1 Laws and Regulations Mandating Access

As a public institution of higher education, the University of Mary Washington (UMW) receives federal funds in support of students and their education. Due to this, UMW is mandated to follow certain laws such as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) relating to the accessibility of curriculum and co-curriculum programs, along with providing appropriate accommodations to students who choose to self-disclose a disability to the Office of Disability Resources on campus.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973

  • Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.
  • Covers all programs conducted by federal agencies or programs receiving federal assistance (Public & Private Colleges receiving Financial Aid).[1]

Section 504

  • States “no qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall be excluded from, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any programs receiving federal financial assistance.
  • Requires universities to provide reasonable accommodations to students that self-disclose a disability, program accessibility, effective communication with people who have hearing or vision disabilities, and accessible new construction and alterations.[2]

Section 508 Refresh

  • Covers Information and Communication Technology (ICT) developed, procured, maintained, or used by federal agencies (public colleges using financial aid).
    • All software, hardware, subscriptions, etc., utilized by the university within the classroom and across campus are required to be accessible to those with and without disabilities.
  • Incorporates Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1)[3]
    • Clarifications on the accessibility of websites, electronic documents, and software.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

  • Protects the rights of individuals with disabilities by prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life to include higher education.
  • U.S. Department of Justice has stated that the ADA applies to all technology utilized in higher education.
    • Title II under ADA: All public universities must comply with the ADA and cannot discriminate against individuals with disabilities in any programs, activities, or services of public entities.[4]

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  1. “A Guide to Disability Rights Laws.” A Guide to Disability Rights Laws, U.S. Department of Justice, 24 Feb. 2020, www.ada.gov/cguide.htm.
  2. “A Guide to Disability Rights Laws.” A Guide to Disability Rights Laws, U.S. Department of Justice, 24 Feb. 2020, www.ada.gov/cguide.htm.
  3. “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.” W3C, W3C, 5 June 2018, www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/.
  4. “A Guide to Disability Rights Laws.” A Guide to Disability Rights Laws, U.S. Department of Justice, 24 Feb. 2020, www.ada.gov/cguide.htm.

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Access for All Copyright © 2020 by Alison Grimes and Danielle Smith. All Rights Reserved.

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