To: All Faculty, Other Academic Appointees, Postdoctoral Researchers, and Staff
From: Ka Yee Lee, Provost, and Ivan Samstein, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Subject: New Policies for University Web Properties
Date: January 6, 2021
 
The University’s web properties—websites, online tools, and applications—are necessary to support teaching, learning, research, and administrative services. As such, they must be secure and accessible. To support these efforts, the University’s IT Services, Equal Opportunity Programs, Student Disability Services, Office of Legal Counsel, and Office of Communications have worked with faculty representatives, unit IT leadership, and other partners from across campus to create two new digital policies, to which University web properties must adhere.
 
  1. Web Properties Policy: Requires University web properties to be secure, registered, and follow domain name guidelines. These measures will help appropriately protect the University’s shared IT infrastructure—from central systems to individual devices on the network—and help secure research, teaching, and administrative data.

  2. Digital Accessibility Policy: Requires University web properties and digital content to be accessible. This means that they are easily navigated by a wide range of users, including those who have visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive disabilities. These efforts will help the University comply with its legal obligations. In addition, accessible web properties support the full participation of people with disabilities in the academic, research, and work environments; therefore, they are essential to a diverse and inclusive University community.

 
The policies are effective immediately. Critical security updates should be made as soon as possible. Best efforts should be made to conform to the new accessibility standards, and web properties that are created or undergo substantial revisions or redesign after September 1, 2021, are required to conform to the new accessibility standards.
 
To help web property owners meet these new requirements, the University established the UChicago Website Resource Center (UWRC) and the Center for Digital Accessibility (CDA). These centers provide training, best practices, consulting services, and related support.
 
Each web property is different, so the remediation and resources required to comply with the policies will vary. UWRC and CDA staff will provide additional guidance on process and timing to senior administrators, web property owners, unit communicators, and IT contacts.
 
Individuals who manage a web property should plan to attend one of the following “Digital Accessibility and Security Responsibilities for Websites” sessions. Click below to register:
 
 
If you have questions, please email webhelp@uchicago.edu. Thank you for your support of these important policies.
 
Keywords: 
Policy and Administration
Equal Opportunity Programs