Why Digital Accessibility?

There are a variety of guiding principles for digital accessibility in higher education.  

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and mandates equitable and timely access to programs, services, and activities for individuals with disabilities.  Title II of the ADA, which pertains to state and local government entities, states that no qualified individual with a disability shall be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity.   

Section 504 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, solely by reason disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, open new opportunities for people with disabilities and encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. On January 18, 2017, Section 508 was refreshed to include formal adoption of WCAG 2.0 Level AA as the minimum compliance standard for accessibility. 

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2 Level AA refers to standards for web content accessibility that have been developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international community where member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards.

State of Tennessee House Bill Number 1857

The State of Tennessee House Bill Number 1857 states in part that institutions are to develop, procure, and maintain electronic instructional materials that are accessible.  This applies to digital curricular content, including course-assigned books, articles, and webpages used to facilitate the teaching and learning process as well as any related information technology.

Tennessee Board of Regents Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Policy

The Tennessee Board of Regents defines equity as the process of ensuring “each student has access to a high-quality education and that each student receives what they need to be successful through the intentional design of the college experience.” Furthermore, the system asserts a commitment to the intentional creation of an environment where all students, faculty, and staff can thrive.  TBR promotes in equity-minded policies, practices, and behaviors that eliminate equity gaps for all students.