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Ruling: Volunteering to resolve web accessibility
concerns before the Ofﬁce for Civil Rights can come
to a ﬁnding can help institutions avoid violations
while also ensuring that students with visual impair-
ments are able to access the information they need
to remain successfully enrolled.
What it means: Students with visual impairments
must be provided opportunities to access the same
information, computer-based interactions, and ser-
vices as sighted students.
Summary: A complainant alleged some of the
Baker College of Flint website pages, including the
homepage, and those hosting information about
campus policies and procedures, admissions, online
learning, and student services, weren’t accessible
to individuals with certain disabilities, in violation
of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. According
to her, using a website accessibility checker called
PowerMapper yielded various issues that would ren-
der the site inaccessible to individuals with vision
and print disabilities.
The Ofﬁce for Civil Rights used a web accessibility
tool to perform a preliminary review of the institu-
tion’s landing page and also found some areas of
concern. Those included a lack of the skip navigation
function, lack of keyboard controls providing easily
visible access to all content and functions, images
and links lacking meaningful alternate text, insuf-
ﬁcient visual contrast, and video closed captioning
that couldn’t be controlled using a keyboard.
Before OCR could conclude its investigation, the col-
lege asked to enter into a voluntary agreement to resolve
the complaint. In its letter to the college, the agency noted
that while the results of its web accessibility assessment
found some areas of concern, OCR couldn’t, without
conducting further investigation, determine whether
sufﬁcient evidence existed to support a determination
that the institution was in violation of Section 504. ■
DISABILITY — ACCESSIBILITY
College entered into agreement
to solve online accessibility issues
Case name: Letter to: Bay Mills Community Col-
lege, No. 15-16-2187 (OCR 10/14/16).
Ruling: Before the Ofﬁce for Civil Rights could
issue a decision, Bay Mills Community College
entered into a voluntary agreement to resolve online
accessibility concerns identiﬁed by a complainant.
What it means: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities
Act require that recipient universities ensure acces-
sibility not just to their brick-and-mortar programs,
activities, and services, but also to those offered
electronically, including online communication.
Summary: A complainant alleged that Bay Mills
Community College discriminated by failing to make
all of its webpages accessible to individuals with
certain kinds of disabilities, including visual, print,
physical, and hearing impairments. Speciﬁcally, he
complained the institution’s homepage and disability
services, testing center, academic resources, tutoring
services, and admissions webpages weren’t acces-
sible, in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Ofﬁce for Civil Rights conducted an investigation
that included an accessibility review of several webpages
on the college’s website. It reviewed the list of “errors”
provided by the student to the agency resulting from
her assessment of the webpages listed in the complaint
using an accessibility checker. The agency used an
accessibility tool as well to conduct a preliminary review
of some of the pages listed in the complaint. Its review
raised some red ﬂags, including a lack of skip naviga-
tion, keyboard controls that didn’t allow equivalent ease
of use, and lack of meaningful alternate text.
Before OCR could complete its investigation and
issue a ﬁnding, the institution entered into a resolu-
tion agreement to resolve the issues identiﬁed. ■
DISABILITY — TERMINATION
Bad behavior, not disability
resulted in termination
Case name: Skotnik v. Moraine Valley Community
College, et al., No. 15-cv-11619 (N.D. Ill. 09/26/17).
Ruling: The U.S. District Court, Northern District
of Illinois granted summary judgment in favor of
Moraine Valley Community College.
What it means: To prevail in a disability-discrim-
ination suit, a terminated employee must prove her
disability was the reason why she was ﬁred.
Summary: Moraine Valley Community College was
aware that Renee Skotnik had a major depressive
disorder when it hired her as a part-time clerical
employee in 1985.
In October 2013, Skotnik allegedly asked several
co-workers whether they were scared of her. She was
also: (1) involved in a verbal and physical altercation
with a co-worker that resulted in a police response
and (2) reprimanded for leaving campus during her
shift without permission.
After she was terminated a few weeks later, Skot-
nik ﬁled a suit claiming violations of the Americans
with Disabilities Act.
The college ﬁled a motion for summary judgment.