Lawsuits Ask Harvard, MIT to Change Closed-Captioning Policies Four people and the National Association of the Deaf filed two federal class action lawsuits in February alleging that Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discriminate against people who are deaf and hard of hearing. The suits contend that the universities failed to caption massive open online courses ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   April 01, 2015
Lawsuits Ask Harvard, MIT to Change Closed-Captioning Policies
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Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Professional Issues & Training / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   April 01, 2015
Lawsuits Ask Harvard, MIT to Change Closed-Captioning Policies
The ASHA Leader, April 2015, Vol. 20, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB3.20042015.16
The ASHA Leader, April 2015, Vol. 20, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB3.20042015.16
Four people and the National Association of the Deaf filed two federal class action lawsuits in February alleging that Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discriminate against people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
The suits contend that the universities failed to caption massive open online courses and thousands of online videos and audio tracks that are available to the general public. The universities claim that their content is available free to anyone with an Internet connection.
The cases, filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, claim that Harvard and MIT are violating the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act by denying access for people who are deaf and hard of hearing to the available videos and audio tracks on broad-ranging topics of general interest.
This content includes, for example, campus talks by President Barack Obama and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, “self-help” talks, entire semester-long courses, and Harvard Business Review podcasts.
Officials associated with the suits say that much of the content lacks any captioning, and that captioning on other content is inaccurate, making them confusing and sometimes unintelligible. They also indicate that the goal of the lawsuits is not to seek monetary damages, but to change the practices at Harvard, MIT and other universities.
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April 2015
Volume 20, Issue 4