CIC IT Accessibility Interest Group Coordination and Planning Meeting Notes for February 9, 2007, 10 AM EST Teleconference

* Alice Anderson (UW-Madison)
* Charmane Cocoran (MSU)
* John Howard (Indiana-Bloomington)
* Kim Kokenakes (MSU (purchasing))
* Phil Kragnes (U. of MN)
* Bryan McMurray (UIUC)
* Janet Peters (Great Lakes ADA)
* Ken Petri (OSU, chair)
* David Schwarte (Purdue)
* Wei-jong Wang (sp?, UW-Madison?)
* Joe Wheaton (OSU)

Next Meeting
(I couldn't find the date. Jon, please send it to the list.)

Action Items
* Charmane will revise (has revised (see recent emails)) the CIO's
support letter to include a section outlining one of the functions of
our group as advisory to the CIOs on issues of accessibility.
* Member universities are encouraged get a letter/email of support
from their CIO. Please see Charmane's email (subject: "Revised Memo
(attached) & Process"). The creation of an IT Accessibility and
Usability group is apparently already on the agenda for the CIC CIO's
meeting in early March, so letters are not necessary. However, I can't
imagine it would hurt to have one. If you get one, please send a copy
to Charmane.
* Encourage CIOs to "champion" the creation of our CIC group at the
upcoming CIO's meeting (March 1 and 2). See

Edited Notes on Teleconference

Agenda Item 1:
Update in CIC IT Accessibility Interest Group Conference

Conference will be held at the University of Minnesota, June 20 and 21.

Phil wanted some feedback on the proposed agenda at Agenda is current as
posted on the web. Question as to how many people will be coming for
the library database break out session. General opinion was that there
would be good representation from library personnel. Ken suggested
involving library personnel in the EBSCO library database interest
group to raise these issues and pique interest. We might also consider
getting vendor representation via teleconference at the various
appropriate breakout sessions. Phil wanted to know if the order of
breakouts was good, so that folks would be able to attend one and not
feel like they were missing something important in the other session
scheduled at the same time. General opinion was that times were

Agenda Item 2:
Creation of a CIC Working Group on IT Accessibility and Usability

John Howard: Indiana has sent out the memo and has support. Phil:
Minnesota was waiting until this meeting to get the go ahead. Alice:
Wisconsin-Madison has sent out and is awaiting approval. Charmane:
Michigan has support. Ken: OSU has sent it out and is waiting

Charmane: There was a question from Karen Partlow at CIC of "what do
you want from us" (CIC). Normally peer groups report directly to the
CIO, but ours is different because group members are not necessarily
directly under the CIO. Also if we are trying to get vendors to work
on access and are speaking as part of the CIC, then we are really
overstepping a typical boundary, since it is typically up the the
provost to make recommendations about what is required from a vendor.
What is really behind our task is collaboration and awareness. So
maybe we don't want to be a peer group, but instead an "advisory
group" that presents itself with a "how can we help you in your
decisions" function. CIOs probably don't know what to ask for. So our
group could act as advisory to the CIOs on an inter-institutional

CIOs' meeting coming March 1 and 2: Ideally, we want CIOs from our
institutions to champion the idea of the creation of our group. For
this, we need to specify what we really want, which is basically the
ability to communicate with the CIOs on issues of accessibility. Also,
there is the question of where do we fit among the various CIC
groupings. We could fit under diversity, purchasing, libraries, etc.
But is there an an "avisory group" designation? We want connectedness
to CIOs across universities

Phil: Also, if we were a peer group, we might be working in isolation.
We are all from different units on campus. So we aren't really peers
in the strict sense. But if advisory we could have a wider range of

Charmane: CIC has just started doing this sort of cross-group
collaboration. There are a couple of newer groups who move between the
traditional boundaries.

Phil: Want to get it moving quickly; will the fact that this is a
non-typical group slow down the process?

Charmane: Only the provosts can speak for the CIC; CIOs get nervous
when there is a group and all the people involved are not necessarily
directly under them.

Ken: Currently the memo does not say we want to be an adisvory group.
Do we want to add this idea?

Charmane: And we need 2 or 3 CIOs to bring this to the table. Do we
want to redraft?

Consensus is "yes."

Joe: are there any downsides to this shift in tone?

David Schwarte: Advisory group could be a thing that suggests language
in policies and recommendations;

Charmane: Also, there is a need to advise in how laws affect these
purchasing and deployment.

Note: was a desire to get on the CIC CIOs' meeting agenda. This has
happened. See Charmane's recent emails for more details.

Agenda Item 3:
Purchasing Policies
Guest: Kim Kokenakes from Purchasing at MSU

Kim and Charmane: MSU is currently working on thorough revisions of
boilerplate language in purchasing and has worked this into a current
RFP for contract, consulting, and development work.

Ken: Can you describe how the RFP language reads? How do you guarantee
that the vendors don't simply check a "yes" box and say, yes we meet
that criterion?

Phil: Our boilerplate says "describe how it meets" such and such
aspect of accessibility, forcing the vendor to discuss the issue at
some length.

Kim: Language referencing accessibility typically goes into the "terms
and conditions" section of an RFP. We have pulled it out of there and
made it part of technical or other "requirements." This makes the
vendor address accessibility compliance specifically in the RFP. Put
under "terms and conditions" such language does not necessarily
provoke a response. The vendor does not have to speak to the issue
unless they can't meet a term or condition. In "requirements," by
contast, the vendor must directly address the issues.

Phil told an anecdote about one vendor skipping the accessibility part
of the RFP. At OSU, a vendor in a recent RFP process merely pointed to
a VPAT statement.

Kim: RFP's are typically filled in by sales representatives. And these
folks don't often know details of accessibility. Later on when, during
the on-campus product Q&A, there are typically technical people on
hand to answer specifics. But you have to have folks on the committees
who are knowledgable about accessibility to ask the appropriate

Ken: Is it common for testing to be part of the RFP process?

Phil: We have done local usability testing and have been involved
directly in the review and assessment process in which I have hands-on
time with the product and can make determination. For a recent review
of a web content management system and we were able to go back through
the application thoroughly and note the roughs spots in depth. We made
a DVD recording in our usability lab and have used it both for
training and as a tool for demonstrating problem areas to the vendor.

Kim: One of the problems is that there different people involved in
the RFP process depending on the product under consideration and how
the product will be distributed on campus.

Ken: How does the request to review a product arrive on your desk. How
are you informed that an RFP is under way?

Phil: Our CIO is supporting the creation of an accessibility institute
because he wants a body that is responsible for evaluation, a central
repository of knowledge and expertise. We are hoping that this will

Ken: How does this sit with folks in purchasing? How do they react
when there is such interventionist involvement from accessibility

Kim: It's difficult to guarantee that the right eyes get to look at
new products. It happened as serendipity here. I was referred to
Charmane and that is how I began to become aware of problems of

Charmane: Currently, we have no boilerplate for non-web technologies.
We are developing that. We have developed language for hiring of
developers and outside contractors. We are hoping a sea change will
come with the RFP for development and contracting.

Phil: projects under $25K don't go through central purchasing. So we
inevitably miss purchases. Within our purchasing department, our 8
purchasers have all been thoroughly educated about accessibility.

Item 4, on Accessibility Evaluation Software, was skipped, since Jon
was not able to make the teleconference.

Disclaimer: All loose interpretations, inventions, omissions, and
misprisions in these notes are Ken's fault. He was typing as fast as
he could :)

  Ken Petri
  Director, OSU Web Accessibility Center
  102 Pomerene Hall
  1760 Neil Avenue
  Columbus, Ohio  43210
  (614) 292-1760