To ensure Binghamton University complies with the accessible electronic information technology policies, it is essential that departments discuss our accessibility policy with vendors in the beginning stages of the procurement process. Accessibility must be a top priority when researching vendors.
Per the Binghamton University policy, all 3rd party electronic information technology (EIT) including hardware, software and related information technology used by members of the university community to access university programs, services, or activities must be accessible. This includes items obtained through the procurement process, items purchased on PCards, and open source software and services.
The following steps need to be taken when procuring any EIT software, hardware or any related technology.
- Discuss accessibility requirements with potential vendors and provide specific requirements
- Verify vendor information
- Include appropriate language and assurances in purchase orders and contracts.
Binghamton University has mandated a https://www.section508.gov/sell/vpat/, or VPAT for all qualifying EIT procurements. A VPAT is a standard form used by federal agencies to ensure that procured information technology meets accessibility requirements. It is important to understand that receiving a VPAT from a vendor does not guarantee that products will be accessible. It is important also to verify the accessibility of hardware and software through consultation and testing.
Another secondary verification may be required in certain situations. Vendor’s can provide an independent third-party evaluation from a reputable accessibility consultant.
Verify Vendor Information
Binghamton University will run all procurements through the proper channels to ensure vendor information is accurate and suitable for our needs.
Vendors may be required to provide certain written assurances to ensure their product will remain accessible even with updates. We understand that at times the best option for campus might pose an accessibility issue. If the vendor’s product in not accessible, they will be required to provide a roadmap for how improvements will be made to enhance accessibility.
The University recognizes that in certain circumstances, full conformance with accessibility standards may not be feasible, due to the nature of the EIT, lack of accessible solutions available, or an unrealistic administrative or financial cost to make the resource accessible. Binghamton University has implemented an exception process for qualifying EIT procurements. Please contact the purchasing department to discuss this further.