Disability Services for Students                                        UPPS No. 07.11.01                        

Issue No. 10

Effective Date: 10/26/2016

Review: July 1 E3Y

Sr. Reviewer: Director, Office of

Disability Services

 

                                                                                               

01.       POLICY STATEMENTS

 

01.01  This policy establishes procedures and defines responsibility for the administration of services available to students with disabilities through the Office of Disability Services (ODS), and the provision of specific and reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities by Texas State University faculty and staff.

 

01.02  This policy reflects an interactive process between the student and Texas State used to establish reasonable accommodations. The process includes:

 

a.    documentation of a history of impairment related to the student’s disability. Students are responsible for submitting documentation. The ODS will collaborate with students and request documentation from healthcare providers with the student’s consent, when necessary;

 

b.    the specific impairments and barriers experienced by the student;

 

c.    identification of third-parties or on-campus resources (such as the Student Health Center or Counseling Center) that may have possession of written documentation of the disability and will be contacted for said documentation;

 

d.    an initial framework for reasonable accommodations; and

 

e.    in some cases, additional documentation may be requested from a third-party prior to the approval of accommodations that may present an undue burden on Texas State or fundamental alteration to course design.

 

01.03  Texas State will comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA), and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).

 

01.04  All university departments are responsible for maintaining a close liaison with the ODS with regard to requests from students with disabilities and any special services offered to them.

 

01.05  The policy statement provided below shall be used in university publications:

 

"Texas State University does not discriminate on the basis of disability in the recruitment and admissions of students or in the operation of any of its programs and activities."

 

01.06  The mission of the ODS is to ensure that students with disabilities have access to all university programs and activities. The ODS provides students the opportunity to reach their full potential by:

 

a.    coordinating academic accommodations and support services;

 

b.    promoting independence and self-advocacy; and

 

c.    providing information and referrals to appropriate resources.

 

01.07  The ODS helps to foster a supportive and inclusive educational environment by:

 

a.    building and maintaining partnerships with faculty and staff;

 

b.    promoting disability awareness among all members of the university community; and

 

c.    providing guidance regarding university policies and procedures to ensure the full participation for persons with disabilities in all aspects of campus life.

 

02.       DEFINITIONS

 

02.01  Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA) – signed into law on July 26, 1990, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, programs, and services provided by state and local governments, goods and services provided by private companies, and in commercial facilities.

 

02.02  Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 – requires colleges and universities that receive federal financial assistance (including student loans) to make their programs and facilities accessible to individuals with disabilities.

 

02.03  ADA Coordinator – the university representative designated to address compliance with the ADA for students, employees, potential students, and community members with disabilities. Students should contact the director of ODS at 512.245.3451 (Voice/TTY) or the ADA coordinator at 512.245.2278 with concerns or for information regarding accommodations and services.

 

02.04  ADA Transition Plan – the university plan to address architectural compliance. A copy of the plan is available for review from the ADA coordinator, ODS director, or associate vice president for Facilities.

 

02.05  ADA Self-Evaluation Plan – the university plan to address program compliance with Title II and Title III of the ADA. A copy of the plan is available for review from the ADA coordinator, ODS director, or the Texas State University System (TSUS) associate general counsel.

 

02.06  According to the ADA, a person with a disability is anyone who:

 

a.   has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;

 

b.   has a record of such impairment; or

 

c.   is regarded as having such an impairment.

 

02.07  Qualified Person – with regard to disability, a student who, for purposes of postsecondary education, meets the academic and technical standards requisite for admission or participation in the institution's programs and activities.

 

02.08  Acquired Brain Injury – a condition that affects attention, impulsivity, processing, and memory that results in learning areas impaired by the disorder. 

 

02.09  Attention Deficit Disorder – a condition that meets diagnostic criteria for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), that results in learning areas impaired by the disorder.

 

02.10  Learning Disability – a significant deficit in at least one academic area or one of the specific learning processes. It may also include discrepancies between verbal and performance test scores on a measure of general intelligence.

 

02.11  Psychological Disability – a condition that meets a diagnosis according to the diagnostic codes established in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), that results in learning areas impaired by the disorder. Mental retardation and personality disorders are disorders for which accommodations are generally not provided.

 

02.12  Any student who is unable to take 12 credit hours in a long semester due to a disability may request to be considered a full-time student with less than 12 hours by the university without penalty. In order to be considered as full-time, the student must present documentation of disability to the ODS. The ODS staff will review the documentation and make a determination regarding an adjusted "full-time" status. Upon request, the ODS will verify a student's eligibility in writing to appropriate university departments, including the Department of Housing and Residential Life, Registrar's Office, Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, and academic advising centers. Eligible students will have access to all university services. Only institutional policies that the university can modify apply to students who qualify for this exception. A student must submit a request for each semester the modification is wanted. Students who would like ongoing access to the accommodation must provide documentation that confirms the chronic nature of their disability.

