Legal cases by issue

This page features a list of key issues that have surfaced in legal resolution agreements involving higher education institutions and technology accessibility.  For additional background about each case, see our Resolution Agreements and Lawsuits page.

Accessibility audit and corrective action strategy (and disseminate strategy)

From Louisiana Tech Resolution:

Conduct a review of the accessibility of its technology and instructional materials and shall ensure that, from the effective date of and consistent with the Settlement Agreement, all technology, including websites, instructional materials and online courses, and other electronic and information technology for use by students or prospective students, is accessible.

From Penn State Resolution:

Complete an audit of all electronic and information technologies (EITs), including University websites, application processes, library services, course management systems, access to classroom podiums and LCD devices, course registration software, personal response systems (“clickers”) and banking arrangements offered to students and faculty, including website and ATM access and create corrective action strategy


From Louisiana Tech Resolution:

Adopt policies, which specifically include

  • Such policy shall specifically reference the requirement of deploying accessible technology and course content in the University setting
  • The role of the Disability Services office
  • Grievance process

Disseminate policy

From Penn State Resolution:

  • Develop an EIT Accessibility Policy Statement
  • procedures to implement its EIT policy
  • Disseminate to all levels
  • Hire or designate a staff person with responsibility and commensurate authority, to monitor the University’s EIT Accessibility Policy and procedures
  • Distribute its policies on accessibility to all staff and will provide additional instruction and support to both staff and faculty in 2011 – and provide presentations and workshops to the senior academic leadership (deans and chancellors), department heads, and IT staff early in the fall semester

From Sierra Vista Resolution:

  • DOJ v. City of Sierra Vista, AZ – Establish, implement, and post online a policy that its web pages will be accessible and create a process for implementation;

Training and education

From Louisiana Tech Resolution:

  • Provide annual ADA Training to 1) all individuals who provide any course-related instruction to University students (including, but not limited to, professors, instructors, other faculty, and teaching assistants) and maintain attendance logs
  • During all orientation sessions offered during the term of this Agreement to incoming students (including freshmen and transfer students), the University shall include a mandatory presentation by a member of the University’s Office of Disability Services, either as a stand-alone module or as part of other mandatory orientation on the resources available to students (“ADA Student Training”).

From Penn State Resolution:

  • Conduct training, instruction and support at all levels about the EIT Accessibility Policy and procedures, including listing the tools and techniques that are available for faculty and staff to comply with the Policy and procedures
  • Provide and make readily available to faculty and staff, who develop or post content on the website or through other E!Ts, information on how to make digital information Accessible and how to use automated tools to check and ensure the accessibility of content
  • Include one full-time personnel at each campus who will attend its annual accessibility conference and interact with the University Park Adaptive Technology Committee to ensure accessibility for each campus.
  • The University will maintain a rich set of web resources, which will provide tools and training to the webmasters

From Wolf Lodge Resolution:

  • Wolf Lodge (by Nat’l Assoc of the Deaf) – will expand employee training to include policies and procedures to ensure access for guests with disabilities

From South Carolina Tech Resolution:

  • Develop resource guide that provide information about web accessibility requirements, standards, and links to reference material – and make available to those designing on-line courses and maintaining websites


From Louisiana Tech Resolution:

  • The policy will include that:
    • The University will only purchase, develop or use technology and instructional materials that do not exclude persons who are blind or who have other vision disabilities; and
    • The University will only purchase, develop or use technology and instructional materials that allow persons who are blind or who have other vision disabilities the equal opportunity to access, use, and avail themselves of such technology or instructional materials in as full, equal, and independent a manner as persons without disabilities.
  • Develop and implement a process to ensure electronic and information technology purchased by the University is accessible, including:
    • Language in all technology contracts requiring contractors to warrant their compliance with WCAG 2.0 AA, to provide accessibility testing results and written documentation verifying accessibility, to promptly respond to and resolve accessibility complaints, and to indemnify and hold the University harmless in the event of claims arising from inaccessibility.
    • A process for determining whether providing effective communication in the University’s electronic and information technology would result in undue financial and administrative burdens or a fundamental alteration.
    • Procedures for providing equally effective alternate access for technology acquisitions that are approved for exception (see below).
    • Milestones and timelines.

From Penn State Resolution:

  • Develop and institute procedures that require the University to purchase or recommend only EITs that will provide the same programs, benefits and services that they do to individuals without disabilities, except that when it is technically unfeasible to do so, in which case the procedures must require the University to provide Accessible alternate EITs. The Vice Provost shall work in consultation with the Office of Disability Services and/or other departments to provide students with access to the EIT services and information provided by the University.
  • Effectuate these obligations by implementing as part of its RFP process language that bidders meet the accessibility standards set forth in WCAG 2.0 Level AA for web-based technology, and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA for other EIT; requiring or encouraging, at the University’s discretion, as part of any contract with its vendors, provisions in which the vendor warrants that any technology provided complies with these standards and any applicable current federal disability law

 Library services

From Penn State Resolution:

  • The library website shall be Accessible in accordance with WCAG 2.0 Level AA and conduct an accessibility scan monthly thereafter to ascertain whether any new posted content is accessible and fix it, if not.
  • Implement a search engine that is Accessible in accordance with WCAG 2.0 Level AA that can search across all Library collections, including, but not limited to, e-journals, databases and e-books

Learning management systems

From Penn State Resolution:

  • The University shall select an Accessible course management system that complies with the Section 508 Guidelines to replace ANGEL, with pilots to include blind students and faculty


From Louisiana Tech Resolution:

  • All new and redesigned web pages, web applications and web content (“web pages”) published by any college, department, program, unit, or professor that are available to students, prospective students, or applicants must comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 level AA (“WCAG 2.0 AA”).
  • For pre-existing webpages, develop a plan to meet the WCAG standards by Dec. 1, 2014

From Penn State Resolution:

  • Adopt WCAG 2.0 level AA standards for all University websites.

