Will Penn State be the next test case?

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The Lion Shrine at Penn State University by Nathaniel C. Sheetz

The Lion Shrine at Penn State University by Nathaniel C. Sheetz - Image from Wikimedia Commons

I am still waiting for the definitive legal case which affirms that the websites of all institutions of higher education (IHE) be accessible to people with disabilities. There was a celebrated case in California a few years back where the entire state university system was ruled to be out of compliance. The net result was the development of strong guidelines and rules for UC campuses.

Penn State University may be the next IHE to get paid a visit by the Office of Civil Rights. The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting: “The National Federation of the Blind sent a seven-page complaint letter dated Friday to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, alleging that Penn State is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

Having spent some time in Pennsylvania, I know that Penn State is huge with satellite campuses around the state. They have also been big proponents of distance learning and having personally used their system, I can confirm this statement also made in the article, “Course-management software, which allows students and professors to interact online and perform course-related functions, also ‘is almost completely inaccessible to blind users,’ the complaint says.”

It will be interesting to follow this case. Go Nittany Lions!

Resources:

The Philadelphia Inquirer article, “Blind advocates allege Penn State services not blind friendly”

Information about IHE’s web accessibility obligations under the law from AccessIT

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