Frequenty Asked Questions: A Guide for Regis University Faculty What are the laws mandating academic accommodations for students with disabilities? The first federal civil rights legislation for people with disabilities was Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (usually just called section 504). This law describes specific protections from discrimination for people with disabilities as well as outlines appropriate and reasonable services for students with disabilities in postsecondary education, e.g., academic accommodations, auxiliary aids, etc. In 1990, Congress passed a second law known as The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law added further support to Section 504 and set in place additional protections from discrimination for people with disabilities in such areas as employment, public transportation, public communication, systems and facility accessibility. Additionally, Washington State passed a state law in 1994 that is referred to as The Core Services Bill (House Bill 2327). This law specifies 16 different types of accommodations that college students with disabilities should be offered if supported by a documented disability related need. The Student Disability Services plays an active role in ensuring that the College programs and facilities are in compliance with the above stated laws. What is my responsibility if a student requests accommodations? The provision of academic accommodations is a team effort between the student, the professor, and SDS. SDS helps ensure that the accommodations are appropriate and obtainable. The student provides SDS with documentation of the disability. SDS staff reviews the documentation and determines appropriate accommodations. At the student’s request, SDS provides the faculty with a “Letter of Accommodation” (sent to via email) outlining necessary accommodations. If a professor grants an accommodation without SDS involvement, the student could be perceived as disabled under ADA criteria, and that could put the professor and the University at risk if there is a problem or complaint related to the accommodation. It is helpful if instructors include the university approved syllabus statement: "Regis University, in compliance with federal guidelines, is committed to equal educational opportunity by assuring otherwise qualified students with disabilities equal access to Regis University programs and activities that are provided to students without disabilities. An otherwise qualified person with a disability is a student who meets the academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in Regis University’s educational programs and activities. Eligibility To ensure the provision of reasonable and appropriate services at Regis University, students with disabilities must identify themselves in a timely manner to Student Disability Services (SDS), Room 225, Clarke, 303-458-4941, email@example.com, in order to be eligible for the requested accommodation(s). Current and comprehensive documentation must be on file with SDS prior to approval of the accommodation. It is strongly encouraged that students self-disclose their disabilities at the beginning of their academic experience because accommodations are not retroactive.” Can I get a list of Regis students with disabilities? Right-to-privacy guidelines dictate that we cannot disclose information about students without their consent; however, we encourage students to discuss their disabilities and necessary accommodations with faculty at the beginning of each course. Once a student has approached you, feel free to contact us if you have concerns or questions about the accommodations. May I discuss the student and/or the disability with other faculty or staff and parents? Students at least 18 years old are afforded all the rights of adults, including privacy. Instructors must receive in writing the student’s permission before sharing any information with anyone other than the student. If the student has signed a release, SDS can discuss educational issues with faculty and staff. Are students who receive academic accommodations receiving special privileges? No – the implementation of accommodations does not give students “an edge” and should not be viewed as such. Students with disabilities are given accommodations in order to help them overcome barriers caused by their disability that may prevent them from learning. These accommodations level the playing field and provide access, but do not guarantee success. Students with disabilities have the same academic expectation as other students. It is not expected or appropriate for an instructor to lower their standards of grading or coursework to allow a student with a disability to receive a passing grade. What should I do if I think a student has a disability but I have not received an “accommodations request letter”? According to the ADA, a student is disabled if he or she meets at least one of three criteria: 1) Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits at least one major life activity, 2) Has a record of such an impairment, 3) Is regarded as having such an impairment If you suspect that a student meets any of these criteria, you may suggest that he or she contact an SDS staff member for guidance. Additionally, if the student discloses to you that they have a disability but you have not received the faculty letter from our office, please contact SDS. What if I think an accommodation is inappropriate? SDS staff can help determine appropriateness. Accommodations that compromise the integrity of an academic program, impose undue financial burden on the University, or alter the programmatic content are neither reasonable nor appropriate. Students must meet the goals and objectives of any course(s) in which they are enrolled. If you have concerns regarding a particular accommodation, please contact the SDS director. What if I am unsure of how to handle a situation with a student with a disability? If possible, try to discuss the matter with the student since they are the best source of information regarding their disability. However, be sure to maintain confidentiality during the conversation. Discreetly requesting an office visit with the student would be a good idea. If you are still unsure of how to handle the situation, contact the SDS Director. SDS is here for you just as much as for the student. What do I do if a student appeals a grade based on a disability? Accommodations cannot be granted retroactively. To receive an accommodation, a student must disclose the disability, provide proper documentation, and request it at the time it is needed. SDS is here to support you as much as the student, so please do not hesitate to contact us if you have concerns regarding a student. A student needs a note taker in class; what do I do? First the student makes the request through SDS. We will look at the class roster to see if we have a note taker already or one who has volunteered in the past. If SDS cannot obtain one that way, either the student or the faculty can ask for a volunteer note taker at the beginning of the class. We will notify you if we need your assistance in obtaining a note taker’s services. SDS provides Note Taker Agreements and special paper or copy machine access. If a volunteer note taker is not available, SDS will provide one from outside the class. What is extended time testing, and how does it work? Many students with disabilities are afforded this accommodation. At Regis University, students receive extended time to take in-class quizzes and exams. While an instructor may choose to give any student extra time to take an exam, SDS uses the following procedures: The student must contact SDS at least three business days (no nights, weekends, or holidays) prior to the test date. SDS then contacts the instructor to make arrangements to get the exam. The student takes the exam in the SDS testing facilities at the same time the rest of the class is taking it, unless prior arrangements have been made with the instructor and SDS. A SDS proctor is present in the room, or nearby, during the exam. SDS returns completed exam and all related materials to the instructor or department. If a computer is needed, SDS provides a secure computer. How do I handle a student with a temporary/provisional disability, e.g., a broken arm? Students with temporary disabilities or injuries should contact the SDS office to discuss their needs. In general, the same disability guidelines apply. SDS will provide students with a Faculty Letter and work with students to provide reasonable accommodations. If a student needs Alternate Format Texts (taped, e-text, Braille), what do I do? Have the student contact SDS. Students with this accommodation can request that SDS perform one of the following options: Electronically scan materials; text-to-speech computer software "reads" material to the student. Order materials through Learning Ally, a not-for-profit organization that provides free recorded materials to members. Braille materials for students who are blind. Students are encouraged to contact instructors prior to the start of the quarter to identify reading lists and are required to purchase textbooks and course packs. The student is responsible for bringing all material to SDS for recording, or you may send them to us. For reserve readings at the library, we ask that instructors provide SDS with a copy of all materials. They will be returned after the course is completed. You may also provide SDS with a password for e-reserve readings. What are my responsibilities concerning field trips? Students with disabilities are entitled to participate in field trips or other events and accommodations must be offered to the student. If Regis University provides transportation for other students on the field trip, you must also offer accessible transportation for students with disabilities. The student has the right to accept or refuse the offer. If the transportation is not offered by Regis University, the SDS office may still be able to arrange accessible transportation for the student. In any event, please notify SDS of the field trip well in advance so that accessible transportation can be arranged. I have a student in an online class who needs extra time on a test. Can they still use ANGEL or D2L? Yes! In most cases students can take the exam through the secure browser with the appropriate settings. In some cases, the student requires a test reader, in which case SDS will request a hard copy of the exam. Please contact SDS for instructions on how to set this up. What about faculty and staff who have disabilities and need accommodations? All Regis University faculty and staff who wish to disclose and receive accommodations for a disability must contact HR at 303-458-4161.