Laws and Civil Rights

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504Section 508 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) make equal access to digital content a legal and ethical imperative. 

This legislation guides the priority, requirement and responsibility of UC to meet the needs of all members of our community and protect their civil rights:

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits federal agencies, programs, or activities from discriminating and requires reasonable accommodation for qualified individuals with disabilities. U.S. Department of Education

  • Section 508 requires Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. GSA Government-wide Section 508 Accessibility Program

  • The ADA recognizes and protects the civil rights of people with disabilities and is modeled after earlier landmark laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race and gender. U.S. Access Board

The University of Cincinnati will provide a universally designed web and e-learning experience that is accessible to all and supports success for every student. 

Over time, best practices and laws have changed from accommodating people with all ranges of abilities to focusing more on inclusion and creating spaces for everyone. Thinking from a purely architectural perspective, accommodations are physical changes required in the environment to ensure access to a person with a disability. We can take it a step further to say inclusion is constructing one environment that can be used by everyone. 

Similar to architects designing buildings, web page information needs to be created for everyone. Architects plan for ramps in public spaces. Web pages need to be designed so people using assistive software or hardware devices can understand and interpret the information correctly.

That's what eAccessibility is: the creation of electronic materials without obstacles, allowing equal access to information for people with all ranges of ability. 

This effort is a great opportunity for our university to support the needs of an ever-growing student population with a wide range of abilities: unlocking opportunities, changing negative attitudes, and opening doors for everyone along the way.

Written for the Accessibility Network by IT@UC's Communication Coordinator.

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