[nfb-talk] National Federation of the Blind and American Council of the Blind File Discrimination Suit Against Arizona State University

John G. Heim jheim at math.wisc.edu
Fri Jun 26 13:07:41 UTC 2009

Man, the injustice of this kindle thing makes my blood boil. That the NFB 
and ACB should even have to fight this is an outrage. Why can't these people 
just do the right thing in the first place?

It seems that the history of blind accomadations  consists of taking one 
step forward and two back. I don't think we should take it. Hit 'em hard 
NFB.  Sue their pants off.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Freeh,Jessica (by way of David Andrews <dandrews at visi.com>)" 
<JFreeh at nfb.org>
To: <david.andrews at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2009 3:25 PM
Subject: [nfb-talk] National Federation of the Blind and American Council of 
the Blind File Discrimination Suit Against Arizona State University



Chris Danielsen

Director of Public Relations

National Federation of the Blind

(410) 659-9314, extension 2330

(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

cdanielsen at nfb.org

National Federation of the Blind and American Council of the Blind
File Discrimination Suit Against Arizona State University

University's Amazon Kindle DX Pilot Program Discriminates Against the Blind

Baltimore, Maryland (June 25, 2009): The National
Federation of the Blind (NFB) and the American
Council of the Blind (ACB) filed suit today
against Arizona State University (ASU) to prevent
the university from deploying Amazon's Kindle DX
electronic reading device as a means of
distributing electronic textbooks to its students
because the device cannot be used by blind
students.  Darrell Shandrow, a blind ASU student,
is also a named plaintiff in the action.  The
Kindle DX features text-to-speech technology that
can read textbooks aloud to blind students.  The
menus of the device are not accessible to the
blind, however, making it impossible for a blind
user to purchase books from Amazon's Kindle
store, select a book to read, activate the
text-to-speech feature, and use the advanced
reading functions available on the Kindle DX.  In
addition to ASU, five other institutions of
higher education are deploying the Kindle DX as
part of a pilot project to assess the role of
electronic textbooks and reading devices in the
classroom.  The NFB and ACB have also filed
complaints with the Office for Civil Rights of
the U.S. Department of Education and the Civil
Rights Division of the U.S. Department of
Justice, asking for investigations of these five
institutions, which are: Case Western Reserve
University, the Darden School of Business at the
University of Virginia, Pace University,
Princeton University, and Reed College.  The
lawsuit and complaints allege violations of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National
Federation of the Blind, said: "Given the
highly-advanced technology involved, there is no
good reason that Amazon's Kindle DX device should
be inaccessible to blind students.  Amazon could
have used the same text-to-speech technology that
reads e-books on the device aloud to make its
menus accessible to the blind, but it chose not
to do so.  Worse yet, six American higher
education institutions that are subject to
federal laws requiring that they not discriminate
against students with disabilities plan to deploy
this device, even though they know that it cannot
be used by blind students.  The National
Federation of the Blind will not tolerate this
unconscionable discrimination against and callous
indifference to the right of blind students to
receive an equal education.  We hope that this
situation can be rectified in a manner that
allows this exciting new reading technology to be
made available to blind and sighted students alike."

Darrell Shandrow, a blind student pursuing a
degree in journalism at ASU, said: "Not having
access to the advanced reading features of the
Kindle DX­including the ability to download books
and course materials, add my own bookmarks and
notes, and look up supplemental information
instantly on the Internet when I encounter it in
my reading­will lock me out of this new
technology and put me and other blind students at
a competitive disadvantage relative to our
sighted peers.  While my peers will have instant
access to their course materials in electronic
form, I will still have to wait weeks or months
for accessible texts to be prepared for me, and
these texts will not provide the access and
features available to other students.  That is
why I am standing up for myself and with other
blind Americans to end this blatant discrimination."


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