The University of Missouri is dedicated to providing equal access to students, faculty, staff, and visitors with disabilities. To ensure that all members of the university community have the same access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the University of Missouri has adopted an accessibility policy and a procedure for evaluating the accessibility of ICT products. This webpage explains the university’s process through which the Division of IT Adaptive Computing Technology (ACT) Center evaluates the accessibility of ICT and our vendor requirements.
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As post-secondary institutions increasingly adopt new technologies, they are obligated to provide people with disabilities equal access to courses, information, and all other aspects of campus life. There are a number of laws that outline accessibility responsibilities and obligations.
According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991 , colleges and universities are prohibited from discriminating against students, faculty, and staff with disabilities.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act states that qualified individuals with disabilities must not be excluded from, denied the benefits of, or be the recipients of discriminatory action through any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance.
The Americans with Disabilities Act ensures equal opportunity and access to persons with disabilities seeking employment as well as participation in federal services and public programs and affords legal protection against discrimination.
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to public colleges and universities. Section 508 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 established requirements for Electronic and information technology developed, maintained, procured, or used by the federal government.
Under the Missouri Statutes (section 161.900.1) public colleges and universities are defined as state departments and must, therefore, follow the same guidelines specified in these requirements, which were created to comply with the standards outlined in section 508. The University of Missouri is covered under the state of Missouri Statute (section 161.935.1) , which ensures people with disabilities comparable access to electronic and information technology.
IT Procurement Process
An IT procurement team composed of members from the ACT Center, Information Security, and Enterprise Architecture, as well as any other relevant departments, meet to analyze the proposed technology.
Accessibility is an important factor considered when the university analyzes a product for risks. The Information Technology Security and Requirements Questionnaire (ITSRQ) is a document the university uses to assess how well a vendor meets all the requirements and to streamline the IT procurement of the product.
The University of Missouri requires vendors to provide documentation describing the level of accessibility of their products. We will be in a transition period to enhance digital accessibility standards from January 1st, 2016 through December 31st, 2016. We will continue to require a Section 508 VPAT for each vendor product; however, all vendors are encouraged to submit the WCAG 2.0 Support Statement Form.
Beginning January 1st, 2017, we will require all vendors to submit a completed copy of the WCAG 2.0 Support Statement Form. Vendors may choose to also submit a Section 508 VPAT with their documentation, but it will no longer be required beginning January 1st, 2017.
If the university enters into a contract with a company, the following accessibility documentation may become part of the final legal contract. Therefore, it is critical that the vendor complete all required forms clearly and accurately.
The WCAG 2.0 Support Statement Form is based on WCAG 2.0 . WCAG 2.0 are technical accessibility standards for creating and maintaining websites and web applications and cover a variety of content, including images, media, and online forms. This form assesses the accessibility of a website or web application by explaining how the product meets or does not meet each of the WCAG 2.0 success criteria outlined in the document. We recommend that someone familiar with WCAG 2.0 and web accessibility completes WCAG 2.0 Support Statement Form. On January 1, 2017, the ACT Center will require vendors to submit a WCAG 2.0 Support Statement Form.
A Voluntary Product Accessibility Template® (VPAT) provides the potential buyer with the company’s assessment of the compliance of a product with Section 508 standards . We recommend that someone familiar with Section 508 Technical standards and web accessibility completes VPAT.
An Accessibility Roadmap addresses gaps in product accessibility identified in a VPAT or WCAG 2.0 Support Statement Form. The roadmap is a proposal describing how and when the product will be fully accessible. By creating a detailed Accessibility Roadmap, a company illustrates their dedication to improving their product’s accessibility.
An accessibility statement defines the company’s commitment to accessibility and describes their compliance with either Section 508 or WCAG 2.0. It will not be accepted as a replacement or alternative to the WCAG 2.0 Support Statement Form or VPAT.
Third Party Certification
If a trusted third party has audited the product for accessibility, the university will accept this certification along with the WCAG 2.0 Support Statement Form or VPAT. A conformance statement will not be accepted as a replacement or alternative to the WCAG 2.0 Support Statement Form or VPAT.
For additional assistance, contact us at 573.884.2828.