GA Accessibility Advisor
The Graduate Assembly Accessibility Advisor is a position established in 2023 to support digital accessibility within the graduate student community. In collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Digital Accessibility Program (DAP), the GA Accessibility Advisor will be supporting graduate students through two main tasks in AY 2023-2024:
- Updating your online materials (websites, podcasts, video recordings related to your personal research or your graduate student group) to be accessible for all.
- Helping UCB to comply with a consent decree with the US Department of Justice regarding the accessibility of their public-facing online content (websites, videos, podcasts, and documents).
Accessibility Consent Decree
DAP has more information about the DOJ’s consent decree. By and large, the consent decree doesn’t impact graduate students’ online materials (such as a personal website or a graduate student group’s online presence), as students and student organizations are not included in the scope of the decree. However, many of you may help to manage online assets that do fall under the decree, such as research or lab group websites, professor’s websites on the berkeley.edu domain, and perhaps even YouTube and podcast channels. Here is the CalMessage we received in September 2023 which provides more detailed information about the consent decree process: Digital Accessibility Next Steps: Mandatory Training and Accessible Websites.
What we need from graduate students
Regardless of whether or not your online materials fall under the decree, it is crucial to ensure that the things you share online (websites, podcasts, and video recordings) are accessible to all. Here are your next steps to make this critical goal a reality:
1. If you manage or maintain any materials that you suspect might fall under the jurisdiction of the consent decree, please:
- Fill out the form (run by DAP) so that they have a record of your efforts and can support you (or your advisor/manager) in making them accessible.
- Review these website owner responsibilities.
- Enroll yourself and your website in Siteimprove.
- Review the checklist for manual reviews page.
2. If you manage or maintain other online materials that are student-created and/or not on the berkeley.edu domain, please fill out this graduate student-specific form so that the GA Accessibility Advisor can support you. This includes your personal research website or student group (GRSO) websites that are not on the berkeley.edu domain. By tackling just one short task every week, we’ll make the process straightforward and approachable.
I’m excited to work with you on updating your online materials for accessibility in the spirit of disability justice! The importance of ensuring that your materials can be accessed by all can’t be overstated. If you’d like to get started, check out DAP’s quick reference guide for common accessibility checks and take a deeper look at any of these accessibility concepts.
Questions or comments?
Please reach out to Annie Taylor, Graduate Assembly Website Manager and Accessibility Advisor (AY 2023-2024), firstname.lastname@example.org