The Year Starts with Colleges and Universities in the Crosshairs
2023 is already setting records with higher education getting targeted with digital accessibility lawsuits at a high clip. Education is an area where the Department of Justice does not mess around. If you are a College or University, the recent ruling from the DOJ vs. UC Berkley should get your attention.
If you have not had your higher education website audited and made compliant you are a sitting duck. You can see from the lawsuit list (bottom of this page) just from January 2023 that these lawsuits are range from small colleges to iconic brand names. This has been the trend over the last several years. After seeing what is happening now is the time to get your website ADA compliant and be out of the targeted schools list as the year progresses.
There are several things you need to consider when you jump into this web of confusion. You need to make sure your website is compliant but also your third-party media which is what we focus on, especially virtual tours which is our sweet-spot. We have a patent-pending for technology called the “360 Accessibility Generator” that makes virtual tours accessible and ADA-Compliant. We work with many existing virtual tour software companies but we also produce virtual tours from scratch which are accessible. There is no solution we’ve seen that delivers this level of WCAG 2.1 compliance and we provide a VPAT so you can rest easy that you are as accessible as you need to be. Starting with your website I highly recommend Allyant (and I can make an intro for you) who can help you with an audit of what needs to be attacked first. Here is a helpful interview with Ryan Wieland (VP Digital Accessibility Sales at Allyant) below that walks through some of the important things you need to be aware of for compliance.
Another helpful video from the higher education space would be this case study with Abigail Justice from The University of Mississippi (client). You will see how much she has learned in this complicated space of accessibility in relation to the housing division. We helped her through the entire process as their University set sail on their accessibility journey.
I leave you with a sample of lawsuits filed this January 2023 against higher education institutions. You can avoid being the next on this list by simply getting started with accessibility. We are happy to help and guide you. Please, reach out and we can get you started in the right direction. I suggest you follow Accessibility.com where you can see all of the new lawsuits and trends when it comes to accessibility and legal matters. Each month around the 15th they publish a round-up of lawsuits from all industries.
University of Evansville
University of Miami
The Notre Dame College
The Methodist University
Queens University of Charlotte
Columbia Southern University
Spring Hill College
Notre Dame of Maryland University