For Use in Classrooms, Research or other instances when more than just individual personal use is required.

In regard to software license acquisitions, or application service agreements/leases, a couple things to be aware, any software or service agreements may only be signed by the university’s CIO.   Before the CIO will sign any agreements, an “accessibility review” must be performed for the product or service. Similarly even if an agreement does not require a signature any acquisitions not meeting one of the exceptions, noted below, are subject to an accessibility review. 

As the requester and user of a product or service it will be your responsibility to perform, or have performed for you, an accessibility review of the product or service. The review must be completed and approved by the Accessibility Compliance Committee (ACC) before students, faculty or staff may make use of the product or service. Please refer to the university’s Information and Communication Technology Accessibility Policy. Note this policy covers ICT hardware as well. Exceptions include; a product that may be used by a single user only and that user must confirm they have no accessibility issues using the product, or if you can show no other product is capable of performing the services that meets the accessibility requirements, and/or that there will be a loss of opportunity/hardship for SU faculty and staff and students by not using a particular product.  This last reason is highly subjective, and few exceptions are made with this argument. Additional details are included in the linked web page above.

The process for performing a review may be found here: https://answers.syr.edu/x/Dym8Ag  This page has an FAQ with templates and examples of completed VPATs.

In a nutshell you will likely need to:

  • request a VPAT from the vendor.
  • if not already using the product or service, procure a test account or trial version to thoroughly vet the product or service interface for accessibility.
  • request a road map for anything not meeting the requirements.
  • You would formally submit your findings to the SU Accessibility committee for review and receive either approval/rejection/exception.

This is the list of past product requests https://answers.syr.edu/x/lKWAB . Perhaps there is an alternate service that has already been approved that you may use.

In regard to completing the self-assessment of the product or service, you may contact Arthur P. Thomas apthomas@syr.edu. If it still holds true, the iConsult student staff that he manages has been trained to do the accessibility review.  You will want to retain the student performing the review for any subsequent interviews with the Accessibility Committee should they have questions about the product.  It would be to your benefit too, to understand the review results and any shortcomings in the product to be able to respond in the interview as well as to support any students in your classes that may express an accessibility requirement.


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