[announce] FW: [leadership] DOJ Weighs In
mitch.pomerantz at earthlink.net
Wed Jan 13 19:45:48 GMT 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 13, 2010
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REACHES THREE SETTLEMENTS UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH
DISABILITIES ACT REGARDING THE USE OF ELECTRONIC BOOK READERS
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today announced separate
agreements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Case Western
Reserve University in Cleveland, Pace University in New York City and Reed
College in Portland, Ore., regarding the use in a classroom setting of the
electronic book reader, the Kindle DX, a hand-held technological device that
simulates the experience of reading a book.
Under the agreements reached today, the universities generally will
not purchase, recommend or promote use of the Kindle DX, or any other
dedicated electronic book reader, unless the devices are fully accessible to
students who are blind and have low vision. The universities agree that if
they use dedicated electronic book readers, they will ensure that students
with vision disabilities are able to access and acquire the same materials
and information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same
services as sighted students with substantially equivalent ease of use. The
agreements that the Justice Department reached with these universities
extend beyond the Kindle DX to any dedicated electronic reading device.
These agreements follow the Jan. 11, 2010 agreement between the
Justice Department, Arizona State University, the National Federation of the
Blind and the American Council of the Blind concerning the use of electronic
"Advancing technology is systematically changing the way
universities approach education, but we must be sure that emerging
technologies offer individuals with disabilities the same opportunities as
other students," said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez. "These
agreements underscore the importance of full and equal educational
opportunities for everyone."
A handful of universities participated in a pilot project in
cooperation with Amazon.com Inc. to test the viability of the Kindle DX in a
classroom setting. The terms of the Justice Department's agreement with
each university become effective at the end of the pilot projects.
The current model of the Kindle DX has the capability to read texts
aloud, so that the materials would be accessible to blind individuals, but
the device does not include a similar text-to-speech function for the menu
and navigational controls. Without access to the menus, students who are
blind have no way to know which book they have selected or how to access the
Kindle DX Web browser or its other functions. The technological "know how"
to make navigational controls or menu selections accessible is available.
Other universities, such as Syracuse University and the University
of Wisconsin at Madison, also examined the utility of the Kindle DX as a
teaching device and decided that they would not use the Kindle DX until it
is accessible to blind individuals.
In passing the ADA and the recent ADA Amendments Act, Congress found
that individuals with disabilities were uniquely disadvantaged in critical
areas, including education. It is a core priority of the Civil Rights
Division to strengthen and expand the educational opportunities for
individuals with disabilities.
The ADA prohibits discrimination by public accommodations on the
basis of disability, including discrimination in private post-secondary
institutions. Those interested in finding out more about these agreements
or seeking information about and how to comply with the ADA can call the
Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or
(800) 514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA Web site at http://www.ada.gov
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