From South Carolina Tech Resolution:

  • All websites be accessible and annually review websites and monitor steps taken to correct
  • Annual directive to Presidents and appropriate Systems Office staff including responsibility to ensure websites are accessible, accessibility standards, annual review expectations, and direct them to identify the person conducting the review and for overseeing modifications and to submit an annual report
  • Systems office will designate someone to review reports and monitor corrective steps

From City of Sierra Vista, Arizona Resolution:

  • The City will distribute to all persons – employees and contractors – who have responsibility for content and format of its website(s) or third party websites used by the City  the technical assistance document, “Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites to People with Disabilities,” (
  • Ensure that all new and modified web pages and content are accessible;
  • Develop and implement a plan for making existing web content more accessible;
  • Provide a way for online visitors to request accessible information or services by posting a telephone number or e-mail address on its home page; and
  • Periodically (at least annually) enlist people with disabilities to test its pages for ease of use.

Instructional materials

From Louisiana Tech Resolution:

  • All instructional materials and online courses must be fully accessible at the same time they are available to any other student enrolled in that program.
  • Each college, department, program, unit and professor using pre-existing instructional materials and online courses created or used since January 2010 will develop and implement a plan to make them accessible in compliance with WCAG 2.0 AA by Dec. 1, 2014. The plan should be posted on the department, program, unit, or professor’s website and updated as implementation proceeds

Classrooms (podiums and LCD equipment)

From Penn State Resolution:

  • Implement system changes that will allow a blind faculty member to control the classroom podium and LCD equipment without the assistance of another individual. In the interim, the University shall make a technician available to provide assistance


From Penn State Resolution:

  • Any “clicker” utilized by the University shall include an Accessible option that is available to blind students at the same price and at the same time as the clicker that is available to sighted students

Banks and ATMs

From Penn State Resolution:

  • Request that any bank website that is reported as inaccessible to the Vice Provost of AA’s office be fully Accessible within three months of the University’s request and shall also request that the ATMs on each University campus be voice-guided (meets the 2010 ADA Standards).  If the ATM is neither made accessible within three months nor are plans for accessibility made within that time, the bank shall be requested to remove the ATM.

 Grievance procedure

From Penn State Resolution:

  • Disseminate if in place or develop a grievance procedure whereby a student or faculty member may make a complaint to the Vice Provost for Affirmative Action or his designee regarding an EIT accessibility barrier he or she is confronting. The grievance procedure shall be posted on the websites for the Office of Disability Services, the Affirmative Action Office and the Office for Educational Equity. The procedure shall include a mechanism whereby the Vice Provost or his designees shall investigate the complaint and respond to the Complainant within 60 days of the filing of the complaint, however, the investigation period may be extended for an additional 30 days when the person investigating the complaint believes it necessary for an equitable resolution of the matter or for additional lengths of time with the consent of the Complainant


From Wolf Lodge Resolution:

  • All screens will offer captioning and make game accessible

Kentucky Resolution:

  • NAD v. Kentucky – fails to provide captioning for announcements and information given over the public address system

Other technology for learning

From Louisiana Tech Resolution:

  • The University will ensure that any new technology it makes available to students, prospective students or applicants, including web applications, hardware, software, telecommunications, and multimedia is accessible, if such new technology is commercially available and its purchase does not result in undue financial and administrative burdens or a fundamental alteration. If a product is available and meets some, but not all, of the relevant accessibility provisions of WCAG 2.0 AA, the product that best meets the standard must be procured.

From Florida State Resolution:

  • The university will examine technology-based instructional materials currently in use for accessibility compliance

From Google Apps Case:

  • NFB requested that DOJ investigate NYU and Northwestern re: use of Google Apps for Education

From Kindle Case:

  • NFB v. Arizona State University – prevent from deploying Kindle DX

Technical support

From Louisiana Tech Resolution:

  • An appropriate office will provide resources, information and assistance to programs on plan development and implementation, as well as on achieving accessibility of web pages, instructional materials, and other technology.
  • When compliance is not technically possible, would require a fundamental alteration, or would result in undue financial and administrative burdens, exceptions to the policy may be granted by an appropriate official. Requests for exceptions must be in writing. Whenever an exception is granted, the University must develop a plan to provide equally effective alternate access to the information or service of the technology to students, prospective students, and applicants.
  • The University will periodically conduct audits of websites, instructional materials, and other technology used by colleges, departments, programs, units and professors, inform them of the results, and initiate remedial action for accessibility problems identified.


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