The number of students with disabilities attending postsecondary education continues to increase with each passing year. Faculty and staff need to be well-informed about the roles, rights and responsibilities postsecondary institutions have towards supporting students with disabilities. These roles, rights and responsibilities are supported by several federal laws which can assist students with disabilities the full opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a postsecondary educational experience.
From the Office of Civil Rights:
“OCR enforces Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title II), which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Every school district and nearly every institution of postsecondary education in the United States is subject to Section 504 or Title II. Entities covered by these civil rights laws have an obligation to comply with legal requirements and to carry out their programs and activities in a manner that does not discriminate on the basis of disability.
Institutions of postsecondary education must provide an appropriate academic adjustment based on students’ disabilities and individual needs when necessary to avoid discrimination. In providing an academic adjustment, a postsecondary institution does not have to eliminate or lower essential requirements, or make modifications that would result in a fundamental alteration of the programs or activities being offered or impose an undue burden on the institution.”
While it is the instructor’s responsibility to ensure that the learning environment is accessible, students must request accommodations, when needed. Instructors will find it useful to include a statement on their syllabus which directs students with disabilities about the steps they need to take to receive classroom accommodations.
In certain situations, reasonable accommodations may require modification of standard classroom approaches. The following are examples of accommodations that may be necessary to ensure equal access to education:
Confidentiality in the accommodation process must be maintained by all parties. Letters of accommodation should be filed in a safe place, and faculty should refrain from discussing students’ disabilities and necessary accommodations in the hearing of fellow students or others who do not have an “educational need to know.”
Disability Services staff are always available to serve as a resource for faculty seeking assistance in providing accommodations to student and welcome your questions.
Faculty members have the right to:
Faculty members do not have the right to:
Faculty members have the responsibility to: