107.4 Students with Disabilities

Created by: Stephanie Ferguson on 10/11/2000
Category: 1 - Academic Affairs; 00 - General
 
Originator: President
Current File: 107.4
Adoption Date: 11/19/2012
Reviewed for Currency: 01/03/2012
 
Replaces File: 107.4
Date of Origin: 02/10/1982
 
Classification: Faculty
 
In Archive? 0

107.4 Students with Disabilities

 

A. Background

Furman University desires to make its programs and facilities accessible to all students, employees, spectators, participants, and visitors. To aid in ensuring accessibility and compliance with the law, a task force on students with disabilities was established in 1998 to review and update the existing policy on accessibility and to make recommendations for implementation guidelines.

 

B. Policy

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2009 (ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Furman University will not discriminate against any person on the basis of a disability. Furthermore Furman University is committed to providing equal access to university programs and facilities to all otherwise qualified students regardless of disability. The guidelines relating to employees and applicants are found in File 832.1.

In providing equal access for students, the University will not discriminate in admissions on the basis of disability. The university will provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations to enrolled students with disabilities to ensure equal access to the academic program and to university-administered activities.

 

C. Guidelines

1. The legal definition of a person with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment.

Physical or mental impairments may include, but are not limited to, mobility/orthopedic impairments, visual impairments, hearing impairments, speech impairments, specific learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, psychological disabilities, neurological impairments, traumatic brain injury, or chronic medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, or AIDS.

Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.

2. If a student with a disability desires an accommodation, it is the student's responsibility to identify himself or herself as having a disability and to make a formal request for appropriate accommodations.

To do this, the student contacts the University's Disability Services office and requests accommodations based on a disability by completing the Initial Contact Form. Supporting documentation should be provided. Such documentation identifies the disability and the functional limitations associated with the disability, and provides a rationale for requested accommodations. The Initial Contact Form and guidelines for documentation are available on the department's web page (www.furman.edu/disability). Accommodation requests must be submitted by the student in a timely manner. Suggested timeframes are available from the Disability Services Coordinator.

3. The Disability Services office will schedule an appointment for the student with the Disability Services Coordinator to discuss the disability and possible accommodations. To ensure a thorough review of documentation, designated professionals with expertise relevant to the documentation will be consulted to provide additional input into the process of determining the most appropriate accommodations. Decisions about proposed accommodations involve a collaborative process that includes the student and the Disability Services Coordinator, who also consults with relevant professionals and with faculty and staff who oversee the program in which accommodations might be indicated.

a. Adjustment to a Requirement Within a Course

When the Disability Services Coordinator determines the accommodations that will be authorized by the Disability Services office, Disability Services staff will provide a Notice of Academic Accommodation letter to the student which the student will deliver to his/ or her professors. Once the student has obtained the letter, Disability Services notifies the professor(s) by email of the proposed accommodation. Should a concern arise regarding the appropriateness of any accommodations provided for the student, faculty and staff should contact the Disability Services Coordinator instead of discussing concerns with the student. Accommodations become active after the student discusses the letter with the professor, both parties sign it, and a signed copy of the letter is returned to Disability Services. If the proposed accommodation involves an adjustment to a requirement within a course, the professor(s) of the course will notify the Disability Services Coordinator if the proposed accommodation would substantially alter an essential element of the course. If a proposed accommodation is considered by the professor(s) teaching the course to be a substantial alteration of an essential element of the course, appropriate professionals and faculty members will confer in order to clarify what accommodations might be offered that are considered reasonable and appropriate. A student who requests an accommodation that is denied because it would substantially alter an essential element of the course may appeal that decision in writing to the Faculty Appeals Committee. (See File 190.3.) The student may appeal the decision of the Appeals Committee to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Dean by following the grievance process as outlined in Guideline 6.

b. Adjustment to a Requirement Within a Major

If the proposed accommodation involves an adjustment to a requirement within a student's major, the chair(s) of the major department(s) will indicate whether the proposed accommodation would substantially alter an essential element of the curriculum. If the proposed accommodation does not substantially alter an essential element of the curriculum, the Disability Services Coordinator will notify the student that the accommodation may be activated by submitting a notification letter to the chairs and working with them to finalize the arrangements for implementation. If a proposed accommodation is considered by the department chairs to be a substantial alteration of an essential element of the curriculum, appropriate professionals, faculty members, and department chairs, will confer in order to clarify what accommodations might be offered that are considered reasonable and appropriate. A student who requests an accommodation that is denied because it would substantially alter an essential element of the curriculum may appeal that decision in writing to the Faculty Appeals Committee. The student may appeal the decision of the Appeals Committee by following the grievance process as outlined in Guideline 6.

c. Adjustment to a Requirement Outside a Major

If the proposed accommodation involves an adjustment to a graduation requirement outside a student's major, the student must submit a written appeal directly to the Faculty Appeals Committee. After considering the student's statement and information provided by the Disability Services office, the Appeals Committee will allow the adjustment if it does not, in its judgment, substantially alter an essential element of the curriculum for that student. The student may appeal the decision of the Appeals Committee by following the grievance process as outlined in Guideline 6.

d. Adjustment to a Course Load

When a granted accommodation involves a student's taking a reduced course load, the University still classifies the student as full time for the purposes of residence, University insurance coverage, participation in extracurricular activities and intercollegiate athletics (pending approval by the NCAA), academic honors such as Dean's List designation, and scholarship/financial aid as allowed by federal and state guidelines. Students who are taking a reduced course load as part of an ADAAA accommodation are eligible for an exception to the comprehensive tuition fee so that they may be charged on a per-course basis. To make these arrangements, students should contact the office of the Associate Academic Dean prior to the beginning of the term in question.

