Miami University Agrees to Overhaul Critical Technologies to Settle Disability Discrimination Lawsuit
The Justice Department filed a proposed consent decree today to resolve allegations that Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by using inaccessible classroom and other technologies.
Under the consent decree, which is pending court approval, Miami University will make significant improvements to ensure that technologies across all its campuses are accessible to individuals with disabilities and will pay $25,000 to compensate individuals with disabilities. The agreement also requires reforms to Miami University’s technology procurement practices. These improvements will benefit all current and future Miami University students with disabilities.
As part of the consent decree, Miami University will, among other things:
- ensure that its web content and learning management systems conform with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 AA standards;
- meet with every student who has a disability for which he or she requires assistive technologies or curricular materials in alternate formats, and their instructors, every semester to develop an accessibility plan; and
- procure web technology or software that best meets various accessibility standards.
“Technology in the classroom and across campus provides the backbone for full and equal participation in college life,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This settlement will ensure that students with disabilities can access and receive the full benefit of 21st century technology in higher education.”
“The courage of the students who participated in the United States’ investigation led to this broad agreement that touches the lives of Miami University students with disabilities,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman of the Southern District of Ohio. “This agreement between the Justice Department and Miami University will ensure full access to technology that is crucial to academic success.”
The Justice Department intervened in this case, Dudley v. Miami University, which was originally brought by a single student. The intervention expanded the case to ensure comprehensive relief under Title II of the ADA for all Miami University students with disabilities. In the complaint, the department alleged that Miami University uses technologies in its programs, services and activities that are inaccessible to individuals with disabilities, including current and former students who have vision, hearing or learning disabilities.
The department further alleged that Miami University failed to make these technologies accessible and otherwise failed to ensure that individuals with disabilities could interact with Miami University’s websites and access course assignments, textbooks and other materials on an equal basis with students who do not have disabilities. These failures deprived current and former students and others with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from all of Miami University’s educational opportunities.
For more information or for a copy of the consent decree, please visit the department’s ADA website at www.ada.gov. Those interested in finding out more about the ADA may also call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).