Procurement Guidelines for Accessibility

Tufts University is committed to ensuring accessibility for all individuals with disabilities in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. This Act prohibits disability discrimination in any program or activity that receives Federal funds or is conducted by an executive agency. 

To this end, the University has developed a policy intended to facilitate our ongoing efforts to improve accessibility, in particular with the purchases the University makes in the area of Information Communication Technology (ICT). ICT includes all university-sponsored websites, any information technology and equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in the creation, conversion, or duplication of data or information. More specifically, ICT can include, but is not limited to telecommunications products (such as telephones), information kiosks, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and transaction machines, internet and intranet websites, electronic books and electronic book reading systems, search engines and databases, course management systems, classroom technology and multimedia, personal response systems (“clickers”), and office equipment such as classroom podiums, copiers and fax machines. 

This policy requires the University to consider the accessibility of a product during the RFP phase of product purchasing using the Federally recognized accessibility standards (Section 508 of Electronic Information and WCAG 2.1 AA for web accessibility). 

While Tufts is committed to taking measures to promote access to ICT for all students with disabilities, we also recognize that there may be situations that call for exceptions to the policy. If a necessary product cannot be made or acquired that fully meets these standards, the person or department desiring to purchase the product must submit a plan for equally effective alternative access of the features within the product that are inaccessible (APPENDIX 5). The purchasing person or department should consult with Student Accessibility Services to determine what an appropriate work-around might be. 

It should be noted that exceptions to accessible products are not applicable to Learning Management Systems (LMSs), standalone instructional support applications (apps, Kindle devices or technologies used in the classroom), or web technology or software that is used for critical or important transactions (imparting knowledge, registering for classes, accessing university information on a mobile device).

Procurement Protocol for Accessible Digital Technologies
Download the full protocol including the appendices and forms.