Web Accessibility

Purpose

Pepperdine University has always been committed to providing equal, or effectively equal, access for all students, faculty and staff members, and campus visitors to its programs, activities, and facilities. The purpose of this Policy is to clarify Pepperdine’s commitment to provide equal, or effectively equal, access for all users of its official web resources. Official Pepperdine web resources include, but are not limited to, websites, web applications, and digital media delivered through the web to conduct University business or academic activities. Web resources also include those purchased from or delivered by vendors. This Policy does not apply to personal web resources published by faculty, staff, or students, or web resources for non-University organizations hosted on campus, that are not used to conduct University business or academic activities.

This Policy aligns with:

Our commitment, as outlined in the University Strategic Plan, for a hospitable welcome that affirms the worth of the individual and the dignity of the individual;

Goal 1 of the University Strategic Plan to advance student learning and superior scholarship and Goal 4 to increase institutional diversity consistent with our mission; and

The University’s legal obligations under applicable law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Standards

Pepperdine utilizes the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) technical standards for achieving accessibility under this Policy. Specifically, Pepperdine strives to measure compliance against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, Level AA and Web Accessibility Initiative Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite (WAI-ARIA) 1.1 techniques for web content. Though not required by law, these guidelines shall be referred to collectively as the “Accessibility Standards” in this Policy.

Information Technology, Integrated Marketing Communications, and all academic areas and administrative departments shall be required to retroactively improve and create sites in compliance with WCAG 2.1, Level AA guidelines. If Pepperdine becomes aware that institutional websites created by vendors, faculty, staff, or students that are maintained outside the official Pepperdine University website, and not monitored or controlled by the University, are in violation of this Policy, the website owner will be notified to correct any compliance issues found. The University also maintains a reporting page on its website to collect any such accessibility challenges that may be apparent to its community.

Implementation

All new web resources, or revisions to existing web resource, are subject to this Policy following its implementation date. Each academic area or administrative department responsible for managing web resources shall regularly assess its current resources and develop a plan for replacing or remediating existing web resources that do not meet the Accessibility Standards as defined by this Policy within a reasonable period of time.

Access and Training

Effective the implementation date of this Policy, all individuals who develop or publish to University web resources shall participate in a required web accessibility compliance-training program for continued access to develop and publish web content on any Pepperdine domain. Refresher training will be provided periodically. Failure to successfully complete all required trainings may result in the suspension of an individual’s ability to develop and publish to University web resources.

Contracts

Each department at the University shall consider accessibility features when seeking approval(s) to purchase technology, software, and other web-based services for use by faculty, staff, and students. When evaluating the suitability and benefits of a particular product, the accessibility (or non-accessibility) of the product shall be evaluated and weighed by the appropriate manager prior to approving the purchase. The University will strive to request vendors to demonstrate how the information technology provided to the University conforms to or addresses each of the Accessibility Standards wherever demonstrating such performance is practicable. Ultimately, the University maintains complete discretion with regard to procurement decisions.

Exceptions

The University understands that exceptions to the Policy may be necessary when faculty and staff discover that meeting the Accessibility Standards is not technically feasible or may require extraordinary measures due to the nature of the information or the purpose of the technology being used. Information Technology and Integrated Marketing Communications, in collaboration with Office of the General Counsel and Office of Student Accessibility, will assess whether satisfying the Accessibility Standards will fundamentally alter the educational course or benefit at issue. Similarly, if cost is at issue, these departments will determine whether it potentially constitutes an undue burden to satisfy the Accessibility Standards. If there exists a technical challenge to satisfying the Accessibility Standards, the University will strive to provide equally effective alternative access to the extent practicable. A request for an exception to this Policy must be submitted to Information Technology and/or Integrated Marketing Communications for approval.

Complaints

Complaints related to the enforcement of this Policy should be addressed to the Office of Student Accessibility, which can be reached at student.accessibility@pepperdine.edu.

Violations

Pepperdine web resources in violation of this Policy will be referred to Information Technology or Integrated Marketing Communications for assistance with remediation or replacement. Remediation may include removal of the resource until the resource is able to demonstrate compliance with this Policy.

Policy Maintenance

This Policy is maintained jointly by Information Technology and Integrated Marketing Communications.