FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Category: 
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind and Maricopa Community College District Resolve Litigation

MCCD Will Take Steps to Make Technology Accessible

Phoenix, Arizona (October 23, 2014): The National Federation of the Blind today announced an agreement with the Maricopa Community College District (MCCD) and Mesa Community College resolving litigation brought by the Federation in 2012. Under the agreement, MCCD will take a series of steps that will result in the procurement and deployment of electronic and information technology that is accessible to all students, including those who are blind. The technologies covered by the agreement include the college’s public website, library website, learning management system, personal response systems (or clickers) used in the classroom, campus ATM’s, and more. The blind use computers, smartphones, and tablets equipped with special software that allows the contents of websites, applications, and documents to be read aloud or displayed in Braille on a connected Braille device. When websites or documents are not properly coded, however, they cannot be accessed with the technology used by the blind. ATM’s can also be equipped with headphone jacks and text-to-speech software that guides blind users through transactions via audio prompts.

Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The technology procured and deployed by America’s institutions of higher education must be accessible if blind students are to acquire the full benefit of their education and participate fully in campus life. We are pleased that the Maricopa Community College District and Mesa Community College are committed to equal access for all students, including the blind.”

The plaintiffs were represented in this matter by Joseph B. Espo of the Baltimore firm Brown, Goldstein, & Levy, LLP.