[nfbwatlk] National Federation of the Blind Defends Rights of Blind Students

Freeh, Jessica JFreeh at nfb.org
Tue Aug 10 02:42:21 CDT 2010


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



CONTACT:

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 Defends Rights of Blind Students





Calls for Equal Access to Information and Technology in America’s Universities



Baltimore, Maryland (August 9, 2010): The 
National Federation of the Blind (NFB) responded 
today to recent attacks on the right of blind 
students to have equal access to technologies 
used by America’s universities and to the 
textbooks and course materials offered by 
institutions of higher learning.  The NFB and the 
United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights 
Division, have come under attack in recent days 
for reaching settlements with universities 
requiring that the universities refrain from 
purchasing any e-book technology that is not fully accessible to the blind.



Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National 
Federation of the Blind, said: “Blind students 
must have access to the same textbooks and course 
materials and the same technology to read them as 
all other students.  This is not only a matter of 
fairness to blind students but a requirement of 
federal law.  For this reason, we applaud the 
United States Department of Justice, acting at 
our request and pursuant to its mandate to 
enforce this nation’s disability rights laws, for 
reaching landmark settlements with colleges and 
universities ensuring that e-book technologies 
deployed by these institutions will be accessible 
to all their students.  With the announcement of 
a new accessible Amazon Kindle, the recent 
introduction of the Apple iPad, and the promise 
of future accessible e-book products­many of 
which would not have been made accessible without 
our advocacy efforts­colleges and universities 
will find it increasingly easy to procure e-book 
technology that benefits everyone.  These 
settlements benefit not only blind students, who 
will now have access to the same books at the 
same time and at the same price as their sighted 
peers, but also institutions of higher learning, 
which will no longer incur the administrative 
burden of producing or procuring accessible books 
through separate and inferior methods.  To the 
extent that inaccessible e-book technology 
remains a barrier to the equal education of the 
blind, however, the National Federation of the 
Blind will continue to fight for the educational 
and legal rights of blind students, and we will 
not hesitate to call upon the Department of 
Justice and other government authorities to 
assist us in doing so when necessary.”





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About the National Federation of the Blind

With more than 50,000 members, the National 
Federation of the Blind is the largest and most 
influential membership organization of blind 
people in the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = 
"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" 
/>United States.  The NFB improves blind people’s 
lives through advocacy, education, research, 
technology, and programs encouraging independence 
and self-confidence.  It is the leading force in 
the blindness field today and the voice of the 
nation's blind.  In January 2004 the NFB opened 
the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan 
Institute, the first research and training center 
in the United States for the blind led by the blind.





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