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University Policy 86

Web Accessibility Policy

Initially Approved: June 29, 2004
Posted: July 6, 2004

Policy Topic: Information Technology
Administering Office: Office of the Chief Information Officer


The World Wide Web is a major source of information for the faculty, staff and students of Western Carolina University . Because the University is engaged in web page and web site development, this policy establishes standards for web page accessibility.


The University is committed to providing equal access to web-based information in its programs and services in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans With Disabilities Act. All official University Web Pages associated with university administration, services, courses of instruction, programs, and activities must conform to the web accessibility standards and requirements listed below.


A. Official University Web Pages: any University administrative or academic web pages that are essential to gaining admission or completing university requirements.

B. University Web Manager: the person designated by the university as having overall responsibility for the management of the university’s web site.

C. University Web Publisher: anyone who maintains, creates, designs, or develops official University Web Pages, including but not limited to faculty, staff, students, volunteers and outside contractors.


A. Development of all official University Web Pages must include reasonable efforts to conform to the accessibility standards required under the above referenced laws. (Those standards now are the Federal Access Board’s Electronic and Information Accessibility Standards: 36 CFR Part 1194.)

B. Development of all official University Web Pages must include reasonable efforts to make the sites functional and usable for persons with disabilities.

C. Development of all official University Web Pages should include a good faith effort to select linked sites which are accessible.

D. An official University Web Page that is not accessible under the federal standards may be given an exemption provided that it meets one or more of the criteria listed below:

  • Compliance is not reasonably attainable with current technology;
  • The content cannot be effectively delivered in an accessible format without fundamentally altering the nature of the content; or
  • The content is undergoing initial development; this exemption is limited to a six month development period.


A. Implementation and Enforcement: The Chief Information Officer (CIO) or his/her delegate is responsible for implementing and enforcing this policy and procedure.

B. Accessibility Criteria: The CIO will determine and designate criteria and guidelines for web page accessibility.

C. Requests for Exemption: All requests for exemption must be made to the Chief Information Officer or his/her delegate. The CIO will grant or deny the exemption based on the criteria above. This decision is final.

D. Findings of Inaccessibility or Policy Violation: The following standards apply to potential violators:

All notices of policy violations or questions about accessibility will be submitted to the CIO.

If the CIO finds that a web site is inaccessible and that it has not been exempted from this policy, he/she will notify the University Web Manager. The University Web Manager will seek from the University Web Publisher a correction of the deficiency or application for an exemption from the university.

If no correction or exemption is undertaken, the University Web Manager shall report the deficiency to the University Web Publisher’s supervisor. The University Web Publisher may be disciplined according to regular university policies.

If no correction or exemption is undertaken, the CIO or his/her delegate may recommend to the Chancellor that the University Web Publisher’s authority over the web site be removed.

If no correction or exemption is undertaken within a reasonable time after notice of deficiency is delivered pursuant to Paragraph V. D. 2, the CIO or his/her delegate shall remove the web documents from service.

E. Reports: Decisions made pursuant to Paragraph V. C., determinations made pursuant to Paragraph V. D. 2, and actions remedying a deficiency shall be reported by the CIO as follows:

If the page involves student academic matters, the report shall be made to the Director of Student Support Services.

If the page involves other student matters, the report shall be to Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

All other matters shall be reported to the Director of Equal Opportunity Programs.

Office of Web Services