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Accessibility is a Civil Right, Legal Responsibility

While creating an inclusive environment is a shared responsibility to protect the civil rights of our students, faculty and staff, there is also both federal law and university policy to support and enforce the practice.  

Americans with Disabilities Act

The main federal legislation associated with accessibility is the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the nation’s first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications.”

Boise State University Policy

Boise State has several policies related to accessibility as well.  

  • Policy 1075: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of a Disability states the university and all members of the faculty and staff will operate its programs, activities and services to ensure that no Individuals With Disabilities will be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any such program, activity, or service solely because of their disability.
  • Policy 1060: Non-discrimination and Anti-harassment states the university is committed to maintaining a working and learning environment that is free of unlawful discrimination and harassment and in which every employee, student, contractor, vendor, customer and visitor is treated with dignity and respect.  
  • Policy 2080: Equal Access for Students with Disabilities outlines the process for faculty to create accessible educational content and for students to request accommodations through the Educational Access Center.
  • Policy 8040 University Web Pages and Electronic Publications states the university’s online presence is essential to its mission of teaching, research, creative work, and public service and that our online content will respect intellectual property, individual’s privacy, the need to make information available to everyone without regard to disability, the need to support open public dialogue and respect for the law.
  • Policy 8140 Information Technology Accessibility states the university seeks to deploy information technology that is designed, developed or procured with accessibility in mind.

What can I do to help?

Be comfortable asking questions.

It’s okay not to have all the answers about what accessibility is or to know right away if something is accessible or not.  Remember, this is a journey we are all working towards together and we all likely have similar questions. So the best place to start is by asking questions.  

Ask, what does it mean to be accessible?  If you are publishing content for the web, ask yourself, how can I know if this is accessible?  If you are purchasing new software or technology, ask yourself, “is this accessible.” Asking questions will help you become more confident using the resources available on campus and more empowered creating an accessible, inclusive, environment.

Explore resources available for accessibility.

From the classroom to our websites, Boise State University is committed to supporting a campus environment that is accessible to all, and in particular to individuals with disabilities. The online Access Technology Resource Guide provides an overview of all the different resources available to create, publish, and share accessible content for students, faculty, staff, and the community.

Register for a workshop.

The Office of Information Technology hosts several workshops each month on digital accessibility. See what’s available this month at WordPress and Web Accessibility Training.

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

You also can learn more about what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes by learning more from their experiences. Everyone has something going on and not all challenges are visible. With careful design and consideration, you can create experiences that are accessible and inclusive for everyone. To learn more, we suggest viewing the “From Where I Sit” video series created by California State University.

To learn more about Boise State’s commitment to accessibility, see Accessibility Campus Initiatives.