[Athen] In the NEWS

Laurie Vasquez vasquez at sbcc.edu
Wed May 13 09:45:15 PDT 2015

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Justice Department Moves to Intervene in Disability Discrimination Lawsuit
Alleging that Miami University Uses Inaccessible Educational Technologies
and Course Materials

The Justice Department announced today that it has moved to intervene
in *Aleeha
Dudley v. Miami University, et al.*, 14-cv-038 (S.D. Ohio), a private
lawsuit alleging disability discrimination by Miami University in Oxford,
Ohio. In the United States’ motion to intervene and complaint, the United
States alleges that Miami University has violated Title II of the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA) by requiring current and former students with
disabilities to use inaccessible websites and learning management system
software, and by providing these students with inaccessible course
materials. The motion was filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern
District of Ohio.

As alleged in today’s filings, Miami University uses technologies that are
inaccessible to current and former students who have vision, hearing or
learning disabilities. Miami University has failed to ensure that
individuals with disabilities can interact with its websites and learning
management systems and access course assignments, textbooks and graphical
materials on an equal basis with students without disabilities. Miami’s
failures have deprived persons with disabilities of a full and equal
opportunity to benefit from Miami University’s educational opportunities.

Many students with disabilities, including those who have vision, hearing
or learning disabilities, require assistive technologies to use computers
and interact with electronic content. Examples of assistive technologies
include screen reader software, refreshable Braille displays, audio
description, captioning and keyboard navigation. Screen reader software
audibly reads aloud information that is otherwise presented visually on a
computer screen; refreshable Braille displays convert digital text into
Braille; captioning translates video narration and sound into text; and
keyboard navigation allows individuals with visual or manual dexterity
disabilities to access computer content using a keyboard rather than a

The complaint seeks a judgment from the court requiring Miami University to
provide accessible materials to ensure that individuals with disabilities
can equally participate in and benefit from Miami University’s educational
opportunities, and to compensate aggrieved individuals.

“Education is said to be the great equalizer of American society, and
educational technologies hold great promise to make this a reality,” said
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil
Rights Division. “However, students with disabilities continue to
encounter an impenetrable glass ceiling of opportunity when schools fail to
comply with the ADA.”

Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by
state and local government entities, including colleges and universities.
Title III of the ADA likewise prohibits disability discrimination by
private educational institutions.

Those interested in finding out more about the ADA may call the Justice
Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 (TDD
800-514-0383) or visit www.ada.gov.
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