Resolution: GPSA R13: Cornell Commitment to Web Accessibility

ActionAcknowledged by the President

Acknowledged by M. Pollack

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Dear Nate,

Thank you for submitting GPSA Resolution 13, “Cornell Commitment to Web Accessibility.” I appreciate the thorough research, collaborative efforts and thoughtful recommendations that went into drafting this resolution and the GPSA’s dedication to making sure that the university is doing everything it can to foster and maintain an inclusive environment for all members of our community through our websites and the content they convey.

Cornell’s compliance with The Americans with Disabilities Act is key to this ongoing effort. Accessible information technology, which includes web accessibility, is one of the two focus areas of the 2016-19 Strategic Access Plan led by the university’s ADA Coordinator Team.

I have read Interim President Hunter Rawlings’s response to the similar Employee Assembly resolution that was passed in December. I am also familiar with the ongoing work that many students, staff and faculty have done to advance the goal of setting a baseline standard on all sites throughout the domain to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 AA Standard.

Since President Rawlings’ response to the EA last month, we have made some notable progress. Cornell Information Technologies has researched and will acquire a robust online accessibility testing tool to be made available to Cornell web developers. Additionally, three webinars for developers and communications staff have been scheduled that will provide guidance on accessibility guidelines and options to test and make their web platforms accessible to all. Finally, work is currently underway to complete improvements and to launch as an online resource for news, events, and tools related to accessibility at Cornell.   

I support President Rawlings’ approach to this issue and concur with his charge and creation of a working group to address web accessibility in a comprehensive and coordinated way. I have directed the Divisions of University Relations, Cornell Information Technologies and Human Resources to continue with their work and with planned updates while the new working group researches these issues, periodically reports to senior leadership on its progress, and makes final recommendations to me by the March 1, 2018 deadline.

Thank you again for your leadership on this issue, and I look forward to continuing to work with all of Cornell’s shared governance groups on this and our many other shared priorities in the weeks and months ahead.  


Martha Pollack