- The University of California at Berkeley is removing older videos, recordings and other resources from public platforms in accordance with a January ruling from the U.S. Department of Justice that all public online content must be accessible to all viewers, including those with disabilities, under federal law, University Business reports.
- Higher education institutions are not required to abide by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, but often choose to adhere to the standards, and most of Berkeley’s content since 2015 has been captured in a manner that meets accessibility standards.
- Though content that is not appropriately accessible will not be available to the public, UC-Berkeley students, teachers and staff will be able to log in to YouTube via school-supported IDs for continued access.
Berkeley’s move to ensure accessibility in all of its public materials is necessary, though the college could also consider making choice selections from its past wealth of material accessible for all students. Colleges should consider that potential applicants may be attracted not only by a university’s current content, but by its legacy. UC-Berkeley may be able to leverage its extensive historical record by converting some particularly pertinent and lauded selections to meet compliance with accessibility standards demanded by federal statute.
The news that President Trump’s DOJ had submitted clarification extending federal protection for students and individuals with disabilities is slightly surprising, due to Trump’s reticence regarding federal regulation. It remains to be seen how strenuously the new regulation will be enforced when it goes into effect starting January 2018, but colleges and universities should work to be in compliance in light of the uncertainty