January 13, 2010, 10:55 PM ET
3 More Institutions Reach Agreements Regarding E-Book Readers and Blind Students
In agreements announced by the U.S. Justice Department today, three higher-education institutions pledged not to use Amazon's Kindle DX electronic-book reader or any similar devices "unless the devices are fully accessible to students who are blind and have low vision."
The agreements with Case Western Reserve University, Pace University, and Reed College follow a similar agreement announced on Monday by Arizona State University and two national organizations representing the blind that sued Arizona State over its use of the Kindle. The Justice Department was also a party to that agreement. The groups had asked its Civil Rights Division to investigate whether e-book practices at several universities violated the rights of blind students under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
In today's announcement, the assistant attorney general, Thomas E. Perez, noted that new technologies are changing instructional methods at universities. "But we must be sure," he said, "that emerging technologies offer individuals with disabilities the same opportunities as other students."