What is Accessibility?

Accessibility means that all TWU students can perceive, understand, navigate, interact and contribute to their experience at TWU, both on campus and online.

If something is inaccessible, it means that the user is not able to perceive, understand, navigate, interact and contribute to whatever it is that they are trying to access.

Access is a campus wide responsibility; Accommodation is for DSS.

Access, when considered from the beginning of content creation, purchasing, etc., is incredibly simple, and has nominal cost, if any.

Accommodation is where DSS will adapt or modify something to be usable by a student with a disability. Accommodation can be costly and typically requires coordination between the student and multiple staff members for the end result to be effective.

Access and accommodation work together to provide an equitable experience for all students interacting with content produced by staff. The National Center for Education Statistics states that 19.4% of the undergraduate population identifies as having a disability. While not all of these students may identify with Disability Services for accommodations, students with disabilities will interact with the content created by staff during their career with TWU.

Who is Responsible for Accessibility?

Any university college, school, department, program or unit that utilizes Electronic Information, Communication and Technology that impacts students, employees and the public as it relates to University business and services. This includes individual faculty and staff who publish Web pages, distribute electronic documents (e.g., via email, Google Drive, Canvas, Social Media, etc.) and/or sign a contract with a vendor of electronic technology for the purpose of conducting University-related business and services.

What Laws Address Accessibility?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title II, gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities that guarantees equal opportunity of employment, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 and Section 508 applies to all state, local, and federal government entities, including colleges and universities, both public and private. Section 504 clearly states that any organization which receives federal subsidies must accommodate people with disabilities. Section 508 states that all content on any digital platform that is available any TWU student or to the public must be accessible. Section 508 Refresh expands the law in reference to accessibility standards issued by WCAG 2.0, “a globally recognized, technology-neutral standard for web content” (United States Access Board). These laws cover all social media, programming materials and digital content, such as documents, images, and videos, etc.

Texas state agencies and institutions of higher education are required to comply with Texas accessibility mandates (TGC 2054.451, 1 TAC 206, 1 TAC 213) to provide accessible electronic information, services, and media, (Texas Department of Information Resources). The mandates refer to federal standards set forth by Section 508 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Definitions

Accessible or Accessibility means that all TWU students can perceive, understand, navigate, interact and contribute to their experience at TWU, both on campus and online.

Assistive Technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

Barrier is a factor or factors in a person’s environment that, through their absence or presence, limit functioning and create disability (World Health Organization).

Disability means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Disability friendly language is language that does not promote out-dated, insulting or patronizing views of disability and people with disabilities. Person first language should be used to bring attention to the person rather than the disability. For example, “student with a disability” or “person using a cane.”
Do not use “victim, retarded, stricken, poor, unfortunate, crippled, handicapped, impaired, challenged, suffering from, burdened by, wheelchair bound, hearing-impaired, differently-abled, disadvantaged, or special needs”. Do not refer to someone without disabilities as “normal,” “abled” or “healthy”. These terms can make people with disabilities feel as though there is something wrong with them and that they are abnormal, less worthy, and inferior.

Electronic information and technology includes information technology and any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in the creation, conversion, or duplication of data or information.

Equally Effective and Equitable Access means that the alternative format or medium communicates the same information at the same time as the original format or medium.

Page last updated 5:03 PM, July 23, 2020