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UC-Berkeley Axing Free Online Lectures Over Disabilities Act Complaint

Image: UC-Berkeley Axing Free Online Lectures Over Disabilities Act Complaint
Erin Moran, a graduate student at Gallaudet University, signs in front of the field house. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

By    |   Tuesday, 07 Mar 2017 05:17 PM

Beware the Ides of March if you want to view any of the free online video and audio content provided by The University of California-Berkeley.

According to Inside Higher Ed, the school will be removing 20,000 video and audio lectures and podcasts from access to the general public beginning March 15.

The reason stems from a complaint by two professors at Gallaudet University that the online lectures do not comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 because they do not include captioning for the for deaf or audio descriptions for the blind.

Gallaudet is a school for the deaf and hard of hearing in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Justice Department ordered UC-Berkeley to make the content available to people with disabilities, but the school determined the cost would be too high. Instead, it opted to remove the videos from public view.

They will continue to be available to anyone with UC-Berkeley credentials since the Justice Department ruling involved only publicly available content, and not content available to students and faculty.

The school said it will continue to create new content that adheres to the ADA requirements.

Cathy Koshland, vice chancellor for undergraduate education, said in a statement posted online March 1 that the move also "allows us to better protect instructor intellectual property from 'pirates' who have reused content for personal profit without consent."

"I can't imagine the authors of the ADA intended to destroy a valuable public resource because it wasn't perfectly accessible to all, but here we are," wrote Robby Soave at the libertarian Reason.org's "Hit & Run Blog." "Taking the quality out of equality: that's clumsy federal regulation for you."

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Beware the Ides of March if you want to view any of the free online video and audio content provided by The University of California-Berkeley.
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2017-17-07
Tuesday, 07 Mar 2017 05:17 PM
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