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 Disability Center (SDC) recommends accommodations for disabled students in compliance with these federal mandates.
The SDC 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. The Student Disability Center is a program staffed by Disability Specialists, professionals who have expertise in the education of students with disabilities. Each of the UC campuses has a similar program for disabled students.
The student is responsible for providing the SDC 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 by medical staff in Cowell Student Health Center. The SDC staff determines whether the student’s impairment is a disability under state law.
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.
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 the SDC 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 must provide accommodations for a student with a disability if the student presents a letter enumerating identified accommodations from the SDC. Students who do not provide SDC verification should be asked to do so before accommodations are provided. If the faculty member disagrees with the SDC accommodation, or is aware of course-specific factors that have bearing on the accommodation, s/he should consult with either the SDC Disability Specialist who authored the accommodation letter or the SDC Coordinator.
If a faculty member disagrees with an accommodation for a given student and is unable to resolve the disagreement in consultation with SDC staff, s/he may file an appeal with the Ad Hoc Group on Disability Issues. Comprised of faculty, staff and administrators, the Ad Hoc Group will review the individual circumstances and objections and issue a final decision. While the matter is in dispute, the accommodation must be provided. To file an appeal with the Ad Hoc Group on Disability Issues, please contact the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, at 2-6866.