Welcome to the Americans With Disabilities Act section of our webpage.
This front page will reflect our most current information on federal disabilities law affecting educational institutions.
DOJ settlement with edX on accessibility (April 2015) Among other things, the settlement requires edX to provide accurate captioning for the deaf, oral navigation signals for the blind, and programing changes so those with dexterity disabilities can navigate content without struggling with a hand-operated mouse.The four-year agreement requires edX to, among other things, make the edX website, its mobile applications, and learning management system software, through which online courses are offered, fully accessible within 18 months;
National Association of the Deaf v. Harvard University: Complaint filed Fed. 12, 2015 alleging violations of the ADA and 504 for failure to caption or properly caption online educational offerings, including MOOCs.
National Association of the Deaf v. MIT, Complaint filed Feb. 12, 2015 alleging violations of the ADA and 504 for failure to caption or properly caption online educational offerings, including videos.
Harvard and MIT are sued over lack of closed captions, New York Times, Feb. 12, 2015
National Association for the Deaf Press Release on cases-2-12-15
Settlement Agreement between National Federation of the Blind and U.S. Department of Education (10-8-2014) This settlement resulted from a complaint filed in 2011 by a blind student who had a loan servicer who denied his request for a copy of his loan statement in Braille, and assistance over the phone for filling out a change of payment form. The Department failed to make systematic changes, and the NFB brought suit. The settlement ensures that all student loan information provided by the U.S. Department of Education and loan collection companies witll be accessible to blind students.
Law School Admission Council Consent Decree (May 2014)
LSAC will pay over $7 million in penalties and damages to compensate those who applied for testing accommodations while taking the LSAT over the last five years but were denied accommodations or had their scores flagged as taken under non-standard conditions. See Chronicle article by Katherine Mangan titled Law School Admission Council Agrees to Changes for Disabled Test Takers.
Authors Guild v. Hathi Trust, (C.A. 2nd Cir.) June 10, 2014
The Hathi Trust digital library partnership involved 13 libraries creating a repository of fully scanned books (scanned by Google) that could be used for three purposes:
- Topical Searching. The general public can search for particular terms across all digital copies in the repository. Unless the copyright holder authorizes broader use, the search results show only the page numbers on which the search term is found within the work and the number of times the term appears on each page.
- · Access for individuals with Print Disabilities. Member libraries can provide patrons with print disabilities access to the full text of all scanned works. A “print disability” is any disability that prevents a person from effectively reading printed material. Blindness is one example, but print disabilities also include those that prevent a person from physically holding a book or turning pages.
- · The HDL permits members to create a replacement copy of the work, if the member already owned an original copy, the member’s original copy is lost, destroyed, or stolen, and a replacement copy is unobtainable at a “fair” price elsewhere.
The 2nd Circut Court of Appeals upheld the opinion of the SDNY, finding that the doctrine of fair use permitted full text searchs, security was such that a risk of hacking was minimal, access to patrons with print disabilities and replacement copies was also fair use, although the 2nd Circuit did not find access for those with disablities transformative, it was still a fair use. US author groups were generally found to not have standing to sue, but foreign authors' group did have standing. The case was sent back to the lower court to decide standing on the long term preservation argument.The orphan works part of the project, currently on hold, was not ripe for adjudication. For a full summary of the case, see the article in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled Hathi Trust Digital Library Wins Latest Round in Battle with Authors.
updated 9/11/14 CCR