Without equal access to information, there simply is not anything meaningful in the way of equal opportunity.
—Dan Goldstein, Counsel for the National Federation of the Blind
Higher Education, Accessibility, and the Law
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit the University of Tennessee from discriminating against individuals on the basis of disability.
In recent years, the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, have increased their scrutiny of whether higher education institutions are complying with those laws with respect to the accessibility of instructional technology, information, and materials.
In March 2015, Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek formed a group of faculty and staff to work with faculty, staff, and students to achieve established accessibility goals for the Knoxville campus.
A system-level policy on accessibility (IT0126) was approved and became effective on October 16, 2015. In addition to this policy, the following are currently being developed and implemented:
- A campus program addressing the accessibility of information, instructional materials, and technology;
- A timeline for improving high traffic campus websites;
- Training for faculty and staff on identifying, using, and implementing accessible materials and technology in the classroom and in all communications;
- Internal monitoring of compliance in accordance with the system policy; and
- Ongoing evaluation for the effectiveness of our campus program.