The work to make UAA more accessible is tightly aligned with movement in the bigger picture. Statewide initiatives, federal cases and international trends all point to the same recognition - basic rights must be honored. It is illegal to discriminate against those with disabilities in brick and mortar locations, and it is illegal to discriminate in online environments as well.
Federal Mandates and Resources within Alaska
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973) requires institutions like UAA to make programs in their entirety accessible.
The American's with Disabilities Act (1990) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, State and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.
DBTAC is the Northwest ADA Information Center with a call center to provide free consultation regarding compliance with accessibility mandates.
The State of Alaska ADA Coordinator's Office is working to make Alaska Modern and Accessible.
UAA has partnered with the State of Alaska ADA Coordinator's Office and others to provide training resources and materials for webmasters, programmers, developers, and others interested in web accessibility. An overview, workshop materials, and a comprehensive WCAG 2.0 guide are available.
Lawsuits of Interest
There have been a number of lawsuits related to the accessibility of online environments, including:
2002 Southwest Airlines was sued for having an inaccessible website but the judge threw the case out because there were other equivalent ways in which business could be conducted.
2008 Target settles a case by agreeing to make their website accessible because there are not equivalent ways to do business, items are sold online that are not sold in brick and mortar, and not every community has a brick and mortar store. It is illegal to discriminate and have a website that people using assistive technologies can not use.
2010 Kindle case is settled after Arizona State University agrees to make sure any purchase of electronic textbook readers will be accessible to the blind.
The World Wide Web Consortium is a multinational effort. The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) offers strategies, guidelines, and resources to make the Web accessible to people with disabilities.
The United Nations Enable site details the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities which the US has signed but not ratified.