Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility

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University Policy Number 1308

Categorized:

Responsible Office: ,

Policy Procedure:

Related Law & Policy:


I. SCOPE

This policy applies to all electronic and information technology resources and services produced, maintained, distributed, and or purchased by George Mason University for use by Mason students, staff, faculty, and visitors, including those with disabilities.

II. POLICY STATEMENT

Mason is committed to maintaining a diverse and inclusive academic community, where all students are afforded the opportunity for a transformational learning experience. This commitment must and does include individuals with disabilities. Therefore, the procurement, development, maintenance, and/or implementation of electronic and information technology will conform to the accessibility standards specified in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and WCAG, appropriately tailored to the specific circumstances of the University.  All colleges, schools, departments, auxiliaries, research, and administrative entities that do not comply with the standards herein are responsible for any costs associated with remediating accessibility issues. Please refer to the Procedure documents for additional guidance on providing equivalent access to electronic and information technology resources and services.[1]

III. DEFINITIONS

Accessibility:  means that individuals with disabilities are able to independently acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services within the same timeframe as individuals without disabilities, with substantially equivalent ease of use.

Electronic and Information Technology (EIT): includes e-learning and 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, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) transaction machines, computers, ancillary equipment, software, firmware and similar procedures, services (including support services), and related resources.

Section 508 Standards: a comprehensive set of general, technical, and functional standards that apply to Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG): the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) guidelines for creating accessible Web content.

IV. COMPLIANCE

Mason’s accessibility standards are designed to evolve and change, as newer technologies are introduced and user needs change.  At the same time, the standards maintain a consistent framework for accessibility training and support services.  All Mason employees who are responsible for electronic and information technology produced, maintained, distributed, purchased and/or used by the Mason community will possess the required technical knowledge related to accessibility standards for individuals with disabilities. An overview of the university accessibility standards, guidelines, training, tools, and methods is available at http://ati.gmu.edu/.

The Senior Vice President, Provost, Vice President of Information Technology and CIO, or designee, will ensure that personnel responsible for electronic and information technology procurement, programs and services will possess the necessary technical knowledge related to accessibility standards. Refer to the Procedure documents for additional guidance on roles and responsibilities.

V. EFFECTIVE DATE AND APPROVAL

The policies herein are effective October 20, 2008.  This Administrative Policy shall be reviewed and revised, if necessary, annually to become effective at the beginning of the University’s fiscal year, unless otherwise noted.

Approved:

__/S/__________

Maurice W. Scherrens

Senior Vice President

__/S/__________

Peter N. Stearns

Provost

Date approved: October 31, 2008

Revised: June 11, 2014

Revised: February 17, 2017

 

[1] The university’s memorandum of understanding with the Commonwealth pursuant to the Commonwealth of Virginia Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act of 2005 and HB1390 effective July 1, 2008 provides full-delegated responsibility for management of the institution’s information technology infrastructure, architecture and ongoing operations.  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.