Fayetteville Policies and Procedures  204.2 

Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility including Website Accessibility

  1.  Statement of Purpose
    The University of Arkansas is committed to ensuring equal access to all programs, services, and activities provided through electronic and information technology in compliance with state and federal accessibility standards, including Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA, of 1990; the ADA Amendments Act ,ADAAA, of 2008; Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act; and the Arkansas Technology Access for the Blind Act, ATABA. This commitment furthers the University’s mission to effectively communicate and provide educational and research-based information to students, faculty, staff, administrators, and the people of Arkansas.

    This policy is intended to implement University of Arkansas Board of Trustees Policy 280.1, Information Technology Accessibility, and UA Systemwide Policies and Procedures 280.1, Information Technology Accessibility – Website Standards and Accessibility.

    This policy is intended as an expression of institutional commitment and a guide to providing accessible electronic and information resources for persons with disabilities and to advance the University’s compliance with governing law. Nothing in this policy shall be construed as creating rights or obligations in excess of any requirements of applicable law and regulations.
  2.  Definitions
    As used in this policy:
    1. An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA. For purposes of this policy, an individual with a disability is one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
    2. Electronic and Information Technology  or EIT is defined by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to include information technology and any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in the creation, conversion, or duplication of data or information. The term electronic and information technology includes, but is not limited to, the Internet and intranet websites, content delivered in digital form, electronic books and electronic book reading systems, search engines and databases, learning management systems, classroom technology and multimedia, personal response systems (“clickers”), and office equipment such as classroom podiums, copiers, and fax machines. It also includes any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in the automatic acquisition, creation, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information. This term includes telecommunications products (such as telephones), information kiosks, computers, ancillary equipment, software, firmware and similar procedures, services. 
    3. Accessible EIT means technology that affords a person with a disability 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 effective manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use.
    4. New EIT refers to EIT developed, maintained, procured, materially revised, or hosted by the University after this Policy’s effective date.
    5. Legacy EIT refers to EIT developed, maintained, procured, materially revised, or hosted by the University before this Policy’s effective date and that remains in active use.
    6. Archived EIT refers to EIT developed, maintained, procured, materially revised, or hosted by the University before this Policy’s effective date and that is retained by the University solely for informational or regulatory purposes.
  3. Technical Standards
    The University’s technical standards for measuring accessibility are those published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the Worldwide Web Consortium, W3C. The University follows the most recent Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, WCAG. At the time of adoption of this Policy, those guidelines were (a) WCAG 2.0 AA for Web-based EIT and (b) guidelines for Applying WCAG 2.0 to Non-Web Information and Communications Technologies, WCAG2ICT. These technical standards shall be updated as needed to remain current with the most recent WCAG guidelines. The University will also look for guidance to applicable provisions of the United States Access Board’s Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
  4. Scope
    This Policy applies to all EIT used by the University in pursuit of core organizational, business, or academic activities – including EIT used to publicize programs or activities, or to deliver services to students, employees, or the general public. 

    All New EIT shall conform to the federal and state laws and technical standards noted above or subsequently adopted.

    The EIT Accessibility Committee described in Article V shall develop plans and priorities for remediation of Legacy EIT as part of the Implementation Plan described below.

    Archived EIT shall be made accessible upon request to accommodate an individual with a disability.
  5. Responsible Persons
    University faculty, staff, and administrators all share in the University’s responsibility for accessible EIT. Each shall execute this Policy and undertake reasonable efforts to bring EIT developed, maintained, revised, procured, or hosted within her or his purview into compliance with applicable state and federal law and the technical standards specified above. 

    The Provost shall appoint a central EIT Accessibility Committee (Committee) to oversee the implementation of this Policy. The Committee shall include representatives from appropriate stakeholder groups, including the Global Campus, Human Resources, the Center for Educational Access, Information Technology Services, University Relations, Procurement, University Libraries, the Digital Communications Council, and the Computing Activities Council. The Committee shall be provided resources adequate to discharge its mission. The Committee shall develop and periodically update an Implementation Plan which shall identify strategies and priority steps in accomplishing compliance with this policy. The Office of General Counsel shall serve as legal advisor to the Committee and shall review and approve the Implementation Plan and any updates to the Plan.
  6. Procurement
    EIT purchases and other acquisitions shall conform to applicable state and federal law and to the technical standards specified above. Compliance is more effectively achieved and less costly if such conformity is addressed before or at the time EIT is procured. The Committee, in consultation with General Counsel, shall develop practicable procedures to facilitate the identification of accessible EIT before purchase or other acquisition. 
  7. Complaints and Other Notification of Non-conformance
    The Committee shall develop procedures for receipt, investigation, and, when appropriate, remediation of: (a) complaints regarding EIT accessibility, (b) reports of non-compliance with applicable state and federal law and the technical standards specified above, and (c) pre- existing EIT determined to be out of compliance with such laws and standards.  Such procedures shall include specification, displayed on the University’s website, of contact information for the office to which complaints, reports, other information, or requests for information regarding EIT accessibility issues should be submitted. 