All accommodations provided by the University are individualized and flexible, based on the nature of the disability and the nature of the campus' academic and physical environment.

4. The Disability Services office is committed to ensuring that all information regarding the student's disability and accommodations remains confidential as required or permitted by law.

Any information regarding a disability gained from medical or psychological evaluations shall be considered confidential as required or permitted by law. Disability Services staff may discuss the disability with faculty, staff, parents, advisors, and/or coaches if the student signs a written consent form giving permission to do so. Information about the disability will be released only with consent and will be shared with others in the institution on a need-to-know basis only.

5. Students who are dissatisfied with the determination or implementation of the accommodations provided by the University may utilize the grievance process described in Guideline 6.

6. Students who are pursuing the grievance process and feel they have been discriminated against due to their disability or who are dissatisfied with the determination or implementation of their accommodations should notify the Disability Services Coordinator as soon as possible, but no later than ninety (90) days after the determination or implementation of the accommodation in question has been made. When the accommodation in question involves an adjustment to an academic requirement, see Guideline C.3, (a) through (c), paragraph 4 for the procedure to follow. This grievance process does not preclude the use of any other review, grievance, or appeals processes as outlined in University publications. The University reserves the right to exclude attorneys from this process.

a. Step 1: Informal Review

The Disability Services Coordinator will review the concerns, obtain information from the appropriate individuals, and prepare a response to the complainant within ten (10) working days. If the concerns cannot be resolved through this informal review, then the complainant will notify the Disability Services Coordinator of the request for a formal review. This notification must occur within five (5) working days of the informal review.

If the participation of the Disability Services Coordinator in this process represents a potential conflict of interest, the Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Dean or other appropriate University officials will designate an appropriate substitute to oversee the informal review.

b. Step 2: Formal Review

The complainant will provide to the Associate Academic Dean a written statement of the concerns, including a list of persons requested to be present at the review, and the Associate Academic Dean will facilitate the remainder of the grievance process. A formal review with the complainant and the appropriate persons must be scheduled within ten (10) working days.

The complainant shall receive an answer within five (5) working days of the review session or be advised within five (5) working days of the conditions that prevent an answer and when an answer may be expected. The Associate Academic Dean is responsible for preparing and maintaining a written record of all pertinent events leading up to and including the formal review session.

If the decision reached by the formal review does not resolve the complaint or if the decision is not properly implemented, the student may file a written appeal with the Chair of the ADAAA Committee. This appeal must be received within five (5) working days after the receipt of the formal review decision.

If the participation of the Associate Academic Dean in this process represents a potential conflict of interest, the Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Dean or other appropriate university official will designate an appropriate substitute to oversee the formal review.

c. Step 3: ADAAA Review Committee

The members and Chair of the ADAAA Review Committee are appointed by the President. The President will include faculty members from each academic division, the Title IX Coordinator, the Chief Information Officer or his or her designate, the Assistant Vice President of Facilities Services or his or her designate, the Director of Academic Assistance, the Assistant Vice-President for Student Life and Dean of Students, the Assistant Athletic Director/Compliance Officer, and, as a resource, the Associate Director of Counseling. The ADAAA Review Committee members will not include the person(s) against whom the complaint is filed or anyone whose participation would create a conflict of interest. The Committee will review the written complaint and conduct whatever hearings, investigations, and fact-findings it may consider necessary, but in no case shall the investigation period exceed ten (10) working days. The Chair of the Committee will inform the complainant of the Committee's decision in writing.

If the decision from the ADAAA Review Committee does not resolve the complaint or if a response is not received within the specified period, the complainant may make a written appeal to the appropriate adjudicator within five (5) working days of the receipt of the ADAAA Committee's decision.

 Adjudicators:

1. Academic/Classroom accommodations: Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Dean

2. Student Activities or Housing accommodations: Vice President for Student Life

3. Building Access accommodations: Vice President for Finance and Administration

4. Intercollegiate Athletics accommodations: Athletic Director and Vice-President for Intercollegiate Athletics

d. Step 4: Adjudicator

The complainant, the Disability Services Coordinator, and the Chair of the ADAAA Review Committee will provide all pertinent information to the adjudicator who will review the facts and hold whatever discussions are deemed desirable or as the complainant, Disability Services Coordinator, or ADAAA Review Committee Chair may request. The adjudicator will advise the complainant, the Chair of the ADAAA Review Committee, and the Disability Services Coordinator of the recommended course of action within five (5) working days after the receipt of the appeal. The decision of the adjudicator will be the final decision for the University.

If the participation of the relevant adjudicator in this process represents a potential conflict of interest, the President will designate an appropriate substitute to oversee the final adjudication of the grievance.

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