Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

March 21, 2017

University Assembly Discusses Accessibility of Websites to Disabled People

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The University Assembly discussed a new resolution encouraging the adaptation of web accessibility for disabled people at its meeting Tuesday.

“Particularly as we move into the future, websites really are our major, outward face to the rest of the world,” Employee Assembly representative Jeremy Kruser said. “When we bill ourselves as ‘any person, any study,’ and yet limit that face to people who use alternate means of accessing the internet, we are not putting action to those words, and I would like to see that change.”

There is currently no requirement for websites to be accessible for disabled people, according to Kruser, who started working on the resolution over year ago. He added that having an accessibility standard structures data better and improves the quality of websites for everyone.

“We are limiting ourselves … by being inaccessible,” he said.

The web accessibility proposal would apply to new websites, as well as sites in need of substantial updates, according to Kruser. He said it is significantly easier to correctly develop a new site from scratch than to go back and fix old sites.

“That’s how we’re going to get that incremental change,” he said. “That’s how I got support from various responsible parties. This is a place to begin.”

Kruser said that although similar proposals tackling large problems have failed in the past, his resolution is more narrowly focused.

“The approach that I’m taking here is specifically designed around that iterative, incremental change, something moving in the positive direction,” he said.

Kruser added that the longer the University goes without addressing the issue, the bigger the problem will become. Each time, previous resolutions were shot down by administration and no progress was made as a result.

“The problem is each time they have been rejected because the problem is just too big,” Kruser said. “We need to make some change in a positive direction.”