Legislation Governing Accommodations
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and state law mandate that institutions of higher education not discriminate against "otherwise qualified" individuals with disabilities. The federal regulations implementing Section 504 and the ADA establish that reasonable and appropriate academic accommodations must be provided to students with disabilities to allow equal access to educational opportunities. While providing accommodations, however, institutions of higher education are not required to lower academic standards or compromise the integrity of the school or program. The Student Engagement & Academic Success Center (SEAS) recommends accommodations for disabled students in compliance with these federal mandates.
Role of Disability Services
SEAS is the campus unit designated to ensure that the institution meets its obligations to provide services to students who are eligible for reasonable accommodation under state and federal law. Disability Services within SEAS is staffed by a Disability Specialist, who has expertise in the education of students with disabilities. Each of the CSU campuses has a similar program for students with disabilities.
Diagnosis and Documentation
The student is responsible for providing the SEAS with documentation of his or her impairment. The diagnosis and documentation of the impairment are typically provided by an off-campus diagnostician. In instances of a student with a medical condition, the diagnosis and documentation may be provided or verified by medical staff at the Student Health Center. The Disability Specialist determines whether the student's impairment is a disability under state law.
Evaluation of Students with Disabilities in Undergraduate Admissions
Student applicants with disabilities are evaluated in the same manner as non-disabled applicants. Applicants with disabilities are required to meet the institution's academic standards for admission.
Typical Reasonable Accommodations and How They Are Determined
Although specific accommodations vary from individual to individual, there are broad categories of accommodations for students with disabilities. These categories include, but are not limited to, academic support services (i.e., readers, taped materials, notetakers), exam accommodations, and access to adaptive equipment. Accommodations are recommended by SEAS for disabled students on a case by case basis. The Disability Specialist's determination of what accommodations are reasonable is based on the nature of the disability and the student's current functional limitations, requirements of the specific courses in which the student is enrolled, and the University's obligation to provide equal access to educational opportunities.
Faculty Responsibilities for Providing Accommodations
Faculty must provide accommodations for a student with a disability if the student presents a letter enumerating identified accommodations from SEAS. Students who do not provide SEAS verification should be asked to do so before accommodations are provided. If the faculty member disagrees with the SEAS accommodation, or is aware of course-specific factors that have bearing on the accommodation, s/he should consult with either the SEAS Disability Specialist who authored the accommodation letter or the SEAS Director.
If a faculty member disagrees with an accommodation for a given student and is unable to resolve the disagreement in consultation with SEAS staff, s/he may file an appeal, in writing, with the Vice President of Student Affairs. While the matter is in dispute, the accommodation must be provided.
Best Practices for Faculty
SEAS encourages faculty members to consider the following best practices in supporting students with disabilities:
California Maritime Academy is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to students with documented disabilities. Students who believe they may need class accommodations are encouraged to contact the Disability Services Office (DSO) by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or in person in the Student Engagement & Academic Success Center (Laboratory Building, First Floor) within the first two weeks of class. For more information, visit: http://www.csum.edu/web/seas/disability-services.
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Executive Order 926: CSU Policy on Disability Support & Accommodation
Coded Memorandum AA 2014-08 Policy on the Provision of Accommodation & Support Services to Students with Disabilities