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Accessibility and SLS

covers what SUNY Library Services is doing to address accessibility both internally and for SUNY

Best Practices for Retrieving a VPAT®

Search:

  • Check the SUNY Library Vendor Accessibility Repository to see if a current VPAT® has been uploaded
  • Check online to see if the vendor provides access to their current VPAT® on their company webpages
  • Avoid using versions of the VPAT® stored on non-vendor sites like library accessibility pages or other repositories because there is no guarantee that this content is current
  • Check the date of the VPAT® and if it's more than a year old, contact the vendor to see if they have a more current version. Most sites will provide either a general customer service email, or accessibility-specific contact information

Vendor email

Vendor Contact Template Examples:

Dear [______],

I am writing to request a copy of the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) for [NAME OF PRODUCT/PLATFORM]. As you may know, VPATs provide documentation about the ways that an information and communication technology conforms or does not conform with the requirements of U.S. Revised Section 508, European EN 301 549, and/or WCAG standards. SUNY is committed to providing equitable access to individuals with disabilities and, as such, relies on VPATs in making purchasing and subscription decisions. Understanding your product’s level of conformance is vital for us to make procurement decisions related to your product.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this matter.

Best,


Or this template provided by Broome Community College (edit bold content):

Dear VENDOR,

SUNY Broome Community College requires all electronic and information technology and online/web-based content to be fully accessible to all persons, including those with disabilities. A copy of the College’s Web Accessibility Policy, which includes vendor and purchasing requirements, is available at: xxxxx

College policy requires us to obtain a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) for any EIT or online/web-based products we are seeking to purchase. Please provide a copy of the VPAT for PRODUCT. We ask that VPATs have been created or updated within the last year and be on version 2.0 or higher of the VPAT template.

If you have not created a VPAT for this product, you can find more information on the VPAT as well as a template here: https://www.section508.gov/sell/vpat. Having a complete VPAT will assist us in assessing whether this purchase is able to move forward.

Thank you for your assistance.

If No VPAT® is Provided

Vendor Contact Templates if VPAT is not Provided:

Dear [______],

I understand that your company has stated that no Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is available at this time for [NAME OF PRODUCT/PLATFORM]. As you may know, VPATs provide documentation about the ways that an information and communication technology conforms or does not conform with the requirements of U.S. Revised Section 508, European EN 301 549, and/or WCAG standards. SUNY is committed to providing equitable access to individuals with disabilities and, as such, relies on VPATs or equivalent documentation in making our procurement decisions. Moreover, this is increasingly the standard across higher education to ensure that we are in compliance with federal law. Without this documentation, we are unable to rely on your product’s accessibility. Please confirm when this accessibility documentation will be available. If you are not able to immediately provide this documentation, at a minimum provide a description of your current accessibility compliance as well as your roadmap for future accessibility improvements.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this matter.

Best,


Or this template from Broome Community College (edit bold content):

Dear VENDOR,

Thank you for checking on the VPAT availability for this product. 

In the absence of a VPAT, can you provide us with any information regarding the accessibility of the product? For example, what are known supports for accessibility criteria? What are known accessibility gaps of the product and how are those addressed? Do you have clients who require accessibility? If so, can you provide a reference for someone who can speak with us about the accessibility of your product? What experiences does your team have coding for accessibilities? What standards are used (e.g., WCAGs)? Do you do testing with users with disabilities? Does your company have a roadmap for accessibility going forward? Have you tested mobile apps with accessibility in mind? Would your company indemnify the college against legal action related to accessibility? 

Is there a plan to create a VPAT for this product? We currently request and review VPATs at purchase and renewal. For purchases to move forward, a VPAT will be requested at the next purchase/renewal period.

Thank you for your assistance.