Trenton, New Jersey (PRWEB) June 01, 2015
The National Federation of the Blind and two blind students, Anthony Lanzilotti and Mitchell Cossaboon, have entered into a consent decree with Atlantic Cape Community College (ACCC). The consent decree, which resolves allegations by Mr. Lanzilotti and Mr. Cossaboon of discrimination on the basis of disability, has been filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (Case No. 1:33-av-00001) and is subject to court approval. ACCC denies the allegations of discrimination and has admitted no wrongdoing. The agreement requires ACCC to work with a third-party consultant and the National Federation of the Blind to take steps to improve the educational experience of students with disabilities and to prevent discrimination against these students, including:
Conducting a technology audit and, based on the audit results, developing a plan to make all student-facing electronic and information technology used by ACCC accessible to students with disabilities no later than three years from the completion of the technology accessibility audit;
Making ACCC’s websites accessible to blind students within 240 days of the execution of the consent decree;
Making ACCC’s integrated library system and its website fully accessible to blind students;
Developing a plan to provide accessible instructional materials, including textbooks, course materials, and tactile graphics, to blind students and to other students with disabilities at the same time that these materials are made available to students without disabilities, and to implement this plan no later than three years from the effective date of the consent decree;
Requiring cooperation among faculty, staff, and ACCC’s Disability Support Services office to handle accommodation requests made by students with disabilities;
Reviewing and revising ACCC’s policies and procedures for accommodating students with disabilities and for processing and resolving grievances brought by students with disabilities, including requiring ACCC’s Disability Support Services office to self-report any failure to resolve a student’s complaint or accommodation request, triggering an automatic grievance procedure; and
Requiring training of all personnel on the Americans with Disabilities Act and on ACCC’s policies for accommodating students with disabilities, as well as training for such students on their rights and the procedures available to them to enforce those rights.
Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “We commend Atlantic Cape Community College for its willingness to engage in a comprehensive program to ensure that all of its students, including the blind, receive a truly equal education. It is especially significant that ACCC has agreed to make all of its technology and content accessible within three years, and to give its office serving students with disabilities real power and authority to enforce the institution’s policies and resolve student complaints. The National Federation of the Blind looks forward to working with ACCC, and we hope and believe that this institution’s new approach to serving its blind students will be a model for other institutions of higher education.”
About the National Federation of the Blind
The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.