A blind New York resident is suing 50 colleges nationwide over the accessibility of their websites. According to Jason Camacho, the "colleges are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as their websites are not accessible to people with disabilities." This is not the first time Camacho has sued higher education institutions over website accessibility.
The majority of the colleges being sued are private colleges, but there are also large research universities included in the lawsuit. Camacho, who uses a screen reader, stated that he experienced barriers when trying to access colleges' websites."If the website is not accessible, you're shut out," stated his attorney Jeffrey Gottlieb.
In the past, Camacho and Gottlieb worked together to sue higher education institutions over website accessibility. The cases were settled out of court and the terms of the settlement are confidential. Filing a lawsuit as a first move "puts universities on the defensive and is automatically adversarial," said director of public relations at the National Federation of the Blind. He added that "it's not necessarily a bad thing that someone who isn't attending a university yet is doing some advocacy."
"It's beside the point whether there are 50 or 1,000 lawsuits," stated one law professor at Syracuse University. "These cases are reflective of a larger systemic problem - that there is a lack of a strong commitment by many institutions to try to be as inclusive as possible."