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From: Jennison Mark Asuncion
Date: Jun 28, 2009 4:30PM


Hello,

Thought folk here might find this develoment of interest.

Jennison

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: National Federation of the Blind and American Council of the
Blind File Discrimination Suit Against Arizona State University
From: "Lissner, Scott" < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Date: Fri, June 26, 2009 1:34 pm
To: <EMAIL REMOVED>
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

National Federation of the Blind and American Council of the Blind File
Discrimination Suit Against Arizona State University
6/25/2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)
<EMAIL REMOVED>
National Federation of the Blind and
American Council of the Blind
File Discrimination Suit Against Arizona State University
University's Amazon Kindle DX Pilot Program
Discriminates Against the Blind
Baltimore, Maryland (June 25, 2009): The National Federation of the
Blind (NFB) and the American Council of the Blind (ACB) filed suit today
against Arizona State University (ASU) to prevent the university from
deploying Amazon's Kindle DX electronic reading device as a means of
distributing electronic textbooks to its students because the device
cannot be used by blind students. Darrell Shandrow, a blind ASU
student, is also a named plaintiff in the action. The Kindle DX
features text-to-speech technology that can read textbooks aloud to
blind students. The menus of the device are not accessible to the
blind, however, making it impossible for a blind user to purchase books
from Amazon's Kindle store, select a book to read, activate the
text-to-speech feature, and use the advanced reading functions available
on the Kindle DX. In addition to ASU, five other institutions of higher
education are deploying the Kindle DX as part of a pilot project to
assess the role of electronic textbooks and reading devices in the
classroom. The NFB and ACB have also filed complaints with the Office
for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education and the Civil
Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, asking for
investigations of these five institutions, which are: Case Western
Reserve University, the Darden School of Business at the University of
Virginia, Pace University, Princeton University, and Reed College. The
lawsuit and complaints allege violations of the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind,
said: "Given the highly-advanced technology involved, there is no good
reason that Amazon's Kindle DX device should be inaccessible to blind
students. Amazon could have used the same text-to-speech technology
that reads e-books on the device aloud to make its menus accessible to
the blind, but it chose not to do so. Worse yet, six American higher
education institutions that are subject to federal laws requiring that
they not discriminate against students with disabilities plan to deploy
this device, even though they know that it cannot be used by blind
students. The National Federation of the Blind will not tolerate this
unconscionable discrimination against and callous indifference to the
right of blind students to receive an equal education. We hope that
this situation can be rectified in a manner that allows this exciting
new reading technology to be made available to blind and sighted
students alike."
Darrell Shandrow, a blind student pursuing a degree in journalism at
ASU, said: "Not having access to the advanced reading features of the
Kindle DX-including the ability to download books and course materials,
add my own bookmarks and notes, and look up supplemental information
instantly on the Internet when I encounter it in my reading-will lock me
out of this new technology and put me and other blind students at a
competitive disadvantage relative to our sighted peers. While my peers
will have instant access to their course materials in electronic form, I
will still have to wait weeks or months for accessible texts to be
prepared for me, and these texts will not provide the access and
features available to other students. That is why I am standing up for
myself and with other blind Americans to end this blatant
discrimination."

###

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