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Miami University Reaches Justice Department Consent Decree to Improve Technology Access for Students With Disabilities

By Karen Farkas,
on October 18, 2016 at 10:10 AM

OXFORD, Ohio – Miami University, which settled a lawsuit filed by a blind student, has reached a proposed consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve allegations that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by using inaccessible classroom and other technologies.

Under the consent decree, which is pending court approval, the university will make significant improvements to ensure that technologies across all its campuses are accessible to individuals with disabilities, the federal department said in a release.

In 2015 the Justice Department intervened in a lawsuit filed by former student Aleeha Dudley.

Her lawsuit said course materials were inaccessible to her text-to-speech software and she hadn’t received material in Braille or other forms she could use without help,the Dayton Daily News reported.

Dudley, from New Paris, said touchscreen systems used at Miami prevented her from ordering food or even doing laundry without help.

Miami settled the lawsuit in February, agreeing to cover tuition, books, room and board at Ohio State University, where Dudley is seeking an undergraduate degree.

Miami will also pay costs up to $108,000 for up to five years, it said in a statement. Miami will also repay Dudley’s loans and pay her cash, with the total for both not to exceed $142,000.

The university said it has hired staff and made other improvements to serve students with disabilities.

The consent decree incorporates some of the initiatives that Miami had already commenced, such as the migration of its web pages to an accessible content management system, the university said in a statement.

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