[Athen] FW: [leadership] Arizona State suit

Pratik Patel pratikp1 at gmail.com
Thu Jun 25 14:13:03 PDT 2009

-----Original Message-----
From: slovering [mailto:slovering at acb.org]
Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2009 4:04 PM
To: leadership at acb.org
Cc: announce at acb.org
Subject: [leadership] Arizona State suit

For further information, contact:

Mitch Pomerantz, President

(626) 372-5150

mitch.pomerantz at earthlink.net

The American Council of the Blind Joins with the National Federation of the
Blind In Suit Against Arizona State University

Suit Seeks to Prohibit the University from Using Inaccessible e-Book Readers
like the Kindle DX

The American Council of the Blind (ACB) joined with the National Federation
of the Blind (NFB) in filing suit today in federal court against Arizona
State University. The suit seeks an injunction to prohibit the university
from using the new Kindle DX e-book reader produced by Amazon.com, Inc.,
because it is not accessible to blind students. This suit is brought on
behalf of blind students at Arizona State University who will be prevented
from independently accessing their own textbooks on the Kindle DX if this
program takes effect in the fall as planned.

Complainants allege that this is blatant discrimination against students who
are blind, as well as a violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
of 1973, as amended, along with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Reading books on the Kindle DX is not an option for students who are blind.
Operation of this device requires vision, since the menus are only displayed
visually. When Arizona State University announced its intent to require
students to use this device to access class materials, it essentially barred
blind students from their programs.

Darrell Shandrow, a blind student pursuing a degree in journalism at ASU,
said: "Not having access to the advanced reading features of the Kindle DX -
including the ability to download books and course materials, add my own
bookmarks and notes, and look up supplemental information instantly on the
Internet when I encounter it in my reading -will lock me out of this new
technology and put me and other blind students at a competitive disadvantage
relative to our sighted peers. While my peers will have instant access to
their course materials in electronic form, I will still have to wait weeks
or months for accessible texts to be prepared for me, and these texts will
not provide the access and features available to other students. That is
why I am standing up for myself and with other blind Americans to end this
blatant discrimination."

Rebecca Bridges, president of the National Alliance of Blind Students
(NABS), a special-interest affiliate of ACB, said: "NABS is disappointed in
Arizona State University's decision to endorse a solution that is not
accessible to all of their students. By requiring that textbooks be
accessed on the Kindle DX book reader, this public institution has placed a
barrier in front of its blind and visually impaired students that does not
exist for their sighted colleagues."

Mitch Pomerantz, president of the American Council of the Blind, commented:
"ACB's involvement in this litigation is based upon our concern that to
permit, unchallenged, colleges and universities to require students to
purchase the Kindle in order to access all materials for a particular class
is blatantly discriminatory toward blind and visually impaired students, and
sets a dangerous precedent which other institutions of higher learning could
choose to follow. We must vigorously oppose any such initiative until such
time as Amazon, Inc. begins manufacturing Kindle products with full
accessibility. To do anything less would be to turn our backs on the
thousands of young blind and visually impaired men and women who are seeking
to be productive, contributing members of society by obtaining a college

About the American Council of the Blind

The American Council of the Blind is a national membership organization. Its
members are blind, visually impaired, and fully sighted individuals who are
concerned about the dignity and well-being of blind people throughout the
nation. Formed in 1961, ACB is one of the largest organizations of blind
people in the world, with more than 70 state and special-interest affiliates
and a nationwide network of chapters and members spanning the globe.

For more information about the American Council of the Blind, contact:
Melanie Brunson, Executive Director, American Council of the Blind, 2200
Wilson Blvd., Suite 650, Arlington, VA 22201; phone (202) 467-5081 or
toll-free, 1-800-424-8666; or visit the web site, www.acb.org.

More information about the athen-list mailing list