    In the meantime, many EIT accessibility issues (especially those involving accessibility of University web sites) may be resolved informally by notifying University Relations at urelinfo@uark.edu. Issues not successfully resolved in that manner, and other complaints and reports of non- compliance, may be addressed to the following offices: 

    For employees, visitors to campus, and other non-students participating in campus programs or receiving campus services:
    Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance (OEOC)
    Attn: ADA Coordinator
    4 West Avenue Annex (346 N. West Avenue)
    University of Arkansas
    Fayetteville, AR 72701
    (479) 575-4019 (office)
    (479) 575-3646 (tdd)

     For students:
    Center for Educational Access
    209 ARKU
    University of Arkansas
    Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701

    Subject to further development of procedures, complaints received by a University office should be acknowledged by that office, with a copy to the University’s ADA Coordinator or CEA (as appropriate). The office receiving the complaint, in consultation with the ADA Coordinator or the CEA, shall verify that the concern presents an accessibility issue and promptly seek to address the issue. When appropriate, the ADA Coordinator or CEA may obtain assistance from University Relations or University IT Services in addressing the complaint. Complaints will be treated as important, and efforts will be made to address time-sensitive needs promptly. Further, efforts will be made to keep users updated on progress. Documentation shall be maintained on complaints received and how they are addressed.
  8. Reasonable Accommodation
    When compliance with the technical standards specified above would constitute an undue burden because of cost, the nature of the content or service, or the lack of reasonably available solutions, or would require fundamental alteration of the content or service, then the University shall provide reasonable accommodation to students or other users by offering the content or service in an equally effective alternative manner or format.
  9. Periodic Review, Audits, Updates, Testing, Remediation, and Reports
    This Policy shall be subject to regular review and, when necessary, to revision. The Committee shall initiate review and revision of this Policy and its associated Implementation Plan. The schedule for review and revision shall be one year from the effective date, and thereafter at least every 3 years. These reviews shall include updates on technical standards, professional judgement, EIT accessibility data obtained from audits and testing, feedback from users and implementers, as well as any documented issues with the Policy itself.

    The Implementation Plan shall include periodic audits of University EIT, including testing of University websites, for compliance with applicable state and federal law and technical standards using a combination of appropriate software, input from students and other users with disabilities, and informed professional judgment.

    The Committee shall further develop a plan for remediation of issues discovered through such audits. 

