Accessibility Exception Process

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Accessibility Exception Process is in place to help ensure that the university is providing an inclusive and welcoming educational and workplace environment through its use of technology and to demonstrate due diligence when procuring and utilizing ICT. Accessibility exceptions are reviewed and approved by the Technology Accessibility Review Committee (TARC), following the procedure outlined below.

Important: The exception review and approval process usually takes ten (10) business days from the time of submission; however, more time may be needed if the TARC requests further information or requires revisions to the proposed alternative access plan. Be certain to factor in time for review and potential adjustments to the request into project timelines.

Before Requesting An Exception

Before requesting an ICT accessibility exception, the Requesting Individual must have the following information:

  1. An accessibility evaluation report for the ICT product that will receive the exception. The evaluation must have been performed by an employee of the university or by an approved third-party.
    • If the request is to renew an expiring exception, the evaluation must be a follow-up evaluation conducted on the most recent version of the ICT product; ie., the evaluation report that was submitted with the expiring request may not be resubmitted for the renewal. This helps ensure that any updates to the ICT product are evaluated and addressed as needed by updates to the alternative access plan.
  2. Documentation of the product comparison research demonstrating that the ICT to be excepted is the most accessible product available product on the market that meets business need.
    • If no product research was performed or the ICT to be excepted is not the most accessible, document rationale for why this product was chosen.
  3. A completed Alternative Access Plan template which documents the equally effective alternative access that will be provided by the requestor, the requestor's unit, or the product service management team.

When An Exception Is Not Needed

An Accessibility Exception is not needed in the following circumstances:

  • The ICT product has no human-facing interface
  • The ICT product is special-purpose software that will be used by few individuals, none of whom have an identified disability that will be adversely affected by product accessibility issues
  • The ICT product is for use internally by a research team where no members of the team have an identified disability that will be adversely affected by product accessibility issues

In the latter two situations, it is be prudent to create an alternative access plan in case someone who must use the product develops a disability or a new team member is introduced who has a disability that will be adversely affected.

Process Overview

  1. The Requesting Individual submits an accessibility exception request via the Exception Request form.
    • The Requesting Individual's unit head and the TARC will be notified automatically that an exception request has been submitted.
  2. The TARC reviews the submitted request
    • If the TARC determines that more information is needed or that the plan for alternative access must be modified, a TARC designee will contact the Requesting Individual.
    • Once any requested information is received, the TARC completes its review.
  3. The TARC determines if the request is approved or denied.
    • The determination is made by simple majority vote by the voting members. Ex Officio members of the TARC are not voting members
  4. The Requesting Individual and their Unit Head is notified of the TARC's decision.

If the Exception Request is denied, the ICT product may not be used; however, an appeal may be made (see Appeals below).

Approved exceptions are usually not permanent (See Expiration Process below).


The Requesting Individual may appeal a TARC decision to deny an exception request. The Requesting Individual's Unit Head must agree to the appeal. The following process is utilized for appeals:

  1. The TARC is notified by the Requesting Individual that they wish to appeal the denial.
    • Appeals must be accompanied by a rationale for the appeal.
  2. The appeal request and rationale is directed to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Access and Equity.
  3. The Associate Vice Chancellor reviews the exception request and rationale for appeal.
    • The Associate Vice Chancellor may discuss the appeal with the ADA IT Coordinator, the TARC, and/or the Requesting Individual.
      • The Associate Vice Chancellor for Access and Equity makes final determination of the appeal.
  4. The Associate Vice Chancellor makes a decision to approve or deny the exception request. Appeal Decisions are Final. 
  5. The TARC, the Requesting Individual, and Unit Head are notified of the final decision.

Expiration Process

The accessibility of products changes as they are updated, and new, more accessible products that meet the business need often become available over time. As such, approved exceptions are not permanent, typically expiring in one to two years after approval. Exceptions may be renewed (See Exception Renewals below).

Process Timeline

  • 60 days prior to expiration: TARC notifies requestor and requestor's unit via email that an exception is expiring in 60 days.
    • Requestor should notify TARC if they intend to renew the exception or if the exception is no longer required.
  • 30 days prior to expiration: If no response received from the requestor, TARC sends an expiration reminder via email.
    • Requestor may notify TARC of need for an extension if needed.
  • Date of Expiration: If no response from requestor, ADA IT Coordinator is notified. ADA IT Coordinator will contact the requestor and the requesting unit to discuss next steps.
  • 90 days post expiration: If no progress is made toward renewal, requesting unit must discontinue use of the product.

About Expiration Dates

Exception expiration dates are set by the TARC. When setting the date, the TARC takes into account:

  • The contract renewal date, if that is known
  • Vendor activity to remediate accessibility issues in the product
  • The context of use for a product. As an example, expiration for a classroom technology will not occur during the semester where the technology is in active use by students.

    Exception Renewals

    Exceptions may be renewed if no more accessible alternative product is available at the time of renewal. In order to renew an exception, the requesting unit must:

    • Schedule an accessibility evaluation request to determine if the accessibility of the product has changed.
    • Review the Alternative Access Plan (AAP) to see if any updates to the plan are needed.
    • Submit an exception renewal request, using the same form as they did for the original request.