NFB: NYU, Northwestern and Other Schools Adopting Google Apps Discriminate Against the Blind

Claude AlmansiBy Claude Almansi
Editor, Accessibility Issues
ETCJ Associate Administrator

The National Federation of the Blind is requesting the US Department of Justice to “investigate civil rights violations . . . against blind faculty and students” by New York University and Northwestern University and four school districts in Oregon.

Motive:  their adoption of  Google Apps for Education,  a limited series of Google applications  (mail, calendar, docs, spreadsheets and sites) that educational bodies can put under their domain name, and where they can  control what their staff and students do, but which present serious accessibility issues for the blind. Continue reading

e-Book Readers: Attempting to Bugger the Blind Is Bad for Business

Accessibility 4 All by Claude Almansi

DoJ’s and DoE’s letter to college and university presidents on e-book readers

On June 29, 2010,  Thomas E. Perez (Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice) and Russlynn Ali (Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education) sent a joint letter on electronic book readers:

Dear College or University President:

We write to express concern on the part of the Department of Justice and the Department of Education that colleges and universities are using electronic book readers that are not accessible to students who are blind or have low vision and to seek your help in ensuring that this emerging technology is used in classroom settings in a manner that is permissible under federal law.  A serious problem with some of these devices is that they lack an accessible text-to-speech function.  Requiring use of an emerging technology in a classroom environment when the technology is inaccessible to an entire population of individuals with disabilities–individuals with visual disabilities–is discrimination prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) unless those individuals are provided accommodations or modifications that permit them to receive all the educational benefits provided by the technology in an equally effective and equally integrated manner.(…)

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