It is the policy of the University of Vermont (“UVM”) to comply with all U.S. laws and regulations relating to the provision of equal access to those with disabilities, and to provide resources that enable UVM students, employees and, where applicable, members of the public equal access to its programs and services. As such, UVM is committed to providing accessible electronic and information technology throughout our digital presence.
The US Department of Justice and the US Department of Education are clear that requiring the use of electronic and information technologies or services (“Identified Technology”) that are not accessible is a form of discrimination. As such, UVM has a clear responsibility to provide access to everyone that is equal.
UVM’s digital presence is very broad. Here is just a sampling of the technology to consider:
- Instructional Media
- Audio Files
- Administrative Software
- Video Conferencing
- Web phones
What are Equally Effective Alternate Access Plans?
It is always best to purchase and use technology that is fully accessible to people with disabilities. However, if it is absolutely necessary to purchase or use an Identified Technology that is inaccessible in any way, and the Identified Technology cannot be made accessible, we are required to document a plan for making sure an individual with a disability has equal access to the same information, service, or space afforded by the Identified Technology.
This access has to be:
- Equally Effective
- Equally Integrated
The documented plans we are required to create are called Equally Effective Alternate Access Plans (or “EEAAP’s”).
- EEAAP’s are created if it is necessary to buy, develop, or use an Identified Technology that is not fully accessible.
- EEAAP’s describe how to provide alternate access to the Identified Technology.
- EEAAP’s help ensure that everyone has fair and equal access in a timely manner, as required by law.
What is Equal Access?
When thinking about your EEAAP and how to make sure everyone has equal access to the Identified Technology, consider the following:
- timeliness of delivery to people needing access
- accuracy of translation of the information
- delivery in a way that is appropriate to the person requesting access
An effective alternative to inaccessible Identified Technology requires that everyone:
- has an equal opportunity to obtain the same result
- can gain the same benefit
- can reach the same level of achievement
- will be in the most integrated setting that is appropriate
What goes into my EEAAP?
There is specific information that must go into all EEAAP’s. This information is intended to document why it is necessary to purchase or use Identified Technology that is inaccessible and which steps will be taken to ensure its use doesn’t result in discrimination against people with disabilities. The necessary elements of an EEAAP include the following:
- Description of what issues have been identified and how the Identified Technology is not fully accessible.
- Who is, or could be, affected by the Identified Technology.
- The responsible person(s) for making sure equal access is provided to the Identified Technology. Examples include, but are not limited to, a point person that is contacted when an accessibility barrier is raised by a user; the office responsible for providing alternative formats of the material; or an identified individual responsible for checking in with the user to make sure they have successfully accessed the material.
- Description of how equal access will be provided.
- What resources will be required to provide equal access. Examples include, but are not limited to, use of campus Student Accessibility Services for doing conversion of the materials into an accessible format; procurement of additional assistive technology; or staff capacity for manually assisting an individual in completing tasks.
- A timeline for resolving any issue with the accessibility of the Identified Technology that arises.
- How the issues with the Identified Technology will be repaired, if possible.
If you have been directed to complete an EEAAP on an Identified Technology, please visit UVM’s EEAAP webform to fill out a plan. Once you finish filling out the form, it will generate an email which will be sent to the identified parties as well as the accessibility team. There is also a sample EEAAP plan. This example plan should give you an idea of the information we are looking to gather in this process.
If you have any questions about the plan or this process, please do not hesitate to reach out to the ADA Coordinator.