    The Committee shall submit an Annual Report to the Chancellor, which shall include (a) progress beyond the baseline as provided in the Implementation Plan, and over the preceding year, toward fully accessible EIT, and (b) plans for further progress during the upcoming year.
  10. Implementation Plan for Accessible EIT
    Executive Summary
    The University of Arkansas (University) is committed to providing equal access to its programs, services, and activities, regardless of disability. Because electronic and information technologies, EIT, have become an integral part of the University’s work, the University has adopted a Policy for Accessible EIT (Policy) to help ensure conformance to technical standards for EIT. This Implementation Plan (Plan) clarifies strategies, responsibilities, timelines, and milestones necessary to effectuate the Policy. The definitions set forth in Article II of the Policy shall apply in this Plan.
    1.  Section 1: Gathering Baseline and Subsequent-Year Information
      Under the direction of the EIT Accessibility Committee (Committee), the University shall  perform an accessibility scan within one year of the Committee’s formation of a representative sample of Legacy EIT to establish a baseline for measuring progress in the Plan’s implementation. Thereafter, the Committee shall periodically perform an accessibility scan to measure progress against the baseline. The scan shall include the following elements, which list is intended to be illustrative rather than exhaustive:
      1.  Websites, Web Applications, and Software, including:
        1.  Public and password-protected websites, including: registration and payment systems, learning management systems, testing systems, finance systems, personnel and employment systems, the purchasing system, ticket-purchasing systems, and donation or development systems;
        2. Online textbooks and other course support materials;
        3. Desktop, mobile, and web applications;
        4. EIT resources developed internally or purchased from vendors (including institutional email); and
        5. Software contained in University computer computer labs.
      2. EIT Hardware, including:
        1.  Computers and peripherals;
        2. Copy machines, scanners;
        3. Kiosks;
        4. Telecommunications equipment (including FAX machines); and
        5. Classroom technology (i.e. clickers, tablets, assistive listening systems)
      3. Electronic Files intended for shared or public use, including:
        1.  Documents, such as:
          1. Word processing documents
          2. Presentations
          3. Spreadsheets
          4. PDF documents
          5. Statistical analysis programs
        2. Media, such as:
          1. Images
          2. Videos
          3. Audio
          4. Rich media and animations
    2. Section 2: Identification of Challenges to and Priorities for Plan Implementation
      The Committee shall identify challenges to implementation of the Plan and shall develop strategies for addressing them. The Committee shall also identify organizational priorities and new initiatives that could present opportunities for improving EIT accessibility at the University. With respect to remediation of Legacy EIT found to be out of compliance, the Committee’s prioritization plan shall consider the factors specified in Section 6 of this Plan.
    3. Section 3: Communicating the Policy and Plan to the University Community
      The Committee, in coordination with University Relations, University IT Services, and other stakeholders, shall formulate arrangements for communicating the Policy and Plan to the University community and other users of EIT within six months of the Committee’s formation. Such arrangements shall include:
      1. University-wide announcement of the Policy’s and Plan’s adoption;
      2. A prominently displayed and appropriately labeled link on the University’s website directing users to a landing page providing comprehensive and easily navigated access to:
        1. applicable University policies;
        2. available support resources for ensuring compliance with the Policy in creating or procuring new EIT, including assistance in following the procedures described in Section 7 of this Plan.
        3. procedures for submitting complaints, concerns, or reports, or for requesting information, regarding EIT accessibility;
        4. other University units – such as the Center for Educational Access, Human Resources, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance, Facilities Management – involved in addressing equality of access for persons with disabilities;
        5. any other relevant University resources, including guidelines, Five-Year Plan (described below in Section 5) and other report templates, tutorials, training, Frequently Asked Questions, and services available to the University community; and
        6. other resources, such as informational material found on the Web, regarding EIT accessibility.
    4. Section 4: Resources and Budget
      The Committee shall prepare and present to the Provost a proposed budget to support its work for an initial 2-year period. It is expected that many items will not represent requests for new funds, but rather a reassignment or realignment of budget. Other items may require a request for new funds (such as personnel to act as an EIT Accessibility Coordinator, evaluation software or API development, training for Committee members and other key personnel). After this initial 2-year budget, annual budget requests should be included within the University’s annual budgeting cycle.
    5. Section 5: Assignment of Specific Responsibilities
      1. The Committee shall conduct and oversee the progress of the Policy and Plan, and will propose revisions to each as experience and further review indicate. The Committee shall work with appropriate stakeholders – including University IT Services, Human Resources, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance, and the Center for Educational Access – to review and, where appropriate, recommend revision of University procedures for addressing requests for accommodation under the Policy.
      2. Academic, Administrative, and Other Major Units, within two years of the effective date of this Plan, shall submit to the Committee a Five-Year EIT Accessibility Plan. Because EIT is pervasive and distributed across the University, such plans will help to monitor and promote EIT accessibility more comprehensively. The Committee shall provide a template for such plans.
      3. Individual Faculty and Staff shall undertake reasonable efforts to ensure the accessibility of EIT they create, procure, host, or maintain under their purview. These responsibilities shall include adherence to the University’s EIT procurement procedures. Faculty and staff will be supported with training opportunities, online resources, and consultation necessary for them to discharge this responsibility.
      4. The Procurement Office of the University’s Business Services (Procurement), in coordination with the University’s Information Technology Services (ITS) and the Committee, within one year of the Committee’s formation, shall develop procedures to ensure adherence to applicable state and federal laws and the technical standards specified in the Policy regarding EIT accessibility in the procurement of new EIT. Elements of such procedures are described in Section 7 of this Plan.
      5. University Relations Digital Design and Development Office, in coordination with ITS and the Committee, within one year of the Committee’s formation, shall develop a protocol for training and certifying University Web developers and content editors in EIT accessibility standards.
    6. Section 6: Evaluation and Remediation of Existing Issues
      All responsible personnel shall make good-faith efforts, subject to the requirements and exceptions of applicable state and federal laws and technical standards, to remedy or remove noncompliant Legacy EIT. The Committee shall coordinate and support such efforts, recommending priorities for remediation of web pages and web-based services that take into account the following factors:
      1. Web pages that have been specifically requested to be made accessible as part of a formal accommodation request;
      2. Web pages that experience a high volume of traffic;
      3. Web pages that can be remediated with relative ease;
      4. Web pages required for participation, funding, disability-related services, and other key pages needed by persons with disabilities;
      5. Web pages that provide core institutional information, such as information pertaining to admissions, housing, registration, financial aid, employment, and educational materials;
      6. Web pages that have accessibility issues categorized as an “A” item under WCAG 0 Success Criteria; and
      7. Online course

