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EIT Purchasing Process

Those at Michigan State University involved in purchasing Electronic Information Technology (EIT) for the university should consider the accessibility of such products or services. Units should understand the impact that EIT purchasing and decision-making has on individuals with disabilities in and outside the university.  

In furtherance of this goal, MSU Information Technology has partnered with MSU Purchasing to take the steps below during the procurement process:

Note: A downloadable version of the EIT Purchasing Process is available, which includes a printable version of each attachment outlined below.

Include Accessibility Policy Language

Ensure that the following accessibility language is contained in vendor contracts and requests for proposals:  

EIT Accessibility.  University is committed to providing an accessible, usable, and integrated experience for all people.  Electronic and information technology (“EIT”) is information technology and any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in the creation, conversion, or duplication of data or information.  The term electronic and information technology includes, but is not limited to, telecommunications products, information kiosks and transaction machines, Internet and Intranet websites, web-delivered content, software, electronic books and electronic book reading systems, search engines and databases, multimedia, classroom technology, and office equipment.

Seller warrants that (i) Web-based EIT products provided under this Agreement conform to WCAG 2.0 AA and (ii) non-web-based EIT meets or exceeds the applicable accessibility requirements of section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. § 794d), and its implementing regulations set forth at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1194. Seller agrees to indemnify and hold harmless University from any claims arising out of its failure to comply with the foregoing accessibility standards.

Seller agrees to provide evidence of compliance with these requirements before this Agreement becomes effective and any other time upon reasonable request of the University.  In the event EIT provided under this Agreement does not fully conform to the to the standards set forth above, Seller will promptly advise University in writing of the nonconformance and provide detailed information regarding the plans to achieve conformance, including but not limited to an intended timeline.  Seller agrees to promptly respond to and resolve any complaint regarding accessibility of its products or services. Failure to comply with these accessibility standards shall constitute a breach of this Agreement.

Analysis

Where EIT is not fully accessible, an analysis will be conducted by Purchasing initially and then the Accessibility Review Committee (ARC) if necessary. The analysis will include a determination as to the level of accessibility as well as how it can be provided to all in an equally effective and integrated manner.  

Ask Vendor Questions

Some of the questions the purchaser, Purchasing Agent or ARC may ask include:

  1. Is the technology actually accessible or is there a plan to make it accessible, and if so, what is the time frame?
  2. Has the vendor supplied a name and contact information for a person in their company who handles accessibility issues? 
  3. Was the vendor responsive regarding any accessibility issues discovered by MSU?  
  4. Did the vendor supply a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)?
  5. Have the VPAT claims been verified?
  6. Has the vendor agreed or indicated willingness to agree to correct identified accessibly issues in an appropriate, mutually agreed upon, time frame?
  7. Has the vendor signed the EIT terms addendum?
  8. Has the purchaser signed the EIT Accessibility Acknowledgement Form?

Evaluation

In some cases, the ARC may determine that further accessibility testing is necessary. ARC may refer the matter to the Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting for such evaluation. The cost of this will be borne by the unit.

The determination will be made as to whether:

  1. The purchase should move forward.
  2. The purchase should move forward, but only with certain criteria in place.
  3. The purchase should not move forward.

EIT Acknowledgement

The purchaser or Purchasing Agent may be required or encouraged (depending on the specific purchase) to sign and submit the “Department EIT Accessibility Acknowledgement Form” to indicate that they understand the risks of procuring products or services that are inaccessible, either fully or partially. This document serves as a confirmation that the purchaser understands the policy, and will develop and file internally an Equally Effective Alternative Access Plan (EEAAP). This plan should:

  • Accommodate the affected population of visual-, hearing-, motor-, and learning-impaired individuals, among others;
  • Identify the individual responsible for providing the alternative;
  • Describe how the alternative access will be provided;
  • Outline any kind of arrangement and timeline with the manufacturer or developer of the product to make their product accessible. 

If you have any questions about purchasing accessible or inaccessible EIT, please contact Nate Evans, Manager, Digital Content & Accessibility, ne@msu.edu, (517)884.0682.