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RE: Section 508

From: Denise Wood <Denise.Wood@unisa.edu.au>
Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2001 11:11:37 +0930
Message-ID: <E1962E8F1DF0D411878300A0C9ACB0F90246368A@exstaff4.magill.unisa.edu.au>
To: "'mburks952@worldnet.att.net'" <mburks952@worldnet.att.net>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Absolutely Mike

Asif, I too work at a state university - but in Australia. We are technically
not covered by Section 508 which is of course a federal initiative of the US -
an amendment of the Rehabilitation Act made by Congress in 1998.

However, we have parallel legislation to the ADA. The Australian legislation is
known as the Disability Discrimination Act and this was passed by the
Commonwealth government in 1992. As with the American legislation, the DDA
states that it is illegal to discriminate ...against persons on the ground of
disability in the areas of:
                  (i)  work, accommodation, education, access to premises,
                       clubs and sport; and
                  (ii) the provision of goods, facilities, services and land;
                  (ii) existing laws; and
                  (iv) the administration of Commonwealth laws and programs 

If you look at the US Government's web site on Section 508 you will see links
to related legislation which includes the ADA. The ADA "Prohibits
discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in
employment, state and local government services, public accommodations,
commercial facilities, and transportation" (http://www.section508.gov/law.html)

So the debate as to whether a state university is classified as a federal
agency and therefore covered by Section 508 is in someways peripheral to the
real issue - accessibility of all teaching and learning materials for students
and staff with disabilities.

The University in which I am employed in Australia is embarking on a major
audit of its corporate and academic web pages and we are putting in place
strategies for building into the design process mechanisms for self-checking
any materials authored for online delivery as well as peer-review of colleagues
sites using automated and manual accessibility testing tools. I am also working
on the preparation of design guidelines for academics developing teaching and
learning materials for online delivery and we will be running a series of
workshops across all campuses on designing for accessibility. This is just the
first step for our University in a massive task and we have a long way to go in
achieving the standards required. However we are well aware of our moral and
legal obligations and at least now we are being proactive about addressing the
identified problems. This would apply equally to the university in which you
work Asif.

Denise Wood
Lecturer: Professional Development (online teaching and learning)

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael R. Burks [mailto:mburks952@worldnet.att.net]
Sent: Saturday, 20 October 2001 9:22 AM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: Section 508

This is just my opinion but does it not have to be accessible as per the ADA
and several other laws?


Mike Burks

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of Access Systems
Sent: Friday, October 19, 2001 7:38 PM
To: Asif
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Section 508

On Fri, 19 Oct 2001, Asif wrote:

> I work at a State University. We had a discussion today whereby our IT
> said that Sec. 508 does not apply to faculty creating web based class
> They felt it only applied to a researcher that received a federal grant. I
> have always thought that all State Institutions were obligated by now to
> comply (since they are inevitably tied to federal resources), "unless they
> could prove undue burden"

I'm not a lawyer but I would think that it would need to be accessible
since it is being made for students who may have gov subsidies, also is
the server being supplied or maintained by any federal source of funding.

Besides which if they get into the habit of just doing it right, they
can't get into trouble later if say a student with a disability is in
their class.

just my opinion, take it at face value


> Would appreciate any info and references.
> Thank you.
> Asif Daya
> Assistant Professor
> College of Health Professions
> Florida Gulf Coast University
> (941) 590-7535
> adaya@fgcu.edu

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Received on Friday, 19 October 2001 21:41:43 UTC

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