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Preserve accessibility R&D at University of Texas - sign petition today!

From: James Craig <jcraig@apple.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2008 11:18:17 -0700
Message-Id: <CF5B8410-FC15-4798-BB39-9507EDCD0ADB@apple.com>
To: wai-ig list <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Many of you know John Slatin as the former co-chair of the WCAG 2.0  
Working Group. Today, University of Texas at Austin plans to shut down  
the Accessibility Institute John started. Please sign the petition to  
keep Accessibility R&D alive and well at the University of Texas.


Begin forwarded message:

> From: Sharron Rush <srush@knowbility.org>
> As news has spread of the closing of UT's Accessibility Institute,
> many have asked for a simple way to register their objections.
> Knowbility has created and posted an online petition and we welcome
> all the support you can bring.  Below is background (thank you Mike
> Moore for a great summary) if you want to distribute to other networks
> and here is the link:
> http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/SavetheInstitute
> Thank you!
> At 09:03 AM 8/27/2008, Mike Moore wrote:
> 1.    The Accessibility Institute at the University of  Texas will be
> closed effective August 29th 2008.
> 2.    Proposals to move the work to the College of Information and/or
> the College of Computer Science have not been accepted. Although those
> institutions are capable of conducting the research there are no
> specific funds, faculty, or researcher positions to support this work.
> 3.    The two primary researchers from the Accessibility Institute are
> no longer available.  The founder and Director, John Slatin, PhD
> passed away last spring and Kay Lewis, PhD has accepted another
> position.
> 4.    The University's IT department has few resources dedicated to
> accessibility.  Two systems analysts are assigned 15% of their time
> each to oversee accessibility for the University's 1M+ web pages.
> It is very disappointing that the University has made this decision.
> The University of Texas has the stature, funding, reputation, and
> experience necessary to attract researchers and faculty needed to
> continue and build the Accessibility Institute.  All that the
> University's administration seems to lack is the interest.
> The UT Accessibility Institute through Dr. Slatin was able to
> considerable influence on the development and implementation of
> accessibility standards world-wide.  This included the formation of
> the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative and the WCAG 1.0 and 2.0 as well
> as the US Access Board and the Section 508 standards. Although I have
> tremendous admiration and respect for John, I do not believe that he
> would have been as influential had his advocacy not been backed by the
> solid research conducted at the Institute and the prestige of the
> University of Texas. The loss of the UT Accessibility Institute is a
> loss for the University, the State of Texas, the nation, and the
> world.  Most importantly it is a loss for millions of disabled people
> who have benefited from the research, education, and advocacy that was
> conducted through the Institute.
> The University runs promotional commercials during sports broadcasts
> where Walter Cronkite, speaks about the influence of the University.
> "The University of Texas, what starts here changes the world." This
> was certainly true of the Accessibility Institute. By closing the
> Institute, the University of Texas is signaling that accessibility is
> not a priority anymore.  I can only hope that this decision does not
> change the world.
> Today I am ashamed of my alma mater.
Received on Friday, 29 August 2008 18:18:59 UTC

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