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Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility Policy

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility Policy

Approved: President’s Staff

Responsible Senior Staff Member: Chief Information Technology Officer

Responsible Office: Information Technology Services

Date Established: November 1, 2018

Drafted By: Technology Accessibility Task Force

Date Last Revised: n/a


This policy applies to the College’s information and communication technologies and their procurement, development, implementation and ongoing maintenance.


At Swarthmore College’s core is a commitment to an inclusive community. To ensure that all have an equal opportunity to learn, work, and thrive in this community, we must strive to provide electronic information and technologies which are barrier free.

Ensuring an equal opportunity in the ease of access to electronic and information technology is the responsibility of all College administrators, faculty, and staff.

We are committed to making reasonable accommodations in order to provide community members with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in courses, programs, and activities.

This policy is in accordance with federal and state laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), as amended, Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Standards and exceptions

College community members are expected to follow the WCAG Level AA standards related to the procurement, development, implementation, and ongoing maintenance of ICT, unless conformance to the standards:

  • fundamentally alters a program, service, or activity,
  • creates an undue administrative burden, or
  • is not technically feasible. The individual, office or department sponsoring the program, service, or activity must provide equally effective alternative access plan (EEAAP) that communicates the same information in as timely a fashion as does the original format or medium.


Resources exist for faculty, staff and students for ensuring accessibility and compliance. Please contact for further information.


These definitions apply to terms as they are used in this policy.

Accessible” means that individuals with disabilities are able to independently acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services within the same timeframe as individuals without disabilities, with substantially equivalent ease and effectiveness of use.

"Equally effective alternative access plan (EEAAP)" with respect to information and communication technology, means an alternative format, medium, or other aid that timely and accurately communicates the same content as does the original format or medium, and which is appropriate to an individual's disability. To provide equally effective alternative access, the College need not ensure that qualified individuals with disabilities achieve the identical result or level of achievement as individuals without disabilities, but the College must provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services as necessary to afford individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to obtain the same result, gain the same benefit, or reach the same level of achievement, in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. In providing equally effective alternative access, the College may rely on any commonly accepted standard or combination of standards provided the remainder of this definition is met. The College is not required to take any action that results in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a service, program, or activity or in undue financial and administrative burden, but must nevertheless ensure, to the maximum extent possible, that qualified community members with disabilities receive the benefits or services provided by the College.

"Information and Communication Technology (ICT)" includes information technology and any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in the creation, conversion, or duplication of data or information. The term information and communication technology includes, but is not limited to, the internet and intranet websites, content delivered in digital form, electronic books and electronic book reading systems, search engines and databases, learning management systems, classroom technology and multimedia, personal response systems ("clickers"), and office equipment such as classroom podiums, copiers and fax machines. It also includes any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in the automatic acquisition, creation, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information. ICT includes telecommunications products (such as telephones), information kiosks, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), transaction machines, point of sale systems, computers, ancillary equipment, software, firmware and similar procedures, services (including support services), equipment maintained and services operated by third-party vendors, and related resources.

Undue administrative burdens” are created when a proposed course of action causes significant difficulty. Because an institution must consider all resources available when reviewing claims of undue administrative burdens, the decision to invoke undue administrative burdens should be carefully weighed, sufficiently documented and ultimately authorized by an appropriate College official. In situations where undue administrative burdens can be documented, equally effective alternative access must still be provided.

WCAG” as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content more accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including accommodations for blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and combinations of these, and some accommodation for learning disabilities and cognitive limitations; but will not address every user need for people with these disabilities. These guidelines address accessibility of web content on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. Following these guidelines will also often make Web content more usable to users in general.

Related Information Resources:

College Services and Resources for Individuals with Disabilities

Additional reference material: