What should I do if a student discloses a disability to me during class?

The student should be directed to bring any supporting documentation to:

University College
Disability Support Office
Conyngham Hall, 3rd Floor (Rm. 311)

Staff will review the documentation to determine eligibility for accommodations and then meet with the student to discuss appropriate accommodations for each class. The staff member will also assist the student in communicating with faculty about his or her accommodation needs.

Are students required to identify the specific disability or provide documentation of the disability to faculty?

No. Students are not required to disclose the particulars of their disability to faculty, but they may choose to disclose this information to you. Please maintain confidentiality with any information that students disclose to you regarding their disability. If a student does disclose his specific disability with you, ask questions about how the disability may impact him in the class and what types of accommodations might be helpful.

Before a student can be certified by our office, he or she must provide us with disability documentation, however he is not required to provide faculty with copies. We will then require students to present faculty a letter documenting approved accommodations once they have been certified through our office. Student disability documentation is privileged information and kept confidential.

Do I provide accommodations for students who claim that they have a disability, but they do not present documentation?

No. Faculty are not obligated to provide disability accommodations to any student unless they receive a letter from our office indicating that the student has been certified with a documented disability. Please refer students to University College if they make a request directly to you.

I have a student who is in need of a note-taker, as listed in her certified disability documentation letter. What do I need to do?

It is your responsibility to identify a student who you feel would be a strong resource for this type of accommodation. You may need to review a student's notes, grades, attendance, etc. to make this decision. Please contact Sandra Rendina with the student's name once you have identified a student for this position. You may also send the student to University College, 3rd floor to meet with Sandra to make arrangements. In the event that you are unable to identify a student for the position, please contact Sandra as soon as possible.

As a faculty member, should I include a syllabus statement for disability accommodations?

All instructors are encouraged to include a statement that lets students know the procedure for initiating accommodations for students with disabilities. This statement helps to create a positive and welcoming environment for students with disabilities. Also, the statement serves as a reminder to students who need the accommodations about how arrangements need to be made.

Sample syllabus statement: If a student has a disability that qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and requires accommodations, he/she should contact the Disability office within University College for information on appropriate policies and procedures. The Disability office is located on the third floor of Conyngham Hall, Room 311.

In terms of providing accommodations to students with disabilities, how does this impact the fairness to other students?

The intended purpose of providing accommodations for students with disabilities is to minimize the impact of the student’s disability to the greatest extent possible. It is meant in no way to provide an advantage over other students in the class.

What is my responsibility if I have a student in class who has provided me with a disability documentation letter, but has never requested to use the accommodations?

It is ultimately up to the student to communicate and request accommodations as needed from their instructors. If you have any concerns regarding students who have not been requesting the accommodations, please contact University College.

What do I do if I suspect that a student in my class has a disability, but has not provided documentation of a disability?

It is perfectly acceptable to arrange a meeting to discuss your concerns with the student’s performance in your class. However, do not assume that the student’s difficulties are a result of a disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act states that a public entity may not make unnecessary inquiries into the existence of a disability. If you do suspect a disability, document your concerns and refer them to University College (as you would with any student). In the event that the student does disclose a disability to you, refer them to the disability services office to make arrangements for certification.