When we work to make sure that we're offering accessible digital content across the university, we uphold one of our basic tenets: providing a more supportive, welcoming and inclusive campus environment for everyone.
A Better Digital Experience for All
Following digital accessibility guidelines makes your digital content better for everyone, not just those with disabilities. If your content is accessible, it means that students and other members of the university community can engage with it in the way that works best for them, in any situation or environment they might find themselves in.
In Keeping With Our Mission for the USC Community
Inclusivity is a major tenet of our university's mission. Creating a more accessible digital campus will also create a more inclusive university and falls in line with our Carolinian Creed, the last section in particular: "I will demonstrate concern for others, their feelings, and their need for the conditions which support their work and development."
Learning and incorporating digital accessibility practices into your everyday work may seem like extra trouble or another compliance hoop to jump through. In actuality, the digital accessibility work you do allows students with disabilities to interact with your content when they otherwise might not be able to or when it would be very frustrating to try.
Not All Students Register Their Disability
It's enough that more than 10% of students at the university have registered with the Student Disability Resource Center for assistance due to a disability. However, we have no way of knowing how many of our students have a disability at any given time. We only know that the number is much higher than 10%. Many students, for a multitude of reasons, do not register their disability when they get to the university.
Ignoring compliance requirements for digital accessibility has serious repercussions. It puts our university at risk and could potentially lead to loss of our federal funding for grants, research and scholarships.
The Requirement Is Nothing New
Universities and other public institutions have been legally required to comply with digital accessibility guidelines in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act since 1998.
Enforcement Is on the Rise
Recent court decisions and a greater attention to inclusivity and accessibility at the federal level have brought the issue into the spotlight in recent years, resulting in a stricter enforcement of the decades-old requirement.