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Policy 6140

Information Technology Accessibility

I. Purpose


This policy is established to support the Longwood University community in promoting equal access opportunity to information technology (IT) by the application of accessibility standards, guidelines, training, tools and methods consistent with higher education. The aim is to provide this opportunity in a setting that fosters independence and meets the guidelines of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This policy sets forth accessibility standards and guidelines that reflect best practices for achieving the accessibility of IT for use by persons with disabilities.

The Commonwealth of Virginia Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act of 2005 grants institutions additional authority over financial and administrative operations, on condition that certain commitments to the Commonwealth are met. Chapters 824 and 829 of the 2008 Virginia Acts of the Assembly and Longwood's Memorandum of Understanding with the Commonwealth provide full delegated responsibility for management of the institution's IT architecture, infrastructure and ongoing operations, of which IT accessibility is a part. This delegation includes the authority to conduct these activities in accordance with industry best practices appropriately tailored for the specific circumstances of the university, in lieu of following Commonwealth-determined specifications. This policy documents the industry best practices with which the university will align its IT accessibility activities.

II. Definition

Accessibility: Accessibility refers to the university objective that everyone within the university community, regardless of physical or technological readiness, will have the opportunity for appropriate access to IT.

III. Applicability

This policy is applicable to colleges, departments, auxiliaries, research and administrative entities with Information and Instructional Technology Services supporting the programs or services of the university.

IV. Policy

The procurement, development and/or maintenance of IT and user support services for persons with disabilities will be aligned with accessibility standards specified in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines" from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), appropriately tailored to the specific circumstances of the university.

Accessibility standards must be designed to evolve and change, as newer technologies are introduced and user needs change. At the same time, the standards will maintain a consistent framework for accessibility training and support services. University IT development, maintenance, training and support personnel who are responsible for IT procurement, programs and services will possess professional credentials and/or an appropriate level of technical knowledge and experience related to accessibility standards for persons with disabilities.

V. Procedure

An overview of the University accessibility standards, guidelines, training, tools and methods is available in the Non-Discrimination and Reasonable Accommodation on the Basis of Disability policy and on the Office of Disability Services web site.

Approved by the Board of Visitors, September 11, 2009