At around 4:00 Thursday afternoon, I was contacted by Melissa Blasius with Channel 12 News in Phoenix and asked if I could be available at 5:30 to be interviewed for a story that would run on the 10:00 newscast. I discovered I could prepare myself and make the necessary transportation arrangements for this sort of work within one hour after receiving the request.
You may now watch the video of the story on the 10:00 evening news. An article was also written based on this story, though its text is significantly different from the dialogue on the newscast. A copy of the article’s text is provided for easy accessibility.
My thanks go to Chris Skarstad (Toonhead) and CathyAnne Murtha of the Access Technology Institute for their vital assistance making it possible to bring to all of you a direct link to the video despite accessibility issues with the 12 News web site.
Lawsuit says ASU discriminates by using e-books
by Melissa Blasius – Jul. 2, 2009 11:13 PM
A journalism student has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Arizona State University.
Darrell Shandrow, a junior, wants the university to delay a pilot program for electronic textbooks and readers called Kindles. He says the devices, made by Amazon, are impossible to use by visually-impaired people.
Sandrow, who is blind, says Kindles have a text-to-audio function that can read the books out loud, but he claims on-screen menus have no audio functions. That means he could never navigate to page one. Blind students would have to continue ordering specialty texts in braille or audio formats, and those books can take months to arrive.
Shandrow said, “Asking us to continue on as we’re going is like saying to sighted students you are climbing on to jet age with your e-books, but blind students still need to use the horse and buggy.”
The National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which claims ASU’s use of Kindles would put blind students on unequal footing.
An ASU spokesman sent a response to 12 News. It said Kindles would be used “for a single course where students may also access traditional textbooks.”
In the statement, Spokesman Virgil Renzulli also said all campuses have Disability Resource Centers “providing the necessary tools so that all students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to be successful in their academic pursuits.”