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Majors & Degrees

Digital Accessibility

Policy 14.2
Approved by: President
Originally Issued: 04/29/2024
Last Revision: NEW
Related Policy
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title II)
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2


Dakota State University is committed to fostering a community of access, belonging and accountability. In accordance with this commitment, this policy seeks to enable digital access and improve the user experience for individuals with disabilities. The University recognizes that websites and applications are integral to its academic and administrative work. This policy is designed to address the needs of individuals with disabilities who use university information and communication technologies (“ICT”) to participate in university programs and activities and/or conduct university business. This policy applies to all DSU digital platforms, products, websites, and services created by DSU or by 3rd parties representing DSU’s public, faculty, staff, or students.

This policy is established to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

II. Definitions

  1. Digital Accessibility Coordinator (DAC). Individual who leads and coordinates University-wide digital accessibility efforts and reports progress to the DASC.
  2. Digital Content. All electronic information procured, created, produced, or revised by any person or entity representing DSU for University business which includes, but is not limited to the following:
    1. Websites hosted on a University-owned domain.
    2. DSU-created and third-party software, applications, domains, and websites purchased by schools, units, and departments.
    3. Audiovisual materials, such as videos and podcasts.
    4. Downloadable documents made available through University websites and social media, including PDFs, PowerPoints, and Word documents.
    5. Text, multimedia, and other content posted on public-facing and access-restricted university websites.
    6. Documents shared internally via email or posted on University websites.
    7. Images, video, or other content posted on social media platforms.
    8. Course materials posted and shared on learning management systems such as D2L.
    9. Text, multimedia, and other content posted on public-facing and access-restricted university websites.
    10. Course materials posted and shared on learning management systems such as D2L.
  3. Digital Accessibility Standards. The most recent World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.2, Level AA, Conformance (WCAG 2.2 Level AA) for websites and web-based applications and services. In the case of digital hardware interfaces, the Standards also include the federal Section 508 standards described in Chapter 4 (“Hardware”) of Appendix C to 36 C.F.R. Part 1194, whether such instances of hardware are covered by the regulation. Software and services that are not web-based should conform to WCAG 2.2, Level AA to the extent such guidelines may usefully be applied to improve the accessibility of these resources.
  4. Digital Accessibility Steering Committee (DASC). An information and technology department committee comprised of University stakeholders including representatives from Information Technology Services, Marketing & Communications, Department/College Content Owners, and others based on assignment.
  5. Digital Content Owner (DCO). An individual responsible for one or more area(s) of University and non-University digital content.
  6. Information and Communications Technologies. An umbrella term used to describe all information and communication technologies, and which include, but are not limited to, the internet, wireless technologies, software, computers, social networking, video conferencing, and other media applications and services.
  7. Procurement. The assessment and acquisition of digital products from suppliers through Dakota State University Business Office procurement processes or directly by University departments.
  8. Site Owner. A site owner is the designated role or individual responsible for any Digital Content as defined above.
  9. Supplier. Any third-party or vendor with which the university contracts to supply digital content and ICT.
  10. University Business. Activities carried out under the auspices of Dakota State University and in furtherance of the University’s mission, exclusive of activities organized or conducted by students or student organizations.
  11. University Website. Any public-facing, faculty-facing, staff-facing, or student-facing website or web‐based application that resides within a University-controlled domain and/or is used to conduct University business by University faculty or staff.


