Information for Faculty and Staff
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a person with a disability is defined as any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.
Students who self-identify and provide sufficient documentation of a qualifying disability are entitled to receive reasonable accommodations, such as modifications of programs, academic adjustments, or auxiliary aides as a means to participate in programs and activities (see Procedure for Providing Academic Accommodations and Procedure for Receiving Academic Accommodations).
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA's protection applies primarily, but not exclusively, to "disabled" individuals. An individual is "disabled" if he or she meets at least any one of the following tests:
- He or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of his/her major life activities
- He or she has a record of such impairment
- He or she is regarded as having such impairment.
Other individuals who are protected in certain circumstances include 1) those, such as parents, who have an association with an individual known to have a disability, and 2) those who are coerced or subjected to retaliation for assisting people with disabilities in asserting their rights under the ADA.
College students with disabilities are covered in Title II of the ADA. Students often experience a transition from the provisions of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that guided their services in high school and the federal guidelines of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and ADA that are relevant in higher education.
Section 504 is a program access statute. It provides that “no otherwise qualified individual with disabilities ….shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination …” Subpart E of section 504 deals specifically with this mandate for institution of higher education.
- Institutions must make modifications to academic requirements as necessary to ensure that such requirements do not discriminate against students with disabilities or have the effect of excluding students solely on the basis of disability.
- An institution may not impose rules or restrictions that have the effect of limiting participation of students with disabilities in educational programs or activities.
- Evaluation of student performance, including course examinations and other measures of student achievement, must be provided with appropriate accommodations. These accommodations ensure that the evaluation represents the student’s achievement in the course, rather than reflecting the impact of the student’s disability.
- The institution is responsible for seeing that students with disabilities are not denied access, benefits, or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity because of the absence of auxiliary aids or services.
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act
“…Subject to the provisions of this title, no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by such entity.”
Faculty Rights and Responsibilities
Faculty have the right to:
- Request verification of student's eligibility for any requested accommodations.
- Expect the student to initiate accommodation requests. The student is advised to present an accommodation letter from Student Wellness & Counseling Center to you during the first two weeks of the semester.
- Expect the student and the Office of Academic Services to work with you to coordinate the provision of the appropriate accommodations.
Faculty are responsible for:
- Implementing a student's accommodations as outlined in the letter from the Office of Academic Services.
- Contacting the Office of Academic Services if the accommodations require clarification, or if the professor has any concerns about the student's progress.
- Maintaining a student's confidentiality.
- Not asking students about the nature of the disability and if the students choose to do share information, treat that information confidentially.