        Priorities for other forms of EIT shall be developed using similar criteria, as applicable.

        The Committee may notify the Provost of priority compliance areas where remediation needs remain following Committee assistance and support efforts.
    7. Section 7: Procurement of New EIT
      1. The responsibility for accessibility of New EIT is shared across the university.
      2. In developing procedures for procurement of new EIT, Procurement, ITS, and the Committee, working in coordination, shall consider the following elements:
        1. Establishment of a trained Accessibility Review Subcommittee with expertise in EIT accessibility standards and EIT itself.
        2. Development of language to be included in solicitations, requests, and contracts requiring EIT vendors to follow applicable federal and state laws (including but not limited to the Arkansas Technology Access Clause as required by state law) and technical standards adopted by the University. Such language could include requests for Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates, VPATs, third party verification, commitments by vendors to timely cure accessibility issues identified during the products’ or services’ lifecycle, and commitments to hold the University harmless from liability for claims arising from vendors’ failure to satisfy applicable accessibility standards.
        3. Creation of a workflow process for purchasing requests to adequately evaluate EIT accessibility and any risks posed by the proposed purchase, considering the audience or user base, the nature of the intended use, and the availability of accessible As appropriate, purchases may be referred to the Accessibility Review Subcommittee for further evaluation and recommendation, which may include suggestions regarding equally effective alternative access when necessary. Criteria for referral may include, for example:
          1. The audience or user base is large;
          2. The EIT is required for course work or is otherwise central to the educational experience;
          3. Alternatives that offer persons with disabilities an equally effective access to the benefits of technology in an equally integrated manner are not readily identifiable and available;
          4. substantially more accessible alternatives are readily available for purchase.
        4. To streamline the acquisition process, it may be useful to create a protocol for:
          1. advance review by the Accessibility Review Subcommittee of the accessibility of available EIT products and services (including through consideration of VPATs, third party reviews, and reviews conducted by University personnel); and
          2. creation of a list of products and services that have been determined compliant or noncompliant for EIT accessibility.
        5. Creation of a means to provide staff and faculty consultation to support compliance.
        6. Creation of guidelines for ensuring that EIT products and services not acquired through Procurement, meet the accessibility standards set forth in this policy.
        7. Identification and collection of any other information that may help the University ensure compliance with applicable laws and technical standards or, when appropriate, deployment of alternatives that ensure reasonable accommodation.
    8. Section 8: Training
      In addition to the training of Web developers and content editors mentioned in Section 5, the Committee shall also identify those categories of staff and faculty who will need special training, technical assistance, and other support to ensure compliance with the Policy and, within one year of the Committee’s formation, develop a plan to provide such training, assistance, and support.
    9. Section 9: Feedback
      Within one year of the Committee’s formation, the Committee shall create a plan to obtain feedback from users on:
      1. the accessibility of EIT at the University,
      2. the Policy, and
      3. the Plan.
    10. Section 10: Annual Report
      The Committee, during the University’s internal Annual Report cycle, shall submit to the Provost an assessment of, and progress report on, the state of EIT accessibility at the University. Such report shall include progress made to date, recommended changes to milestones or workflows, and considerations for budget and staffing in the coming year.

Approved January 24, 2019