[Nfbc-info] FW: National Federation of the Blind Applauds Groundbreaking Agreement on Equal Access in Higher Education

Mary Willows mwillows at sbcglobal.net
Thu Mar 20 03:16:34 UTC 2014

Hello All,


The following is great news for accessibility in colleges.  Please help us
to educate the public and rally support for the TEACH Act HR 3505.



Thank you!

Mary Willows, President NFBC

mwillows at sbcglobal.net 




From: Freeh, Jessica [mailto:JFreeh at nfb.org] 
Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 6:44 AM
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Subject: National Federation of the Blind Applauds Groundbreaking Agreement
on Equal Access in Higher Education





Chris Danielsen

Director of Public Relations

National Federation of the Blind

(410) 659-9314, extension 2330

(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

 <mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org> cdanielsen at nfb.org


National Federation of the Blind Applauds Groundbreaking Agreement on Equal
Access in Higher Education


University of Montana Will Implement Comprehensive Accessibility Measures


Baltimore, Maryland (March 19, 2014):  <http://www.nfb.org> The National
Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation's leading advocate for equal
access in higher education by blind students, today applauded a
groundbreaking agreement
rch_10_2014.pdf>  that has been reached between the University of Montana
and the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
(OCR). Under the agreement, the University of Montana will develop a
comprehensive set of policies and procedures to ensure that all electronic
and information technology procured or deployed by the university can be
used by the blind and other students with disabilities. Steps that will be
taken by the university include developing an accessibility policy; training
faculty and staff on the policy; conducting a survey of current and former
students with disabilities to identify the problems that they have
experienced; developing a grievance procedure for students and faculty who
experience access issues; and more. The agreement covers technology used in
all aspects of education and campus life, including electronic textbooks and
course materials, online course registration, online courseware and learning
management systems, classroom technology (such as smart podiums and clickers
used to take attendance or conduct classroom quizzes), library services,
on-campus banking services, university office equipment, and much more.  In
order for technology to be accessible to students who are blind, it must
have the ability to provide audio or Braille output or to work with
technology used by the blind that can provide such output, such as
text-to-speech screen access software or electronic Braille displays.


Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said:
"While complaints by individual students and legal actions can incrementally
improve access to higher education, there is no substitute for comprehensive
and effective policies that are implemented and enforced at the highest
levels by university administrations.  This agreement, which is the most
comprehensive of its kind to date, represents a thorough and systematic
approach that will benefit University of Montana students for years to come
and serve as a model for university policies and practices across the
nation.  We applaud the University of Montana for the extraordinary
commitment that it is making to ensure that all of its students, including
those who are blind or who have other disabilities, receive the equal
education that the law demands and the full benefit of the college
experience that the university provides.  We also applaud the work of the
Office for Civil Rights, which has crafted this agreement with extensive
input from the National Federation of the Blind and which will work with the
university to ensure its full implementation."


"The University of Montana is committed to making sure that all students
have access to education, and in today's world that includes access to
technology," said University of Montana President Royce Engstrom.  "We want
to make sure that the technology we use on our Web site, in our classrooms,
and in our offices is available to all."





About the National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is the oldest, largest, and most
influential nationwide membership organization of blind people in the United
States.  Founded in 1940, the NFB advocates for the civil rights and
equality of blind Americans, and develops innovative education, technology,
and training programs to provide the blind and those who are losing vision
with the tools they need to become independent and successful.  




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