Winter 2018 Newsletter
Western Enters Voluntary Resolution Agreements on Disability Issues
In 2017, Western entered into two Voluntary Resolution Agreements (VRAs) with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR). These VRAs enhance Western’s commitment to equal opportunity for people with disabilities and enhance services for people with disabilities who are part of the Western community.
The first VRA relates to the accessibility of Western’s websites for individuals with disabilities. As outlined in the VRA, the University developed a plan to ensure all new content on Western’s websites is accessible, completed a full assessment of the accessibility of the University’s current websites, and outlined how Western will address all identified accessibility barriers by July 2019. As part of these efforts, Western hired two new staff members in WebTech dedicated to increasing accessibility of the University’s websites. Western instituted an Accessibility Training that is required for all employees who create and maintain digital content, and created a new website (access.wwu.edu) with resources and information for students, faculty, and staff about digital accessibility. The access.wwu.edu website provides a vehicle for reporting web accessibility barriers on the University’s websites, and all web pages contain a link to Western’s accessibility notice.
The second VRA focuses on accommodations in University Residences for students with disabilities. Western adopted a procedure to ensure comparable, convenient, and accessible housing for students with disabilities, and providing for that housing at the same cost as housing for students without disabilities. Western provided training about these policies and procedures to all relevant staff. The Residential Community Standards provide information about reasonable accommodations and service and emotional support animals in University Residences.