Oregon State University

OSU Policy on Information Technology Accessibility

Part I: Introduction

Oregon State University is committed to providing equality of opportunity to persons with disabilities, including equal access to University programs, services and activities provided through information technology (IT). With its rapid proliferation, information technology is increasingly the medium for University programs and services. Consequently it is becoming increasingly important that accessibility considerations are in the forefront as we design, acquire or use new information technology. Because of its myriad forms and the numerous individuals throughout the University involved in the design, acquisition or use of information technology, without a policy and required minimum standards and expectations we are challenged in achieving University-wide adherence to practices that ensure access for persons with disabilities. Therefore, this policy establishes minimum standards and expectations regarding the design, acquisition or use of information technology.

The policy will be introduced in phases. This first phase includes website and web-based content accessibility. This includes all electronic documents and multimedia that are distributed through the web. Additional phases of the policy will include, at a minimum; hardware, software and the procurement of these IT products.

This policy is a living document that will change over time as IT changes. Ample opportunities for education and communication will occur whenever changes to the policy take place.

Part II: Policy Statement

OSU commits to ensuring equal access to all University programs, services and activities provided through information technology (IT). Unless an exemption applies and according to the applicability and timeline specifications below, all colleges, departments, offices and entities of the University will:

Applicability:

This policy applies to all IT that is acquired, developed, distributed, used, purchased or implemented by or for any Oregon State University unit and used to provide university programs, services, or activities through websites or web-based applications, including:

  • Official web pages and associated web-based applications (see Web Page Requirements & Time Frames below)
  • Electronic Documents
    • Any documents created or obtained, and disseminated after the effective date of this policy.
    • Electronic documents created or obtained prior to effective date of the policy and that are disseminated on a web page must comply according to the time frames specified below for web page requirements.
  • Multimedia
    • Any multimedia created or obtained, and disseminated after the effective date of the policy
    • Multimedia created or obtained prior to the effective date of this policy and that is disseminated on a web page must comply according to the time frames specified below for web page requirements.

Web Page Requirements & Time Frames:

  • All new and revised web pages, website templates, and website themes published on or after the effective date of this policy must comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA (additional information located on the Information Technology Accessibility website).
  • All new and revised web pages must indicate in plain text a method for users having trouble accessing the site to report that inaccessibility. This could be in the form of contact information after the “Copyright 2010…Disclaimer” statement on the bottom of every OSU page.
  • When contacted and offered technical assistance, units with identified high priority legacy pages must cooperate with the Office of Equity & Inclusion to make their web pages consistent with WCAG 2.0 Level AA. Units will be notified if their legacy pages have been deemed high priority and will be provided technical assistance, as needed. High priority pages will be identified by:
    • The top 20% of web pages most frequently visited as defined by Central Web Services
    • Pages required for participation, funding, disability-related services and other key pages needed by people with disabilities not already in the top 20%
    • Other pages determined to be of the most importance in providing university services online (core institutional information)
  • All legacy pages must indicate in plain text a method for users having trouble accessing the site to report that inaccessibility. This could be in the form of contact information after the “Copyright 2010…Disclaimer” statement on the bottom of every OSU page.

Exemptions:

Archived Web pages do not have to comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA unless specifically requested by an individual with a disability. Units with legacy pages not deemed high priority also do not have to comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA, but are encouraged to identify and improve the accessibility of their pages.

Undue burden and non-availability may qualify as an exemption from the policy under the following circumstances:

  • Where compliance is not technically possible, or is unreasonably expensive or difficult in that it may require extraordinary measures due to the nature of the IT or the intent of a web page.

The conclusion of undue burden or non-availability is an institutional decision to be made by the Office of Equity & Inclusion in consultation with the affected unit and others with relevant perspective or expertise.

Effective Date:

This policy will take effect six months after its adoption.

Effective: February 22, 2012

Date of Adoption and Last Date Updated:

Adopted: August 22, 2011

Updated: August 22, 2011

Part III: Responsible Parties for Implementation of this Policy

  • President
  • Provost
  • Vice Presidents
  • Vice Provosts
  • Deans/Directors
  • Department Heads/Chairs
  • Any employees (including students) who are responsible for their unit’s website or web-based applications
  • Anyone who uses web pages to provide university services, programs or activities
  • Any individual that creates or edits University affiliated web pages

Part IV: Compliance

The Office of Equity & Inclusion is responsible for overseeing compliance with regard to state and federal regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability and require reasonable accommodation. Questions or concerns regarding compliance with the policy or standards, or complaints of discrimination, should be directed to the Office of Equity & Inclusion.

Each individual or unit responsible for web content must also know the policy and how to provide accessible content. Those responsible must also monitor and evaluate their content regularly for accessibility. Help on this can be found on the Information Technology Accessibility website or by utilizing the additional contacts below.

Part VI: Definitions

508
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Archived page
A web page that has been kept for information purposes only, with no plans for redesign or alteration.
Electronic Document
Any file that is posted or distributed through a web page. These files usually are created, edited and viewed with such software as word processors, spreadsheets, presentations/slideshows and portable document format (PDF). Common examples of software used to create such files include Microsoft Office, Apple iWork and Adobe products.
Information Technology
Any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment, that is used in the automatic acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information. The term information technology includes computers, ancillary equipment, software, firmware and similar procedures, services (including support services), and related resources.
Legacy Web Page
A web page published prior to the effective date of this policy.
New Web Page
A web page created for or by any Oregon State University unit after the effective date of this policy.
Revised Web Page
A web page that has been altered or updated through visual design or significant content additions, subtractions, or modifications after the effective date of this policy.
W3C
World Wide Web Consortium. The main international standards group for website design.
WCAG
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, version 1.0 published in 1999, version 2.0 published in 2008. WCAG is a working group of the W3C that focuses specifically on accessibility standards creation. WCAG is a widely accepted and commonly used standard.
Web-based Applications
Usually provided by third-party contracted services, web-based applications are any service that is provided online, but not specifically in a web page format. Examples include Banner, Blackboard, Data Warehouse, Luminis and My Degrees.
Web Page
A single internet address (aka URL) that contains content that must be viewed through a web browser. Usually, multiple web pages are linked to define a website.
Website
A group of connected web pages regarded as a single entity, or several closely related topics, such as a college, department or office website. A website usually consists of a home page.

Part VII: Additional Contacts

This table provides information on who to contact for different questions one may have with regards to the policy and how to ensure the accessibility of your website.
Subject Contact Phone Email
Primary Contact(s) Gabriel Merrell 541.737.3671 gabriel.merrell@oregonstate.edu
Primary Contact(s) Angelo Gomez 541.737.3556 angelo.gomez@oregonstate.edu
Policy Question Office of Equity & Inclusion 541.737.3556 oei@oregonstate.edu
Technical Questions OSU Accessibility Web Site none accessibility@oregonstate.edu
Technical Questions Information Services 541.737.7297 Visit the IS web page
Technical Questions Office of Equity & Inclusion 541.737.3671 gabriel.merrell@oregonstate.edu
Web Page Design Central Web Services 541.737.1189 Contact CWS
Web Page Design Web Communications 541.737.3871 web.communications@oregonstate.edu
Inaccessible Web Pages Contact page webmaster
Making IT/Web Pages Accessible OSU Accessibility Web Site none accessibility@oregonstate.edu
Making IT/Web Pages Accessible Office of Equity & Inclusion 541.737.3671 gabriel.merrell@oregonstate.edu

Contact Info

Equity and Inclusion
526 Kerr Administration Corvallis, Oregon 97331 Ph: 541-737-3556 Accessibility Email
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