In accordance with California Government Code 11135, the California State University (CSU) requires all electronic and information technology (E&IT) products and services acquired by campuses, including Cal Poly, to be reviewed for compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and related standards.
To determine a product’s compliance, vendors are required to provide a completed Voluntary Product Evaluation Template (VPAT). If a VPAT doesn't already exist, vendors can use CSU's VPAT form and accompanying guide.
Vendors should consult the guide to help determine which VPAT sections must be completed for their particular E&IT product or service. NOTE: The Summary Table, Sections 1194.31 and 1194.41 must be completed for all E&IT products and services. Completion of both Sections 1194.21 and 1194.22 is required for Web-based applications.
As a starting point, this Quick Reference Guide explains each technical provision of the Section 508 Standards in terms of "What does this requirement mean?", "How can I tell if this requirement is met?", and "Where can I get additional information?".
Links to other resources are listed below, including a sample good VPAT (Word) and links to VPATs and compliance documentation published online by major vendors of E&IT products and services.
The VPAT must be completed and signed by a company representative with sufficient technical knowledge of the E&IT product or service being acquired. Typically, this will be someone involved in product development. Whenever possible, the VPAT should be completed by the manufacturer(s).
Completed VPATs are to be emailed to email@example.com for review and approval by Cal Poly’s E&IT Campus Compliance Officer. Vendors will be contacted if there are questions or concerns or additional information is required.
If an exception is granted because a product is not fully compliant, vendors may be asked to provide an accessibility statement (Word), accessibility roadmap (Word) or similar commitment for improving accessibility.
Web Development Contracts
Vendors developing websites on behalf of Cal Poly must complete a manual review worksheet to document a site’s compliance with campus accessibility and identity requirements. Please refer to Cal Poly’s Web Authoring Resource Center and Compliance Process Guide for details.
Testing and Evaluation
Cal Poly reserves the right to perform testing on a product or solution in order to validate vendor claims about Section 508 compliance. To facilitate such testing, vendors may be asked to provide a test version or to conduct a product demonstration. Vendors will be notified if additional testing is required.
Problem Resolution and Future Review
California law requires vendors to respond to and resolve any complaint regarding accessibility of their E&IT products or services. All vendors must provide the contact information for a person who will address questions and issues regarding the accessibility of their product and services in the future.
Updated VPATs or other documentation may be requested in the future, especially if an exception has been granted or when a product is being renewed or upgraded and has undergone significant changes.
- Sample Good VPAT (Word) as developed by CSU Sacramento
Software and Web-Based Applications and Services
Hardware, Telecommunications, Multimedia and Self-Contained/Closed Products