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Is Harvard Required by Law to Comply to Accessibility Standards?

Simple answer: Yes.

I have been looking all over for an answer to this. Is there actually a law that defines what we (Harvard University) need to follow in terms of web accessibility? If you search for accessibility law (in the US), you’re basically only going to find references to Section 504 and Section 508.

These are “sections” of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. So all sections (amendments) are equally applicable.

From the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Brochure:

The Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education enforces regulations implementing Section 504 with respect to programs and activities that receive funding from the Department. The Section 504 regulation applies to all recipients of this funding, including colleges, universities, and postsecondary vocational education and adult education programs. Failure by these higher education schools to provide auxiliary aids to students with disabilities that results in a denial of a program benefit is discriminatory and prohibited by Section 504.

This brochure is linked from the Accessible Education Office’s page on student’s rights.

What this means as far as what is required is a bigger question, and not one I want to write up right now.

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