All electronic and information technology developed, purchased, upgraded or renewed by or for the use of The City University of New York shall be accessible to persons with disabilities. Information technology shall comply with all applicable University policies, Federal and State laws and regulations including but not limited to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. 794d) and all other regulations promulgated under Title II of The Americans with Disabilities Act.

Accessible means a person with a disability must be able to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability, and be able to do so in an equally effective manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use.

The person with a disability must be able to obtain the information and services as timely, fully, equally, and independently as a person without a disability.

Procurement staff should follow the protocols set forth in New York State Enterprise IT Policy NYS-P08-005, Accessibility of Web-Based Information and Applications.

Vendors and Contractors who provide electronic and information technology shall also comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, level AA.

Follow the best practices below to ensure accessible procurement:

Steps to enhance accessibility in technology procurement include:

  • Insert accessibility language into all RFIs, RFQs, RFPs, and Contracts. See suggested sample language below.
  • Request a statement of accessibility or a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) from the Vendor. A VPAT is a document for evaluating product accessibility.
  • Do a web search for the Product with the terms “accessibility”, “Section 508”, or “VPAT” in the search parameters.
  • Ask the developer if the product has been tested by users with various disabilities.
  • Request a product accessibility evaluation from your college Disability Services office or Cuny Assistive Technology Services. For CUNY-wide products contact CIS.

All solicitation documents, contracts, and any amendments should include the text set forth in: New York State Enterprise IT Policy NYS-P08-005, Accessibility of Web-Based Information and Applications.

Standard of Review: All content, interfaces, and navigation elements to be used by University faculty/staff, program participants, or other University constituencies must be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended. Compliance means that a person with a disability can acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability, in an equally effective, timely, and integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use.

A product will be considered by the University to have met this standard (as stated above) based on a review by the University or when the vendor demonstrates to the University that the work clearly meets the standard through documented accessibility testing.

Vendor proposals, quotes, or bids should describe the accessibility testing process, and may include but are not limited to code reviews by internal or external experts, evaluations with accessibility checking software, vendor test bedding with assistive technologies, testing by users with disabilities, or testing by a third party organization.

Vendors should answer the following questions to address product accessibility:

  1. What standards are followed for coding of interfaces (if 508, what parts; if WCAG 2.0, which level)?
  2. Do you do testing with users with disabilities? If so, can you explain the process and identify, roughly, the range of disabilities and assistive technologies used?
  3. What experience do your developers have coding for accessibility?
  4. What are your company’s internal standards for development with accessibility in mind? (Note: may have been answered by question 2.)
  5. Does your company have a road map for accessibility going forward? If so, can you give us a general outline (goals, milestones)?
  6. Have you tested and/or developed your mobile apps (especially iOS and Android) with accessibility in mind?
  7. If the University finds that there are changes that need to be made to web/mobile interfaces/apps, what guarantee can be made to the University that these changes will be implemented to the University’s satisfaction prior to go-live/going forward?
  8. Will your company provide the indemnity below to protect the University against legal action related to failures in accessibility?

[Vendor] shall be compliant with all federal and state laws and requirements in the provision of services under this Agreement, including but not limited to the provision for equally effective and substantially equivalent ease of use for persons with disabilities, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, level AA shall be used to evaluate minimum compliance with the ADA. [Vendor] shall indemnify, defend, and hold the University, the State of New York, the City of New York, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, and their respective Trustees, Employees, agents, and servants harmless for any fines, penalties, expenses, or awards related to any claims related to failure to maintain ADA compliance, including attorneys’ fees, and requests for accommodations.

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