- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Roughly 20,000 free educational videos provided by the University of California, Berkeley, are being taken off the internet because they do not have closed captioning.

A complaint filed with the Department of Justice by two employees of Gallaudet University in D.C. claimed the school’s “webcast.berkeley” videos were in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Federal officials sided with complainants in August before issuing an ultimatum: fix the videos or make them privately accessible to students.

Cathy Koshland, vice chancellor for undergraduate education, announced the decision at the start of the month, Inside Higher Education reported Monday.

“This move will also partially address recent findings by the Department of Justice, which suggests that the YouTube and iTunes U content meet higher accessibility standards as a condition of remaining publicly available,” Ms. Koshland said. “Finally, moving our content behind authentication allows us to better protect instructor intellectual property from ‘pirates’ who have reused content for personal profit without consent.”

Ms. Koshland said in September that updating 20,000 videos would be “extremely expensive” and unwise in an environment of “substantial budget deficits and shrinking state financial support,” the website reported.

The process of removing the free online content will begin March 15.

Stacy Nowak, one of the complainants, referred IHE to the Justice Department and the National Association of the Deaf when asked for comment.

The university said that any content it makes accessible to the public going forward will be in compliance with ADA regulations.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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