  1. Digital Accessibility Standards. Digital content owners (DSU and non-DSU) shall comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Version 2.2, Level AA. University websites created or undergoing substantial revisions after the effective date of the policy shall conform to the Digital Accessibility Standards regarding their infrastructure and content.
  2. Digital Accessibility Coordinator (DAC). The DAC shall be responsible for, but not limited to. The following:
    1. Providing periodic accessibility reviews of University websites.
    2. Staying up to date with industry standards and practices as they evolve, with recommendations going to the DASC.
    3. Working with the DASC and the President’s Executive Committee to promote general awareness of the Digital Accessibility Policy, Standards, Guidelines, and Procedures.
    4. Assessing and reporting to the DASC the University’s accessibility efforts as outlined in this policy.
    5. Using automatic testing tools to scan and assess the broad level of accessibility for a University website.
    6. Engaging in manual testing to identify barriers of access for people with disabilities. The testing shall, at a minimum, incorporate protocols to address the items set forth in the Manual Testing Standard Operating Procedures. Vendor or third-party hosted pages in its inventory shall be assessed when the University has full operational control.
    7. Providing guidance and training for automated testing (using third party tools), and manual testing (using a screen reader and peripheral devices), and how to report and remediate issues.
    8. Upon learning of user accessibility issues through other channels, the DSC shall submit the issue using the Report a Web Accessibility Concern Form so that all such concerns can be cataloged centrally.
      1. Triaging requests submitted via this form.
      2. Routing them to the relevant Site Owner and Digital Content Owner for follow-up.
    9. Responding to accessibility issues.
    10. Coordinating the testing and remediation efforts as outlined in this policy.
  3. Site Owners. The applicable unit's dean, vice president, chair, and/or director shall designate site owners by job role. Site owners shall be responsible for, but not limited to, the following:
    1. Ensuring the accessibility of their sites.
    2. Holding content creators, developers, and other necessary parties accountable for ensuring the site’s accessibility.
    3. Including a link to the DSU Digital Accessibility policy on its web page.
    4. Completing required ADA training.
    5. Establishing a site remediation plan to improve some or all non-conforming portions of an existing University website.
    6. Providing an evaluation report to the DASC enumerating efforts and periodically demonstrating progress with any site remediation plans.
  4. Digital Content Owners.
    1. Ensuring that any new digital content for which they are responsible that is created, produced, or undergoes substantial revisions on or after the effective date of this policy conforms to the Digital Accessibility Standards, absent an exception approved by the DASC.
    2. Ensuring compliance with the Digital Accessibility Standards for non-University created platforms, products, and services. Non-DSU examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
      1. Work done by vendors that develop, host, manage, or provide products and services.
      2. Platforms with online components, such as websites, mobile applications, or software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms.
      3. Products or systems intended for use or access by DSU students, alumni, faculty, staff, applicants, prospective students, and/or members of the general public.
    3. Using the Report a Web Accessibility Concern Form to submit user accessibility issues so that all such concerns can be cataloged centrally.
  5. Digital Accessibility Steering Committee (DASC). The University ITS Department shall determine annual DASC membership. DASC responsibilities shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. Accessibility Policy. The DASC shall ensure that accessibility policy and plans are implemented and maintained.
    2. Accessibility Compliance Resource. The DASC members shall serve as a resource for digital accessibility compliance.
    3. Priority Recommendations. Makes recommendations to the President’s Executive Committee regarding University accessibility priorities.
      1. The DASC shall prioritize recommendations according to IT platforms that provide the most essential functions to, and are most broadly and regularly used by, DSU faculty, staff, and students.
      2. In the case of public-facing websites, the DASC shall give priority to sites that are among the most highly trafficked and to those that contain core institutional information.
    4. Prioritization Plan. Establishes a prioritization plan for improving the accessibility of existing University information technology, including websites and web-based applications, and the existing University content hosted, published, or communicated on those platforms.
    5. Site Remediation Plans. Requires a site owner to establish a site remediation plan to improve some or all non-conforming portions of a site owner’s existing University website.
      1. The DASC shall consider several factors including, but not limited to, the following:
        1. How essential is the website or its content to University functions (i.e., is it functional or informational?)?
        2. Whether the site owner is already planning a redesign.
        3. Target audience (i.e., is the website directed to internal or external users?).
        4. Size of audience.
      2. The DASC shall refer identified sites to the DAC for further evaluation. The DAC shall in turn contact each applicable site owner to provide information about the site and identify resources available to support remediation. The DAC may assist site owners in prioritizing what to improve and how to approach the work, such as through incremental updates made by existing staff, through contracted work, and/or through platform migration.
  6. Digital Accessibility Training. The DAC shall make training available for Site Owners and Digital Content Owners.



  • DASC shall review digital accessibility exception requests as part of its regular meetings.
  • The DASC shall retain documentation of digital accessibility exception requests and their disposition will be retained by the DASC, which will undertake periodic review of the exceptions process.