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Title II Updates

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University of Denver

Announcement  •
Campus Life  •

On Monday, April 8, 2024, the Department of Justice announced that the U.S. Attorney General signed the final rule under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) relating to Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities. Colorado’s Governor Polis signed similar legislation in June of 2021, Colorado’s HB21-1110, becoming the first state to require digital accessibility for web and mobile content created and hosted by state and local government agencies, including state operated colleges and universities.

As many of you know, the ADA is civil rights legislation that provides protection from discrimination and harassment for people with documented disabilities. It also protects those who have a history of an impairment (e.g. someone who had cancer but is currently cancer free) and those who are regarded as disabled (e.g., someone seen using sign language and is assumed to be but is not deaf or hard-of-hearing). There are multiple sections or titles of the ADA. Title I applies to employment, Title II applies to public entities (state and local governments), Title III applies to places of public accommodation (businesses and organizations that serve the public), Title IV applies to telecommunications, and Title V includes provisions about insurance, how the ADA relates to other legislation and described protections for people who exert their rights under the ADA, among other things.

So, if Title II of the ADA and the new final rule signed by the Attorney General apply to state and local governments, and DU is a private institution, why am I writing about it today? Because, generally, the standards and expectations that have applied to institutions of higher education under Title II have found their way into enforcement circles under Title III, which covers businesses and non-profits like DU. Making your content accessible also reaches a wider audience, and it’s the right thing to do!

We will learn more in the near future as people sift through the 320-page document, but initial takeaways are:

  • It applies to web content and mobile apps created or hosted by Title II entities.
  • Compliance timelines are determined by the size of your organization; <50,000 have two years to comply while >50,000 have three years to comply.
  • It formally adopts a common standard widely used across the world, to create consistency in benchmarking digital accessibility in the U.S.
  • It removes the exception for password protected information. So, the fact someone has to log in doesn’t mean the content doesn’t have to be accessible.
  • Exceptions include but are not limited to:
    • Archived content.
    • Content posted by a third party, like message board or social media posts.
    • Individualized documents and messages created for specific individuals, that are password protected.