Department of Justice finds UC Berkeley must provide accessible online content.

In October 2014, CREEC, on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf, filed an administrative complaint with the Department of Justice (Department) against the University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley) based on alleged violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act through its failure to provide captioning of online courses and other educational content.  On August 30, 2016 the Department presented its findings and conclusions. The investigation addressed Berkeley’s YouTube channel, iTunes U, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on the edX learning platform (UC BerkeleyX).  The Department conducted a wide-ranging review of the university’s online content. The Department reviewed MOOCs through the UC BerkeleyX platform and determined that some videos were not captioned, documents were not formatted for those who use screen readers, and assorted other issues.  Upon a sampling of the YouTube platforms, the Department found a number of barriers to access, including for example automatically generated captions that were inaccurate and incomplete, did not provide non-visual description of the content, or were not contrasted properly for those with visual impairments.  Finally, the Department reviewed a sampling of Berkeley’s iTunes U platform and found that none of the videos reviewed were closed captioned, and none provided an alternative format to the visual information contained into the videos. The Department concluded that Berkeley has violated accessibility requirements.  Specifically, the Department found that Berkeley “is in violation of title II because significant portions of its online content are not provided in an accessible manner when necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with hearing, vision or manual disabilities.   In addition, Berkeley’s administrative methods have not ensured that individuals...

CREEC Files Amicus Brief in Support of Voting Rights

Last Wednesday, CREEC teamed up with a huge and amazing group of civil rights and disability rights advocates to file an amicus brief in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to help uphold the rights of people with disabilities to vote privately and independently. The case originated in Maryland, when the National Federation of the Blind and several other plaintiffs went up against the Maryland State Board of Elections to protest the process of voting via absentee ballot. The plaintiffs alleged that defendants violated the Americans with Disabilities and the Rehabilitation Act by denying Maryland voters with disabilities the same opportunities to vote privately and independently that nondisabled voters enjoyed.  Under the challenged process, Blind voters have to print out absentee ballots, have someone else mark them, and then submit them. This process is not only cumbersome, but impossible for a blind voter to achieve while maintaining their independence and the privacy of their vote.  An existing (but not officially certified) online ballot marking tool would solve the problem, enabling blind voters to complete the entire process using screen readers or other accessible technology.   The Maryland district court held that the Board was violating the ADA and Rehab Act, and ordered the Board to make the online ballot marking tool available to voters with disabilities in the November 2014 general election. After allowing the online marking tool to be used during the 2014 election, the Board of Elections appealed the original decision. They argued that the voting system “as a whole” was accessible because votes with disabilities could vote in person at a number of different locations, and that therefore...

ADAAG-nerding out!

Spent the past two days in Baltimore at the annual conference of the National Disability Rights Network.   I got to attend a couple of amazing workshops, hear speeches by two rockstars of our field, Eve Hill, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and Jim Weinstein, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of United Spinal, and geek out on the ADAAG by teaching a three-hour session on ADA surveys.   Since I just bought a new lens, I also made a pest of myself with my camera.   Herewith a couple of photos. Eve: Jim: My co-presenter Tom Crishon, of the Indiana P&A, and organizer and NDRN Senior Staff Attorney Ken Shiotani, during the hands-on portion of the class: Showing how to measure slope:   context photo and close-up photo. Restroom survey practice. A couple of my slides:       Update: more photos from Baltimore on my personal...