In an effort to continue to provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for all, the George Washington University has updated its policies addressing web and digital content and disability accommodations.
“The George Washington University is an educational community that values and respects diversity of all kinds,” said GW President Thomas LeBlanc. “The university is committed to the principles of inclusion necessary to create an environment where the unique contributions of all its members are valued.”
The university’s Web and Digital Content Accessibility Policy (PDF) affirms GW’s commitment to providing digital content—for example, websites, online courses and academic materials—in a manner accessible to all and consistent with the World Wide Web Consortium standards.
“The evolving digital environment can be challenging to keep up with,” said Leah Rosen, associate vice president for marketing and creative services. “Our goal is to deliver best practices for web and digital accessibility.”
Also included in the policy is a procedure for handling reports or questions concerning an accessibility issue. Individuals may contact the university’s Office of Ethics, Compliance and Privacy to report a concern.
For example, one requirement is that photos and other images on a website must be accompanied with “alternate text” descriptions so those with visual impairments are able to understand the content using a tool that reads the description of the visual content along with the text on the page.
The university is currently reviewing public-facing GW sites to ensure they meet this and other accessibility requirements and will provide additional information to those who work on digital content over the next several months.
Meanwhile, the university also has updated its Disability Policy (PDF), which aims to create a campus community in which all members are valued equally and provides accommodations deemed reasonable for equal access to educational programs and activities and employment opportunities. This policy also includes instructions for individuals who believe they need accommodations.
“Protection from discrimination applies to all individuals,” said Caroline Laguerre-Brown, vice provost for diversity, equity and community engagement. “GW is committed to accessibility and accommodation, so that everyone has the same opportunities.”
For additional information and resources, visit the accessibility website.