[Athen] Ensuring 508 compliance of university IT products

Teresa Wells Haven tlwells at uark.edu
Mon Jan 8 12:04:06 PST 2007

Hi, Howard. Arkansas has a state law requiring accessibility checks at
the procurement level and proof of accessibility before acquisition; our
biggest problems have been 1) most folks in procurement didn't know the
law even existed, 2) it has no enforcement, and 3) even after they've
been told about it, they keep buying products without asking for
accessibility checks in advance (OR they make the mistake of believing
the vendors who say that they're compliant and don't ask for an
independent verification). There are several of us who just keep
shaking the trees and yelling at them (after trying the educational
outreach method, of course), but so far nothing that has really made the
situation any better. If someone has a system that's working, I'd be
happy to try it here; as it is, I'm to the point of waiting for someone
to file a lawsuit for failure to comply with state law.


Teresa Wells Haven, Ph.D.
Assistant Director for Assistive Technology
Center for Students with Disabilities
ARKU 104
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701
479-575-3104 (voice)
479-575-7445 (fax)
479-575-3646 (tdd)
ada at uark.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Howard Kramer
Sent: Monday, January 08, 2007 11:34 AM
To: Access Technologists in Higher Education Network
Subject: [Athen] Ensuring 508 compliance of university IT products

Hello All & Happy New Year (isn't it great to be back!):

I'm working with our office of Provost for Technology to possibly
implement a 508 check at the procurement level for any system-wide IT
purchases - i.e. webmail, calendaring, etc. I'm wondering if any other
campuses have implemented some type of 508 stipulation at the
procurement level, or if not, do you have any other type of mechanism in
play to ensure 508 compliance of campus-wide IT - besides simply the
campus education & outreach approach.

This all follows a frustrating experience last year when ITS purchased a
new inaccessible Webmail/calendaring product after we gave them feedback
that the product was not accessible. Our ITS dept. has usually been
cooperative with trying to comply with 508. However, in this case they
proceeded with the purchase with the argument that using a different
interface - i.e. Outlook - screenreader users could still access the
product. Not a view I agree with.


Howard Kramer
Assistive Technology Lab Coordinator
AT Conference Coordinator
Disability Services
CU-Boulder, 107 UCB
Boulder, Co 80309

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