Chancellor’s Corner: Improving our digital technology accessibility

May 7, 2014

Today, I am writing to update you that we received an inquiry from the U.S. Department of Justice requesting information about CU-Boulder’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This inquiry is related to concerns about CU-Boulder’s Internet platform compatibility with screen reader software and the accessibility of digital textbooks, digital signage and other technologies for visually impaired students. We are cooperating fully with this inquiry.

Over the last 18 months, we have taken steps to improve the provision of accessible technology to our students with vision impairments. In the fall of 2012, Robert Boswell, Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement, and Larry Levine, Chief Information Officer, commissioned the campus Accessibility of Electronic Information Technology Study and formed a committee with representatives from across the campus. The committee prepared a written report in summer 2013 and a steering committee was established to review the Accessibility Study Report findings and recommendations.

We started down a path for success, and, while we have incorporated a variety of digital tools into our academic and administrative platforms at CU-Boulder, we have more work to do to ensure full access to our digital technology. On May 1, we convened our top administrators and subject matter experts on this topic to convey this message, as well as the sense of urgency we share to address this important issue.

By mid-June 2014, we will hire a project lead to build upon the work done thus far and ensure that we make rapid progress on the recommendations made by the committee to improve accessibility compliance, including policy changes. This is a top priority for our campus. VC Boswell and CIO Levine will ensure coordination of staff and information to maximize our compliance efforts.

As the state’s flagship campus, and as the higher education institution enrolling the highest number of students with visual impairments in the state of Colorado, we are fully committed to complying with ADA and providing appropriate resources to our students, faculty and staff with disabilities.

Sincerely,

Philip P. DiStefano, chancellor
University of Colorado Boulder

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