- The University of California, Berkeley has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to make their free online content accessible to individuals with hearing, visual, and manual disabilities.
- This proposed consent decree aims to resolve allegations that UC Berkeley violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The University provides online content that is inaccessible to people with disabilities.
- If the Court approves UC Berkeley will take steps to make all future content and existing content accessible. Additionally, the university will hire a web accessibility coordinator and provide training to relevant staff members regarding accessibility.
UC Berkeley makes conferences, lectures, sporting events, graduation ceremonies and other university events available to the public on its websites. It is also available on other online platforms, including its YouTube and Apple Podcasts channels. It also makes courses available on its UC BerkeleyX platform. Majority content is not accessible to people with disabilities because it lacks captions and transcripts for individuals who are deaf. And also alternative text describing visual images for individuals who are blind. The format does not allow individuals with disabilities to access the content using screen readers or other assistive technology.
According to the lawsuit, UC Berkeley faces widespread issues of inaccessibility. For example, the Justice Department’s complaint highlights problems with the automatic captions on its online content, particularly YouTube videos. These captions often exhibit improper grammar and can be challenging to comprehend. This makes them inaccessible to individuals with hearing disabilities who rely on written captions.
Moreover, the university’s visual online content lacks alternative text or audio descriptions, rendering it inaccessible to individuals with vision disabilities. Additionally, certain content contains links that cannot be accessed via keyboard. Thereby creating difficulties for individuals who depend on screen readers to navigate the institution’s website.
Justice Department Secures Agreement with UC Berkeley
Today, the Justice Department announced the filing of a proposed consent decree in federal court. It addresses allegations that UC Berkeley violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The allegations claim that a significant portion of UC Berkeley’s free online content is inaccessible to individuals with hearing, vision, and manual disabilities. Along with the complaint outlining the discrimination allegations, the proposed consent decree was submitted.
As part of the agreement, UC Berkeley has been given a timeframe of 3 1/2 years to implement necessary changes. This includes revising its accessibility policies and engaging an independent auditor to evaluate the accessibility of its content.
“Through this consent decree, the Department of Justice demonstrates its commitment to ensuring compliance with the ADA by providing individuals with disabilities a full and equal opportunity to participate in and enjoy the benefits of UC Berkeley’s services, programs and activities in equal measure with people without disabilities.”U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds for the Northern District of California
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codemantra’s artificial intelligence-enabled content solution transforms learning content for higher education institutions. It helps to make supplementary materials like lecture notes, assessments, and presentations accessible to students with disabilities.
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