Individuals and organizations in both higher education and civic engagement have become increasingly aware of their obligation to foster a sense of belonging among students and support historically under-represented populations within their work. As part of this effort, we argue the civic engagement infrastructure—a term we use to capture the full range of organizations and associated resources directed toward improving civic engagement within higher education that stem from actors both on and off campus—must pay more attention to digital accessibility. We document this need by establishing the degree higher education institutions rely on off-campus organizations and resources in civic engagement programming as well as campus’ legal and ethical obligations to provide accessible digital content to students. To assess the current status of digital accessibility with the civic engagement infrastructure, we performed accessibility audits on the websites of eleven organizations that contribute in varied ways to voter mobilization efforts on college campuses. Our findings reveal accessibility barriers in the content and embedded into the page templates used for these sites. We close with a discussion of the responsibility content creators, content sharers, and decision makers have to meet accessibility standards; how on- and off-campus actors fit into these roles; and, provide guidance on how to move forward with this work.
Rank, Allison D. and Mushtare, Rebecca
"Accessibility as a Foundation for an Equitable Digital Civic Engagement Infrastructure,"
eJournal of Public Affairs: Vol. 10:
3, Article 4.
Available at: https://bearworks.missouristate.edu/ejopa/vol10/iss3/4