Scholarship News

Blind NY Resident Suing 50 US Colleges


December 11, 2018 11:56 AM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
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.

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.

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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."

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Henry S  on  12/23/2018 6:38:04 PM commented:

I am a person who is blind and attending an online university. I will admit that I have had accessibility issues with some of my course work. Of course, it well within my rights to sue.; however, “At the end of the day, Who is the winner?” as he continues to sue, the only result that would be garnered is kneejerk animosity filled reactions that only creates more accessibility issues. There will be band-aid fixes, symptoms, instead of a cure for the sickness. Like me, he needs to take on the attitude of “Let’s work together and solve the problem.” The fact that there are now online degree programs is a step in the right direction because for some of us, traveling to a university or college is not feasible. Another thought is he even planning to attend any of these colleges that he is suing.

Darren G  on  12/17/2018 9:12:29 AM commented:

CLEARLY a ploy.. An atty and a blind guy working together to sue unsuspecting colleges. Surely he had no intention of attending ANY of the colleges as he makes his money screwing over the public. Actual students will be the ones paying the bill! SCUMBAG!!!

Trinity G.  on  12/13/2018 4:48:35 PM commented:

Proof that people are just greedy. It's not the colleges fault that you're blind - and I doubt many of them anticipated this snag when it comes to technology and the future. After all, colleges did fine welcoming in Helen Keller, but they also didn't have computers back then. It's not like colleges aren't trying to be inclusive; they just couldn't have anticipated this problem!

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