • Compliance to standards listed in this section must be considered high priority in the development and implementation of the University’s IT Accessibility Program and must be measured as part of the formal Program evaluation process.
    • 1. Web Standard- Electronic information must meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 at level AA Success Criteria. More information about the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) standards for accessibility can be found at the W3C website.
    • 2. New Development and Purchases- New development and purchases, including development and purchases for major revisions and updates of existing electronic information resources, must receive higher priority over the retrofit of existing electronic information resources. Additional standards for other electronic information resources may be identified over time and added to this Standards and Requirements document.

    Exceptions

  • Conformance to these standards and requirements may not always be feasible due to the nature of the content, the purpose of the resource, the lack of accessible solutions, or an unreasonably high administrative or financial cost necessary to make the resource accessible. However, these difficulties do not relieve University programs or services from their IT accessibility obligations. University managers of programs and services must be prepared to provide content and/or services in a suitable alternative format (e.g., electronic text file or audio description) upon request. The University ADA/504 Coordinator or designee, or VPFA or designee are the only authorities that may approve exceptions to this policy. All exceptions, and specific reasons therefore, shall be documented in writing and kept on file for five years after the use of the excepted technology is phased out of use.