Integrated CSU Administrative Manual



Section 5000 Policies

Policy Number:  5228.0

Policy Title: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Policy Effective Date:  October 05, 2007

Last Revision Date:  
(see revision history)


To establish system wide contracting and procurement policy as required by Education Code 89036.


Any public solicitation process developed by campuses shall be compliant with all applicable regulations and guidelines issued pursuant to the ADA so as not to deny persons with disabilities the opportunity to participate in the competition for the contract award.

Acquisition of Electronic and Information Technology (E&IT) products and services greater than $50,000.

Each campus shall acquire products that comply with applicable Section 508 provisions when such products are available in the commercial marketplace. Unless a product qualifies for one of the exemptions listed below, the product that best meets the standards and at the same time complies with other applicable procurement policies and regulations must be procured. If a campus determines that compliance with any provision of Section 508 is unfeasible, then such exception shall be fully documented and approved by the campus president or designee.


100  Exemptions

A. Net Cost Increase

The CSU has a specific exemption base in California's Government Code Section 11135(c)(2). This Government Code section states: "... In clarifying that the California State University is subject to paragraph (2) of subdivision (d), it is not the intention of the Legislature to increase the cost of developing or procuring electronic and information technology. The California State University shall, however, in determining the cost of developing or procuring electronic or information technology, consider whether technology that meets the standards applicable pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) will reduce the long-term cost incurred by the California State University in providing access or accommodations to future users of this technology who are persons with disabilities, as required by existing law, including this section, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 and following), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794). "

This section of the Gov. Code exempts the CSU from Section 508 requirements if it can be determined that in the procurement of accessible E&IT product will increase the cost to the CSU. 

B. Commercially Non-Available

At the time of procurement, there are instances when a product that meets all the functional specifications does not have features to meet all the appropriate 508 standards. In certain situations, at the time of procurement, the features to meet those standards are considered commercially non-available and are exempt. The rationale is that while the features are not commercially available at the time of procurement, there is the strongly likelihood that at some future date, the items might be commercially available.

This exemption only applies during the evaluation of a vendor’s product. In some cases, the vendor’s product complies with some, but not all the standards.  If that vendor has the most compliant product, then the standards that the vendor cannot comply with are considered commercially non-available.

C. Sole Brand

A sole brand is when only one product meets the functional specification required. A sole brand product should first be reviewed and approved in accordance with campus policy and procedure for sole brand requests. An approved sole brand product is exempt from Section 508 requirements.

D. Back Office

This pertains to a group of products that reside in either a telecommunication closet or data center.  These are products that do not interact with people except when maintenance is required.  An example is a server in a data center.  If the server simply operates without human interaction, then the server qualifies as a back office exemption.  If there is software running on the server that does have human interaction (e.g., Oracle), then the software is not exempt. 

E. Fundamental Alteration

The CSU is not required to make changes in the fundamental characteristics of a product to comply with Section 508 accessibility standards. This does not apply cosmetic or aesthetic changes. Adding accessibility features would not generally be considered a fundamental alteration if it did not have any significant effect on the standard mode of operation or its size or weight.  As a general rule, fundamental alteration normally applies to hand-held devices.  Technology in this area is rapidly evolving and an exemption granted for one procurement should not be automatically extended to future procurements. 

F. Undue Burden

Undue burden means significant difficulty or expense. When determining if a product qualifies for an undue burden, the campus must consider the resources available to the program or component for which the product is being developed, procured, maintained, or used.    Considerations should include the functionality needed from the product and the technical difficulty involved in making the product accessible.  In addition, other considerations include compatibility with the campus or CSU infrastructure, including security, and the difficulty of integrating the product.  Campuses undue burdens requests require the approval of the campus president. [For the CO use: Office of the Chancellor undue burden requests require the approval of the Executive Vice Chancellor.]

G. Other Exemptions

In addition to the exemptions above, Section 508 provides for other types of exemptions.  These other exemptions should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and approval shall be in accordance with campus policies and procedures.


200  Contract Provision Requirement

All contracts must contain a condition stating that the contractor, by signing the contract, assures the University that it complies with American with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as all applicable regulations and guidelines issued pursuant to the ADA.







Useful Guidelines:


Related Principles:


Sound Business Practices:


Laws, State Codes, Regulations and Mandates:

Reference: Government Code 11135, CSU Executive Order 926, CSU Coded Memo AA-2007-04, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 and following), Sections 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 508)


CO Manager:

Tom Roberts
Director, Contract Services & Procurement
CSU Office of the Chancellor

Subject Expert:

Tom Roberts
Director, Contract Services & Procurement
CSU Office of the Chancellor

Affinity Group:

Procurement and Support Services Officers