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IT Purchasing - Accessibility Exemptions and Exceptions

View the accessibility review criteria

Accessibility Exemptions

Some technology products are exempt from the 508 Requirements for Accessibility. Note that while some of these products can be replaced directly with assistive technologies, the products themselves are excluded from 508 requirements. The following list includes the current exemptions:

  • computer monitors and displays
  • wireless presenters
  • keyboards & mice; speakers
  • video cards and video adapters
  • cables, except network patch cables; USB hubs
  • UPS battery backup for desktops
  • digital cameras, camera lenses and other camera accessories
  • facsimile machines
  • televisions
  • smartphones
  • disks, SD cards, electronic and data storage devices

Accessibility Exceptions

If a technology product being purchased by your department falls under one of the five categories here, you can request an EXCEPTION. However, each exception does require an accessibility alternative plan of action (except for the Back Office exception).

  • Commercially Unavailable. At the time of procurement, if a product meets all the specific functionalities, but does not have features to meet all the appropriate 508 standards. In some cases, the vendor's product may comply with some, but not all, standards. If a vendor has the most compliant product, then the standards for which the vendor cannot comply are considered commercially non-available.
  • Sole Source. Only one product provides the specific functionalities required. An Alternate Access Plan (AAP) and VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) are still required.
  • Back Office. The product is located in spaces frequented only by service personnel for maintenance, repair or monitoring, generally a data center or telecommunications closet. Employees interact with these tools to accomplish administration of technology services. These tools are not used in the same manner by employees or other customers.
  • Work Productivity. The software will not be used to provide services or student instruction (e.g., Adobe Photoshop Microsoft Project, etc.). Need for accommodation will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Fundamental Alteration. The campus is not required to make changes in the fundamental characteristics of a product to comply with accessibility standards. This does not apply to cosmetic or aesthetic changes.
  • Undue Burden (Cost Increase). The acquisition of the accessible products would cause significant difficulty or expense. Exemptions in this category are rare and require additional approvals. Any exceptions being sought for undue burden requires approval from the ADA Coordinator and the appropriate university administrator. This would be a rare scenario.
  • Programmatic/Academic Technical Standards. Standards must reflect the minimal physical requirements as documented for the position or program. You are required to maintain documentation to support this purchase.