Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Plan
In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008, Southern New Hampshire University (“University”) does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission, treatment, or access to its programs or activities, nor does it discriminate in its employment opportunities.
The University will take actions to promote that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in the University’s programs and activities offered through the University’s Electronic Information Technologies (“EIT”) or equally effective alternate access to the extent feasible.
“Accessible” means individuals with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of the information and data by individuals who do not have disabilities.
“Disability” means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
“Electronic and information technology" or "EIT" includes information technology and any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in the creation, conversion, or duplication of data or information. The term electronic and information technology includes, but is not limited to, the internet and intranet websites, content delivered in digital form, electronic books and electronic book reading systems, search engines and databases, learning management systems, classroom technology and multimedia, personal response systems ("clickers"), and office equipment such as classroom podiums, copiers and fax machines. It also includes any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in the automatic acquisition, creation, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information. This term includes telecommunication products (such as telephones), information kiosks, digital signage, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), transaction machines, computers, ancillary equipment, software, firmware and similar procedures, services (including support services), and related resources.
“Equally effective” means the alternative format or medium communicates essentially the same information as does the original format or medium to the maximum extent possible, and that individuals with disabilities receive essentially the same benefits or services as individuals without disabilities. To provide equally effective alternate access, alternates are not required to produce the identical result or level of achievement for persons with and without disabilities, but should afford persons with disabilities equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement, in the most integrated setting appropriate to the person’s needs.
This plan applies to all University EIT used on highly-trafficked student interface sites which provide fundamental transactions with the institution and student learning that is procured, developed, maintained or used by the University, or third parties.
All web pages hosted on snhu.edu or third-party sites published by any department, program, or unit should strive to meet Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Sec. 508) and/or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (“WCAG”) 2.1 Level AA (“Guidelines”).1 Employees of the University, vendors, consultants or individuals working either directly or indirectly on behalf of the University should strive to ensure that EIT content is accessible or that an equally effective alternative can be provided. In addition, all software and IT systems purchased should produce accessible products and documents and/or should be compatible with assistive technology to the extent reasonably feasible.
All University-produced and maintained or distributed electronic documents that are student- or public-facing should be accessible. Electronic documents include, but are not limited to, word processing documents, PDFs, fillable forms, presentations, publications and spreadsheets which are scanned, uploaded, posted, or otherwise published or distributed electronically.
All media resources used in University programs and activities should be accessible. For example, this includes, but is not limited to, media that is instructional, informational, marketing, and promotional.
All web pages hosted on snhu.edu or third-party sites published by any department, program, or unit should strive to meet the Guidelines. All University websites, unless reasonably infeasible, should link to the University’s main Accessibility page which includes a statement of non-discrimination, contact information for assistance, a link to the ADA/504 Grievance Procedure, and a method for reporting any accessibility barriers.
Undue Burden and Fundamental Alteration
When fundamental alteration or undue burden defenses apply, an equally effective alternative should be provided to the extent reasonably feasible. The EIT Coordinator(s) will provide appropriate guidance for undue burden and fundamental alteration decisions and will consult with legal counsel as appropriate.
The University will designate at least one individual (EIT Accessibility Coordinator) to coordinate and implement the EIT Accessibility Plan. The EIT Accessibility Coordinator will work with University personnel to develop plans to remediate identified barriers promptly and effectively, and to coordinate efforts toward systemic improvements to fully effectuate the University’s commitments made in this accessibility plan. The University has currently designated a triad of EIT Coordinators to reflect cross-functional expertise in accomplishing EIT objectives: EIT Accessibility Coordinator – ADA/Compliance, EIT Accessibility Coordinator
– ITS, and EIT Accessibility Coordinator – University Liaison/Student-Experience Support. The University reserves the right to modify the number of EIT Coordinators so long as at least one EIT Coordinator is designated.
EIT purchases should be accessible and provide an equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities to access the University’s programs, benefits, and services as they do to individuals without disabilities, except when it would fundamentally alter a program or present an undue burden, in which case accessible alternate EITs should be provided.
The EIT Accessibility Coordinator(s), in collaboration with other University partners, will provide training necessary to promote full implementation of this plan. On an ongoing basis, the University will deliver technology accessibility training and support to appropriate campus community members.
Current EIT Content and Functionality
The University will maintain an accessibility webpage to inform students, prospective students, employees, guests, and visitors that they may report accessibility barriers, file a formal complaint through its ADA/504 Grievance Procedure, and/or contact the EIT Accessibility Coordinator(s) and/or related disability and accessibility support departments with any accessibility concerns. Appropriate contact information will be included on the accessibility webpage. The University will strive to make content and functionality accessible in a timely manner, or provide an equally effective alternative unless doing so would result in a fundamental alteration or undue burden.
The University will develop a strategy to identify and remediate inaccessible content and functionality for individuals with disabilities. In keeping with the institution’s student first focus, this strategy will prioritize highly trafficked student interface sites which provide fundamental transactions with the institution and student learning.
New EIT Content and Functionality
New, newly-added, or substantially modified EIT should strive to be accessible to people with disabilities as measured by the Guidelines, except where doing so would impose a fundamental alteration or undue burden.
The University reserves the right to remove or suspend distribution of EIT found to be in nonconformance with the Guidelines.
*SNHU has created this plan in good faith to serve as a guide for improving EIT accessibility for individuals with disabilities. It is not to be construed as a binding policy, but is instead an aspirational framework to help create the path forward to greater accessibility.*
1 At the current time, no technology exists that enables the production of audio description or captioning of streaming videos. Until such technology is available at a reasonable cost, the University will not impose these obligations.