This policy addresses the responsibilities and processes for Stanford’s electronic content and accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Stanford is committed to making its electronic content accessible to its students, faculty, staff, and all other individuals with disabilities participating or engaging in the programs and activities of the University.
Applicability: This policy is applicable to all Stanford University academic, administrative, and research units that develop, use, maintain, or procure electronic content used in conducting University business.
Policy Statement: Stanford University electronic content is to conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, Level A and Level AA standard. Where conformance with this standard is not technically feasible or would result in a fundamental alteration of the nature of the services provided through the electronic content, the University will engage with the individual to provide an equally effective alternative.
When an individual with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use.
Alternative access to electronic content that, while not required to produce the identical result or level of achievement, affords an individual with a disability equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement in the most integrated setting appropriate to the individual’s needs.
Individual with a disability
An individual who has one or more physical or mental impairments that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
Electronic information and data, as well as the encoding that defines its structure, presentation, and interactions, that accesses, displays, or transmits University or student information within the Stanford University domain or are used in the programs or activities of the University. Examples include, but are not limited to: websites; web- and mobile-based applications; audio and video media; and electronic documents.
As it relates to equally effective alternative access to electronic content, timely means that the individual with a disability receives access to electronic content in reasonable time frame that meets the needs of the individual based on the circumstances.
Defined as current and prospective Stanford students, applicants for admission, Stanford staff and faculty, and other participants in the University's programs and activities.
WCAG 2.0 Level A and Level AA
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0, Level A and Level AA (“WCAG 2.0 A/AA”) are technical standards for web content accessibility developed by the World Wide Web Consortium.
Oversight of this policy is delegated to the head of a specific subdivision of the University governance structure (“department”), such as a Dean, Department Chair, Administrative Department head, Vice President, Vice Provost, or Principal Investigator (“lead”). This individual is responsible for compliance with all University policies relating to the accessibility of electronic content owned, used, or otherwise residing in their department.
The lead may designate another University employee either internal or external to the department to manage and address the accessibility of electronic content residing in said department.
The designated person will:
- Take appropriate actions to uphold the accessibility of electronic content.
- Communicate this policy, and other applicable accessibility information and practices to electronic content users.
- Cooperate with the Office of Digital Accessibility to respond to and resolve accessibility issues resulting from the development, use, maintenance, or purchase of the electronic content under their control.
- Stanford University personnel responsible for existing electronic content, subject to the requirements and exceptions of the applicable laws, are to bring those resources into conformance with the WCAG Level 2.0, Level A and Level AA standard.
- New electronic content under development and purchase, including any development and purchases for major revisions or updates of existing resources, are to conform to WCAG 2.0 Level A and Level AA.
- For electronic content in which conformance with the WCAG 2.0, Level A and Level AA standard is not technically feasible or would result in a fundamental alteration of the nature of the services provided through the electronic content, the University will provide an equally effective alternative.
- University websites are to contain a mechanism for users to report accessibility barriers to a designated person, with notification to the Office of Digital Accessibility. This may include an accessible online form, email, or other contact information to report the accessibility barrier. The recommended location for this information is on the website's "Accessibility" page, and to provide a link to that page in the header or footer that persists on every page.
4. Temporary Exception Process
A temporary exception to this policy may be requested through the Office of Digital Accessibility. Exception requests must include a detailed description as to why conformance with the Policy is not technically feasible or would result in a fundamental alteration of the nature of the services provided through the electronic content. An exception request granted for specified electronic content is for a limited duration and will be reviewed on a periodic basis.
5. Implementation Assistance
Techniques for achieving accessibility, technical guidance, and best practices for electronic content are available from the Office of Digital Accessibility. Such assistance may include, but is not limited to, website scanning and monitoring, manual code review, user testing with assistive technologies, accessibility tools and procedures for evaluating websites and web-based applications, accessibility solutions for mobile applications, and training and best practices for electronic content accessibility.
6. Responding to Accessibility Issues
Addressing the accessibility of electronic content is an ongoing process. Upon being notified of an accessibility issue with electronic content, a University employee must promptly:
- Acknowledge the receipt of the issue in writing to the User reporting the issue, with a copy to the Office of Digital Accessibility that identifies the date and the reported accessibility issue.
- Consult with the Office of Digital Accessibility to determine appropriate next steps. These steps may include the following:
- Recommendation of a resolution to the reported accessibility issue.
- Determination of a reasonable timeline for resolution and, if appropriate, respond to the User reporting the issue of that expected timeline.
- Communication with the User reporting the issue to determine if an alternate access solution is necessary while the accessibility issue is resolved.
- Communication with the User reporting the issue with information as to the status of the accessibility issue if the resolution timeline is modified or changed.
- Upon resolution of the issue, if appropriate, communicate the status to the User reporting the issue and verify their ability to access the electronic content.
If the Office of Digital Accessibility, in consultation with the University representative responsible for the electronic content, determines that the electronic content cannot be made accessible, or that doing so would constitute a fundamental alteration of the nature of the services provided through the electronic content, the Office of Accessible Education (for academic-related issues) or Diversity and Access Office (for non-academic-related issues) will engage in an interactive process with the User about alternative methods for providing the information or service in an equally effective alternative manner.
In the event that an equally effective alternative manner cannot be provided or the User is not satisfied with the results, they may contact the ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer at the Diversity and Access Office by telephone at (650) 723-0755 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance in resolving the issue.
7. Cognizant Office
The Office of Digital Accessibility, or other person designated by the President, shall be the primary contact for the interpretation, monitoring, and implementation of this policy.
8. Sources for More Information
- Administrative Guide Memo 1.7.4 - Equal Employment Opportunity, Non-Discrimination, and Affirmative Action Policy
- Administrative Guide Memo 2.2.7 - Requesting Workplace Accommodations For Employees With Disabilities
- Administrative Guide Memo 6.2.1 - Computer and Network Usage Policy
- Accommodating Students with Disabilities - Stanford Registrar’s Office
- Services Requiring Special Consideration/Treatment: Web-based Applications - Buying and Paying for Services
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0
- Center for Teaching and Learning - Equitable Access
- Diversity and Access Office is the designated office responsible for ensuring University-wide compliance with regulations concerning non-discrimination and disability access.
- Office of Accessible Education is the campus entity designated to provide academic and housing accommodations to matriculated students registered with the office.
- Office of Digital Accessibility is the campus entity designated to provide resources and services to the Stanford community in support of the creation, development, and procurement of accessible electronic content and services.