Can A College Instructor Object to the Use of CART?

Sometimes postsecondary instructors may not be familiar with Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act or ADA requirements regarding the use of an auxiliary or personal aid in their classrooms. The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights notes that often questions arise when a student uses an electronic recorder. However, instructors may also complain about the provision of CART, which could lead to the production of an instant rough-draft version of the lecture. College professors may believe that recording or producing an instant copy of the lecture infringes upon their own or other students’ academic freedom, or it constitutes copyright violation.

Nevertheless, the instructor may not forbid a student’s use of an aid if that prohibition limits the student’s participation in the school program. The Section 504 regulation states: “A recipient may not impose upon handicapped students other rules, such as the prohibition of tape recorders in classrooms or of dog guides in campus buildings, that have the effect of limiting the participation of handicapped students in the recipient’s education program or activity.”

In order to allow a student to use CART and, at the same time, protect the instructor, the institution may require the student and the CART captioner to sign an agreement so as not to infringe on a potential copyright or to limit freedom of speech.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has more information about the responsibilities of postsecondary schools to students with disabilities.