Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty/Staff
Can I ask a student if he/she has a disability?
No. However, it is the college’s responsibility to notify students of services available for students with disabilities. You should inform all students of services available at the college for students who show the need of accommodations due to a disability, and how to access those services (also please read the Disability Statement attached to your syllabus).
Do I have the right to know what type of disability a student has when they ask for an accommodation?
No. A student does not have to inform the faculty or staff member about his/her disability, but only the needed accommodations. If you have a question regarding the need for the accommodation, you may contact The Office of Disability Services. The office will have documentation regarding the student’s disability on file. However, the office cannot give details about the disability, unless the student has a signed written consent form, but can only inform you if the student has a documented disability and if the accommodation requested is reasonable. The student may disclose his/her disability directly to you. You are to maintain confidentiality regarding the student’s disability.
What can I do if I disagree with the academic accommodation requested?
If you disagree with the academic accommodation requested, you should discuss your disagreement with The Office of Disability Services, but you must continue to provide the accommodation. An instructor may not forbid a student’s use of an aid if the prohibition limits a student’s participation in the College. Section 504 states: “A recipient may not impose upon handicapped students other rules, such as the prohibition of tape recorders in classrooms or of dog guides in campus buildings that have the effect of limiting the participation of handicapped students in the recipient’s education program or activity.”
What if I am unable to provide the accommodations in the classroom? Is there an alternative?
Yes. If you are unable to accommodate the student in your class, the student has the option of coming to The Disability Services Office for classroom accommodations and The Testing Center for testing accommodations. You may call or email The Disability Services Office and/or The Testing Center to make arrangements 24-72 hours in advance.
Does the student receive “special privileges” under this legislation?
No. Providing accommodations should not be regarded as giving students “special privileges,” but rather as equalizing the impact of the student’s disability to the greatest extent possible. Institutions are not mandated to make changes in requirements that would result in a major or substantial change in essential elements of the curriculum. The institution has the right to set academic standards, but the institution must prove that requested accommodations would create substantial change. It is important that the students be treated the same and with equality. The legislation does not intend that institutions pass students because they have a disability, and it is important to expect the same academic performance, with requested accommodations, from the student with a disability as from a student without a disability.
What are the possible personal consequences if I do not provide the accommodations requested?
If a student is denied equal access, auxiliary aids, or services, he/she can file a complaint under Section 504 with The Office of Civil Rights of The U.S. Department of Education or under the ADA Titles II and II which is under the jurisdiction of The Department of Justice. The student may file with both offices. Under ADA, monetary damages may be enforced and the student may name both an instructor and the College in the complaint. An instructor can be personally liable, as well as the College, if named in the complaint.
What are my responsibilities?
- Work together with The Office of Disability Services and the student with the disability in providing reasonable accommodations in a reasonable and timely manner.
- Maintain the student’s confidentiality.
- READ the letters of accommodation given to you by the student. If you have questions you should contact ODS.
- Be willing and available to meet privately with your students in an accessible location to discuss disability related needs.
- Provide all written materials in alternative format when requested.
- Insure all audio-video materials presented in classes or college related activities are accessible.
- Provide reasonable accommodations as determined by the College and not question the student regarding the validity of a documented disability when accommodations are approved by ODS.
- Not to request to examine the student’s confidential documentation.