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Students with Disabilities

Policy Overview

Stevenson University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for qualified students with documented disabilities to ensure that its programs, activities, and services are accessible in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992 (the ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Accordingly, Stevenson offers services to students with documented disabilities to the extent that it is reasonably able to do so without enduring an undue hardship on the operation of the University’s programs. This policy applies to every aspect of the University’s operations, including but not limited to admissions, academic requirements, financial aid, housing, or any other University-administered program or service.

It is the responsibility of students with disabilities to identify themselves (self-identify) to the Director, Disability Services in the Office of Student Success (OSS), and to submit relevant documentation including assessment of their needs. No accommodations will be made that fundamentally alter the content, nature, or requirements of a course. Given the complexities of disabilities, reasonable accommodations are determined on an individual basis.

Definitions

  1. Disability is a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities.
  2. Qualified student is a person who, with or without reasonable accommodations, meets the academic and technical standards for admission to or participation in an educational program, activity, or service.
  3. An otherwise qualified student with a disability is defined as any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such impairment as defined by law and who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission and participation in the University’s educational programs and activities.
  4. An accommodation is any reasonable modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, activity, or facility required for a student, by virtue of the specific functional limitations of a disability, to have equal access to Stevenson’s programs and activities, inside or outside the classroom. An accommodation does not fundamentally alter curricular requirements, the essential learning goals and outcomes of a course, and/or the nature of a service or program. In the case of academic classes, the accommodation cannot be so significant that it alters or substantially modifies the essential nature or standards of the course as determined by Stevenson University.

Policies and Procedures

  1. Verification of Disability. The student has an obligation to self-identify and to provide appropriate, relevant, and verifiable documentation in a timely fashion to the Director, Disability Services. The documentation required by the University may vary according to the type of disability. Documentation guidelines and requirements for specific diagnoses are available from the Director, Disability Services. The Director, Disability Services reserves the right to determine eligibility for services based on the submitted documentation. Further, the University reserves the right to request additional documentation in order to consider any accommodation request. All documentation is kept strictly confidential, as required by law. Complete documentation must include all aspects of the following:
     
    1. The credentials of the evaluator(s).
    2. A diagnostic statement identifying the disability.
    3. A description of the diagnostic methodology used.
    4. A description of the current functional limitations.
    5. A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability.
    6. A description of current and past accommodations, services, and/or medications.
    7. Recommendations for accommodations based on current functional limitations.
       
  2. Exclusions. Under Section 504, personal attendants, individually prescribed devices such as wheelchairs, readers for personal use or study, or other devices or services of a personal nature are excluded as mandated academic adjustments. Personal needs that necessitate an attendant are the responsibility of the student. Requesting such services from untrained individuals can pose a safety threat to both the student with a disability and the individual providing the assistance. The student is wholly responsible for the person(s) the student retains to provide such services. The University shall not participate in the selection or retention of such individual or assume the liability of any risk involved.
  3. Requesting Accommodations. The Office of Disability Services (ODS) will make every effort to assist students in implementing approved accommodations in a timely matter. ODS asks that students contact ODS as soon as possible so that they may begin the application process. The student must meet with staff from ODS in order to request and implement services.

In order to receive accommodations in the classroom, in campus-leased housing, or elsewhere on campus, students must follow the procedures outlined below.

  1. The student must self-identify to the Office of Disability Services. Parents and faculty members may not initiate disability support. In the college setting, the student determines whether or not to disclose a disability, request accommodations, and utilize services from the Office of Disability Services.
  2. Students requesting accommodations are required to complete an online application form. Students must also submit appropriate documentation with their application. Students should review Stevenson University’s documentation guidelines and provide a copy to their provider as necessary.
  3. The Director, Disability Services will normally conduct an initial review of the documentation within two (2) weeks after a student has submitted a complete application. The University reserves the right to request additional documentation if documentation is not current or comprehensive. Documentation must focus on a student’s current level of functioning and include recommendations corresponding to college-level curriculum. In some cases, the University may require an updated evaluation (the student will be responsible for the cost) in order to assess a student’s current functional limitations.
  4. Once documentation has been reviewed, the student will be required to meet with Disability Services staff for an intake appointment. At this meeting, any approved accommodations and their implementation will be discussed. Reasonable accommodations are implemented to provide students with equal access; they do not necessarily ensure success.
  5. Students should be aware that accommodations will not be implemented retroactively and they do not extend beyond the end date of a given semester.

Student Responsibilities

  1. Students must self-identify and disclose disability related information to the Office of Disability Services.
  2. Students must renew requests for accommodation memos to be sent to their faculty members each semester. The Office of Disability Services will contact students via email prior to the start of each semester to remind them to complete this step.
  3. Students whose accommodations may require renewal of documentation must submit documentation in a timely manner so that accommodations may be implemented appropriately.
  4. Students will initiate requests for disability support in a timely manner. Current students should submit all requests within the first three weeks of an academic semester. Requests submitted after the third week or without sufficient documentation may result in a delayed action.
  5. Students must notify the Director, Disability Services immediately if the student believes the approved accommodations are not being properly implemented.
  6. Requests for housing related accommodations should generally be made within the time limits established by Residence Life. Current students are strongly encouraged to submit all housing related accommodations no later than mid-February for the following academic year. New freshmen or transfer students should request disability accommodations prior to matriculation; students are advised to submit requests no later than July 1 to ensure that the review process is completed prior to their arrival. Requests submitted late may result in a delayed action.

Complaint and Grievances

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Stevenson University policies and procedures prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Students who believe they have been discriminated against because of their disability, or who have a complaint regarding disability accommodations or services, should email the Director, Disability Services. The Director will meet with the concerned individual as soon as practical in an attempt to resolve the complaint. If the complaint is not resolved at this level, or if the complaint includes the Director of ODS, the student may file an appeal through the Student Complaint Process.

Appeals Procedure

Stevenson is committed to ensuring that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination due to their disability. Any Stevenson student who believes that they have been discriminated against on the basis of disability or who has been denied access or accommodations required by law, or who is dissatisfied with the outcome of an evaluation or accommodation provided may file an appeal through the Student Complaint Process.

(Approved April 2019)

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