National Federation of the Blind, et al v. Arizona Board of Regents, et al
RESPONSE in Opposition re 29 MOTION to Dismiss Case (Plaintiff Shandrow) for Lack of Standing filed by American Council of the Blind, National Federation of the Blind, Darrell Shandrow. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Darrell Shandrow, # 2 Declaration of Amy F. Robertson)(Robertson, Amy)
BONNETT, FAIRBOURN, FRIEDMAN
& BALINT, P.C.
Andrew S. Friedman (AZ Bar. 005425)
Guy A. Hansen (AZ Bar. 013549)
2901 North Central Avenue, Suite 1000
Phoenix, Arizona 85012
BROWN, GOLDSTEIN & LEVY, LLP
Daniel F. Goldstein
120 E. Baltimore St., Suite 1700
Baltimore, MD 21202
Counsel for Plaintiffs
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
for the District of Arizona
The NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE
BLIND, The AMERICAN COUNCIL OF
THE BLIND, and DARRELL
ARIZONA BOARD OF REGENTS and
ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY,
Case No. 2:09-cv-01359-GMS
DECLARATION OF DARRELL
SHANDROW IN SUPPORT OF
PLAINTIFFS’ BRIEF IN
OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS’
MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF
DARRELL SHANDROW FOR
LACK OF STANDING
I, Darrell Shandrow, do hereby declare that:
I have personal knowledge of the facts set forth in this Declaration, and
if called upon to testify, I could competently testify to the truth of these matters.
I am a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass
Communication at Arizona State University (“ASU”). I have junior standing and am
beginning classes this week.
I attended ASU for approximately two years, from January of 1992 to
May 1994. In June of 1994, I moved to Colorado, and for a year, I was a student at
the Colorado Center for the Blind. After graduating, I held a variety of technologyrelated jobs. I returned to Arizona in May of 1998, and continued working. I started
back at ASU in the fall of 2008.
I am blind.
Since returning to ASU in 2008, in order to access the textbooks I need
to read for my classes, I generally have used the Disability Resource Center (“DRC”).
When the DRC is unable to assist me, I can sometimes utilize www.bookshare.org, a
website that provides scanned books to people with print disabilities. However,
Bookshare rarely has the books I need, particularly when these books are textbooks.
As a last resort, I will obtain a recording of my book from Recording for the Blind
and Dyslexic (“RFB&D”). I prefer not to use RFB&D’s recordings because I find
them to be far inferior to reading a book. The recordings are made by volunteers, who
sometimes lack any understanding of the subject matter at hand, and the clarity
depends on the speed, accent, and speaking style of the reader. One of my Spanish
books was read far too quickly, for example, which made it difficult for me to follow
and comprehend. Additionally, the recordings are not searchable, they do not provide
the spelling or punctuation of the text, and I am dependent on the reader’s description
of charts and graphs. Furthermore, they can sometimes take several weeks for me to
Both Bookshare and RFB&D require that I submit to a registration
process to prove that I am disabled, an extra step I would not have to take to
download e-books if the Kindle were accessible.
To obtain accessible books, I purchase the books at full price and then
provide the invoices for the books to the DRC, which then attempts to provide an
accessible version to me. They are often able to get an electronic file from the book’s
publisher; if such a file is not available, they scan the book for me. In either case,
these versions can be very difficult for me to use – for example, the files lack
pagination, marked headings or other structural data, so I don’t know if I am reading
the assigned pages. This can also make studying and following along in class
challenging, especially if I am asked to pay attention to a particular quote or a
footnote by my professor. It can also make quoting particular passages from books
for papers difficult. I generally need to ask a sighted student for assistance. Such
assistance is not always available to me, impacts my colleagues’ views of my
independence, and raises issues of possible conflict of interest. As a result, I have
been forced on more than one occasion to guess at the page number of the quote I am
attempting to cite by looking at the table of contents, or to simply cite an entire
chapter, rather than citing to a particular page. I feel that this can weaken the strength
and clarity of my papers.
On one occasion, the file of a book provided to me by the DRC – The
Dynamics of Mass Communication: Media in the Digital Age, by Joseph R. Dominick
– was so riddled with errors that I had to return it to them. I had to obtain a recording
of the book from the RFBD, and use supplementary materials, to try and make up for
not having an actual version of the book.
The DRC has advised that I need to provide my textbooks to them for
conversion as early as possible. However, it can sometimes be difficult for me to
obtain the complete coursebook lists in time for them to convert the books for me.
For instance, when I took JMC201, “News, Writing and Reporting,” my professor
changed one of our books between my registration for the class and the beginning of
class. Unlike my sighted peers, I couldn’t just go out and buy a copy of the new
book, and it was too late to get the book converted by the DRC. Indeed, I was not
able to get an accessible version of the book at all. Instead, I had to use an older,
audio-recorded edition from RFB&D, and had to use alternative resources to
supplement the older edition.
Additionally, the DRC will not attempt to look for accessible versions
of books from publishers until I have provided them with receipts to prove I
purchased them, which can occasionally lead to delays.
The significant amount of time needed by the DRC to prepare accessible
books also means that I also have significantly less flexibility in my schedule. I have
to register for classes early and cannot change my schedule during add/drop periods.
I have been aware of ASU’s participation in the Kindle pilot program
since approximately the beginning of May 2009. I first found out about the program
through a blog post written by ASU’s IT department. I find it to be both offensive
and degrading that my university would participate in such a program, when it has
been advised that the technology it is adopting is not accessible to blind people. It
makes me feel unwelcome -- like a second-class citizen -- in the ASU community. I
also find it insulting that my tuition dollars are supporting a program that is
attempting to test the usefulness of this technology, while excluding feedback from
and discriminating against blind students like me.
If, as seems likely, the Kindle is adopted more widely at ASU, this will
continue to discriminate against me, exclude me from this unnecessarily inaccessible
technology, and put me at a significant competitive disadvantage with my sighted
I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed on August 26, 2009, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?