National Federation of the Blind Commends US Department of Justice and US Department of Education
Praises Dear Colleague Letter on Rights of Blind Students
Baltimore, Maryland (May 23, 2023): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the transformative advocacy organization of blind Americans, commends the United States Department of Justice and the Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education (OCR) for their Joint Dear Colleague Letter issued on May 19, 2023.
The letter highlights the obligations of colleges and universities to provide equal access to their programs and services, including those provided online. It underscores the importance of adopting accessible technology, providing auxiliary aids and services, and ensuring that communication with students with disabilities is as effective as with other students. The letter also reminds institutions that content they offer to the general public must also be accessible. Finally, the letter includes guidance and resources to help institutions meet these obligations.
Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "This Dear Colleague Letter is a timely reminder of the rights of blind and low-vision students to equal access and full participation in higher education. We applaud the continuing commitment to students with disabilities by the Justice and Education Departments that this letter represents. The National Federation of the Blind is committed to working collaboratively with educational institutions to help them create an accessible and inclusive environment. At the same time, we will fight for the rights of blind students in court, as we are doing this very week in Los Angeles, when institutions are unwilling to take advantage of available resources and the lived experience of blind people to guide them in meeting their legal and moral obligations."