Frequently Asked Questions


What is the ATI Initiative?

  • The California State University (CSU) system’s Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) was launched to ensure that information and communication technology is accessible to all. The ATI, a coded memorandum from the CSU Office of the Chancellor, focuses on three areas:
    • Instructional materials, including books, lab manuals, handouts and other documents, multimedia, and courses.
    • Procurement, including purchases of information and communication technology and other software for websites, computers, hardware, and multimedia.
    • Websites, including webpages managed by each of the system’s 23 campuses.
  • Since 2006, the CSU’s Accessible Technology Initiative has supported the annual self- assessment of the campus’ capabilities for accessibility in the three areas detailed above.

What is CAARP?

  • CAARP is the CSU Addressing Accessibility Requirements Project. SDSU, like other California State University system schools, has developed a comprehensive CAARP Plan to improve accessibility.

What are SDSU's goals with CAARP?

  • SDSU, through its values of diversity and inclusion, is committed to prioritizing efforts that improve accessibility for all. Through CAARP, the university’s goal is to improve its Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI ) efforts.
  • SDSU’s goals include improving campus wide visibility and understanding of accessibility issues. The university community also committs to improvements to instructional materials, the procurement process and web. The university and CSU goals are aligned with universal design practices.

How are other California State University system campuses involved with the Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) and the CSU Addressing Accessibility Requirements Project (CAARP)?

  • In 2018, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights increased the number of notifications of accessibility investigations by 181%.
  • With more than 12,000 students with disabilities registered at its campuses, the CSU launched a project encouraging each of its campuses to review their accessibility readiness and make appropriate investments to improve accessibility for students, faculty, staff and general community members. Notably, on Feb. 19, 2019, Executive Vice Chancellor Loren Blanchard sent a memo to all CSU presidents outlining several critical steps required as part of an accelerated ATI campus plan.
  • The ATI campus plans were due to Chancellor Tim White by Sept. 6, 2019 and will be implemented in the years ahead. The request was made based on requirements defined in federal law and the CSU’s Executive Order 1111, a policy reinforcing support and accommodations for people with disabilities.

Law and Policy

What is CSU’s Executive Order 1111?

  • The order is a CSU policy specific to offering support and accommodations to people with disabilities. It states: "The California State University (CSU) is committed to providing a diverse and supportive academic and work environment that facilitates learning, teaching, working and conducting research for all students, employees and visitors. It is CSU policy to ensure that individuals with disabilities shall have equal access to and the opportunity to participate in CSU programs, activities and services."

What is California Code 11135?

  • California Government Code 11135 requires all state agencies (including the CSU) to implement Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (see below) and to apply the federal accessibility standards to information and communication technology (ICT) products and services the university opts to purchase, create, use and maintain.

What other laws and policies pertain to accessibility?

  • A number of other laws and policies exist to ensure university design and accessibility to all. Laws include Title II of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all services, programs, and activities provided to the public by State and local governments.
  • Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal law that provides technical standards and guidelines for information and communication technology developed, maintained or procured to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to and use of information and data as for those without disabilities.
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was enacted to ensure that people with disabilities receive the equal opportunities and access, and may not be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Information and Support

I am a faculty member who uses learning management systems such as Blackboard or Canvas. Are my online course materials automatically accessible?

  • Not necessarily. While systems such as Blackboard and Canvas are generally accessible, certain documents contained within the system may not be accessible. For example, if you are loading PDFs into the system, you must ensure that the document is accessible prior to uploading. Also, if you are utilizing streaming videos in the system, you must ensure that the videos are accessible in the online environment, such as ensuring that synchronized captions are available. Instructional Technology Services (ITS) provides more information via its Instructional Material Accessibility webpage.

What is universal design?

  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a research-based educational framework that guides the development of flexible learning environments. Such environments are designed to accommodate individuals of varied learning differences. Universal design requires the creation of curriculum that acknowledges, respects and responds to multiple means of expression, of engagement and of ways of acquiring knowledge.
  • SDSU’s Student Ability Success Center (SASC) provides more information via its Universal Design webpage.

Where can students go for support?

  • SDSU’s Student Ability Success Center (SASC) provides appropriate academic accommodations for students with disabilities. The center’s goal is to minimize barriers and ensure equal access for eligible students with disabilities to higher education through academic support services, technology and advocacy to promote student retention and graduation.
  • Services and accommodations are available to students with documented disabilities, including but not limited to students who have visual limitations, communication limitations, learning disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, attentional disabilities, mobility and other functional limitations, as well as those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • At SDSU, students initiate contact with Student Ability Success Center by providing appropriate documentation to determine eligibility. Services and accommodations may include note-taking, accommodated testing, sign language interpreters, real-time captioning and textbooks in accessible formats. Qualified students may also have access to an assistive technology lab, and to a grant-funded project that provides enhanced academic and personal growth support. Internship and pre-employment services are available through Workability IV program for students who are Department of Rehabilitation clients. Students with temporary disabilities may request note-taking, assistance with test taking, and cart service. The program currently serves over 1,600 students, which includes undergraduate and graduate students.
  • SASC staff members are located at the Calpulli Center, in Suite 3101, and are available by calling 619-594-6473 or emailing [email protected].

Where can faculty or staff member go for support or help with accommodations and compliance.

  • The Office of Employee Relations and Compliance advises and guides SDSU’s community on policy and practice related to employee relations and compliance issues and ensures that an equal and diverse campus community is available to all qualified individuals on a non-discriminatory and non-harassment basis.
  • The office also provides information about the Guidelines for the Assistive Device / Auxiliary Aid for Employees with Disabilities Program. The program is designed to supplement department resources to purchase assistive devices or adaptive equipment to facilitate the performance of job-related activities for SDSU employees who have disabilities. The funds are available for requests made by permanent existing employees.
  • The Office of Employee Relations and Compliance is available by calling 619-594-6464 or emailing [email protected].

Where can faculty member working on instructional materials go for support?

  • SDSU’s Student Ability Success Center (SASC) provides information and resources for faculty and staff, including instructional tools, information on how to provide accommodations, syllabus statements and information about universal design. Information is available via the center’s Faculty and Staff Resources webpage.