Agreement reached to expanded access to UC Berkeley materials

Disability Rights Advocates and the University of California, Berkeley announced May 7 a comprehensive agreement, requiring the school’s materials fully accessible for people with print disabilities.

Buildings on University of Califorrnia  Berkeley Campus
University of California Berkeley

Under the agreement, the library will create a first-of-its-kind, allowing students to request that specific books and journals be converted into an accessible digital format. The average turnaround time will be five business days.

“As the birth place of the disability rights movement, UC Berkeley has had a long and illustrious history of supporting disability rights. With this agreement, a new chapter in this history has been written,” said Paul Hippolitus, director of UC Berkeley’s Disabled Students’ Program, in a news release.

The agreement requires the school to implement a variety of policies and procedures to ensure students with print disabilities have “all of the written material students need to read to succeed in a university setting,” according to the news release. Students who request course materials in accessible formats can expect to receive textbooks within 10 business days and course readers within 17 business days.

Three students reached out to DRA after encountering accessibility problems with the school’s library systems. Since DRA and UC Berkeley reached an agreement, the parties avoided having to bring litigation.

“Getting accessible course materials for students like myself with physical and visual challenges is essential to have an equal chance at academic success,” said student David Jaulus in the news release. “With this settlement, I hope that students with print disabilities will finally be on an even playing field when it comes to getting course materials.”

Of the estimated 19.2 million students nationwide enrolled in two and four year programs, an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 of those students have print disabilities requiring alternative media, according to a DRA fact sheet accompanying the agreement agreement.