Montclair State University Digital Accessibility Policy
The University is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities have an opportunity equal to that of their non-disabled peers to participate in the University’s programs, benefits and services.
In support of this commitment, a policy has been drafted to describe our respective responsibilities as they apply to all manner of digital content, whether they are web pages, document, systems, instructional materials, etc., that are generally available to University employees, students, applicants or the general public. Examples for the general public include parents or guardians of students.
The timing for these items is being set forth separately from the policy, however, what needs to be addressed is defined in the policy.
Key points are as follows:
- All electronic content that is generally available to University employees, students, applicants or the general public must be available to those with disabilities such that they are able to experience a similar experience or outcome.
- New content should be developed in a manner that is accessible
- It is the University’s responsibility to monitor that programs, benefits and services are accessible.
- For items where it is not possible to have the same experience, appropriate accommodations must be made so that the same outcomes are available to those with disabilities.
- Training is to be made available and recorded on an annual basis for all employees who add, edit, delete or procure digital content or 3rd party software.
- Exceptions can be made where there is an undue burden, provided the President or delegated authority has clearly defined the burden and how equally effective access can be provided.
- Other exceptions may be:
- Modifications that fundamentally alterations that materially impact programs, services and activities by persons without a disability
- 3rd party products outside of the University’s control where no alternative exists and are outside of contractual agreements.
- 3rd party items that do not deliver services, programs or activities for the University.
- Items produced before January 1, 2012, those items maintained exclusively for reference, research or recordkeeping, that will not be altered or updated after the date of archiving and clearly identified and stored as archived.
- Items that are not broadly accessible by University employees, students, applicants or the general public where an equally effective access is provided.
- Requests for exceptions should be sent to the Vice President of IT.
For more information on the Montclair State University Digital Accessibility Policy, please contact Candace Fleming, Vice President, Information Technology at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All purchases made by faculty and staff must be in accordance with the Montclair State University procurement policy. The Standard Contract Terms and Conditions makes provisions for the American with Disabilities Act and specifically the accessibility of digital content. According to these contract terms and conditions, applications and services are required to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA (“Benchmarks for Accessibility”). All contractors wishing to provide applications or services to Montclair State University must ensure that content and functionality provided meet the Benchmarks for Accessibility or that an equally effective alternate access can be provided that would ensure, to the maximum extent possible, individuals with disabilities receive the same benefits and services as their non-disabled peers. These requirements are outlined in section 1.4 of the most recent version of the Montclair State University contract terms and conditions which has been provided below for your reference.
In lieu of a Voluntary Product Assessment Template (i.e., VPAT), the vendor or Montclair State University in the case of internally developed applications should document accessibility compliance via an Accessibility Statement based upon Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (i.e., WCAG 2.0). The VPAT is a document prepared by an accessibility firm on behalf of a vendor or service provider. However, for internally developed applications or smaller vendors that perform development activities for Montclair State University, a VPAT may not be practical.
- Sample Accessibility Statement from California State University
- WCAG 2.0 Checklist from WebAIM
- VPAT Repository
For more information on the Montclair State University Procurement Policy, please refer to the Policies and Procedures section on the Procurement website or contact them at 973-655-4145.
Academic Accommodations Procedures
An appropriate academic adjustment is an accommodation necessary to ensure complete access to and full participation in the educational process for students with disabilities. An institution must make reasonable accommodations in order to provide the student with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in the institution’s courses, programs, and activities. This does not include such services as personal care, special academic advisement, workshops, support groups or tutoring. In order to arrange for academic accommodations on the basis of disability, students must follow the subsequent procedure.
- Self-Disclosure : It is the student’s responsibility to initiate contact with the office of Disability Resource Center and to request accommodations and services in a timely manner.
- Documentation : The student must present comprehensive documentation of a disability from a physician, psychologist, and/or learning specialist as appropriate for that disability. Documentation must provide a diagnosis and explanation for how the condition may manifest itself in an academic setting. Empirical data, when appropriate, should be provided. Recommendations for academic accommodations may be included in the documentation. Specific guidelines for each disability condition are available. It is the student’s obligation to provide documentation of a disability in order to establish eligibility for support services and any reasonable and appropriate accommodations.
- Meet your Counselor : The student must make an appointment with his or her assigned DRC counselor. Together, the documentation will be carefully reviewed, needs will be assessed, and appropriate accommodations will be determined. In order to receive approval from Disability Resource Center, the accommodations requested must match the academic needs described in the documentation. Accommodations cannot alter the fundamental nature of the course.
- Notify Faculty : The assigned counselor will prepare accommodation request forms for all instructors. The student must sign a release form in order for the presence of a disability to be disclosed to faculty. It is the student’s responsibility to present the accommodation request form to his/her instructors and negotiate the best way for accommodations to be provided. Students must pick up accommodation forms from DRC at the beginning of each semester.
- Follow Through : As courses change and the student’s understanding of his/her learning process increases, accommodations may need to be adjusted. Therefore, students should keep in touch with their assigned counselors to share successes and brainstorm ways to improve their academic performance.
For more information on the Montclair State University Academic Accommodations Procedures, please contact Linda Smith, Director, Disability Resource Center at email@example.com.