Miami University, DOJ Reach Agreement on ADA Compliance

Oct 17, 2016

The consent decree means technology at Miami will be compatible with devices like this Braille note taker used by visually impaired students.
Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio says Miami University has agreed to make sure technologies on all of its campuses are accessible to students with disabilities. Ben Glassman says the agreement comes after Miami was accused of not being compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"It's a 60 page decree that addresses pretty much every aspect of Miami's curricular and extracurricular accessibility and should make a huge difference for all students who attend Miami who have disabilities," Glassman says.

University Deputy General Counsel Mitchell McCrate says under the consent decree Miami will make sure all of its web sites meet handicap accessible standards, use technology that will meet accessibility standards, and will talk to students who have disabilities to make sure they have what they need.

"We're happy to be moving on, and we're happy to have this matter resolved. It's in everyone's best interest that we reach this compromise and this understanding and we're pleased to be continuing our efforts to educate all of our students."

The consent decree grew out of a 2014 lawsuit filed by a visually impaired student. That case was settled in February.

McCrate says other universities will likely be looking at this agreement because there aren't standards in place for accessible technology.

"Part of the strategy here, both I think from the standpoint of the government and the NFB, which was originally in this lawsuit, the National Federation for the Blind, is to try and force software companies, technology developers to make their products accessible from the get-go."

McCrate says individual schools don't have the power to force developers to make ADA compliant software.

The agreement must still be approved by a federal judge.