Accessible Technology Policy

Northern Illinois University (NIU) is morally and ethically committed to electronic and information technology (EIT) that enables all students, faculty and staff to achieve their academic and professional goals and aspirations.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 require that higher education institutions provide all individuals equal access to programs, services and activities, and effectively communicate with individuals with disabilities.

Therefore, NIU commits to ensuring that the EIT it creates, purchases or provides is accessible to people with disabilities.

This policy applies to all EIT for academic and administrative purposes and university programs, services, and activities. This includes but is not limited to enterprise applications, Internet and software applications, digital course materials, video and multimedia materials, and equipment such as copiers and printers.

This policy is a living document that will change over time as EIT changes. The Division of Information Technology (DoIT), in collaboration with University Counsel, will monitor regulatory changes and coordinate with regulatory agencies as appropriate.

Undue Burden

Conformance to standards may not always be feasible due to the nature of the content, the purpose of the resource, the lack of accessible solutions, or an unreasonably high administrative or financial cost of making the resource accessible. However, these difficulties may not relieve the University from EIT accessibility obligations.

According to the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act, NIU may seek an exception to compliance if there exists an undue burden. Making such a claim requires that NIU “document why, and to what extent, compliance with each such provision creates an undue burden, considering all resources available to the State entity [NIU] and must be prepared to provide individuals with disabilities with the information and data involved by an alternative means in a timely manner.”

Procurement Audits

Periodically, in cooperation with the Division of Finance and Administration, the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) will audit the EIT purchasing process for:

  • Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) for each purchase
  • If known accessibility issues exist, a timeline from the vendor to correct them and the immediate workaround until such corrections have been made

The DoIT Architecture Review Board will audit all proposed projects for accessibility. Project plans must include accessibility testing before products are released to the public.