 

02.13  A reasonable level of documentation will include, but is not limited to, a combination of documentation from healthcare providers and educational professionals, ODS specialists’ interaction, observation and review with the student about their disability, and accommodation request.

 

03.       PROCEDURES FOR SERVICE DELIVERY AND COORDINATION

 

03.01  In accordance with university policy and federal law, all members of the university community are responsible for ensuring that students with disabilities do not experience discrimination. To accomplish this goal, reasonable and appropriate accommodations may be necessary for physical or programmatic access. The ODS will coordinate with university departments and offices to facilitate necessary accommodations for students with disabilities (refer to UPPS No. 04.04.03, Staff Employment, and Academic Affairs policies and procedures).

 

03.02  The functions of the ODS include:

 

a.   acquire a reasonable level of documentation from students with disabilities. Students can disclose their disability to the ODS for two purposes:

 

1)   to establish that they are a member of a protected class and, therefore, protected under the law:

 

Students who want to be considered by the university as having a disability for the purposes of being a member of a protected class must provide written documentation to the ODS from an appropriate evaluator. This documentation must meet at least one of the three criteria outlined in Section 02.06 and will be used for the sole purpose of documenting the existence of a disability; and

 

2)   to establish the need for accommodations to ensure equal access:

 

For students who provide a reasonable level of documentation for the purpose of requesting accommodations, the process will include review, recommendations, and approval by qualified specialists on the ODS staff for students with learning, psychological, or health-related disabilities. When necessary, ODS will consult with Student Health Center or Counseling Center professional staff on appropriate accommodations for students with physical, mobility, other chronic or intermittent health-related conditions or learning or psychological disabilities;

 

b.   facilitate accommodations for students with disabilities. The ODS will provide a student with written certification (see Academic Accommodation Letter) to share with faculty or staff members that outlines and requests appropriate accommodations specific to the student's disability-based need;

 

c.   the ODS, in conjunction with the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, will refer to, and make faculty members aware of, "Students with Disabilities, a Teaching Resource Guide," which is available on the ODS website. ODS staff will inform all faculty annually about the office and faculty requirements;

 

d.   provide and coordinate auxiliary aids and services, which include:

 

1)    advance registration of classes;

2)    referrals to the Testing Center for special testing accommodations, including extended time and reader services;

3)    assistance in ordering recorded textbooks or electronic books;

4)    recording textbooks not available on tape;

5)    assistance in accessing adaptive computer equipment;

6)    referral for tutoring;

7)    assistance in locating volunteer readers or note takers;

8)    provision of sign language and oral interpreting services;

9)    provision of captioning (speech to text) services;

10) information and referral to on- and off-campus resources;

11) disability management counseling; and

12) liaison and advocacy between students, faculty, and staff;

 

e.   facilitate access to campus facilities and programs for individuals with mobility impairments. As needed, the ODS will coordinate with the Department of Housing and Residential Life on room assignments and needed room modifications, and will work with academic departments on classroom alternatives. The ODS, in conjunction with Facilities, will monitor new facilities and renovations to existing facilities for compliance with federal and state accessibility standards. See Testing, Research-Support and Evaluation Center (TREC) guidelines;

 

f.    provide the Registrar's Office with a confidential list of students who are entitled to and who request advance registration each long semester during the ODS advance registration sign-up period. A list will be provided by the ODS prior to the advance registration period each semester;

 

g.   coordinate with Parking Services to ensure that the number and type of accessible parking spaces available on campus meet ADA requirements. As needed, the ODS may recommend that spaces be created, moved or eliminated. Parking Services will administer gate control cards for students who require access to gated lots as needed on a semester-to-semester basis;

 

h.   provide, upon request, information about the ODS to potential students with disabilities or family members. The ODS staff provide information on services during recruitment and orientation activities sponsored by Undergraduate Admissions;

 

i.    serve as the point of contact for intake and information resources on disability services for applicants and currently enrolled students. The Graduate College and Undergraduate Admissions will include a reference to, and information about the ODS, in catalogs and brochures. Students are advised to contact the ODS a minimum of 30 days prior to the first day of the semester in which they plan to attend. This process ensures a quality evaluation of the disability documentation and enables the ODS to monitor the retention and graduation rates of students with disabilities. Students who become aware of their disability during a given semester should allow 15 days for the review of documentation and up to 15 days for the provision of some services. Students should provide faculty a minimum of five working days’ notice of the need for academic accommodations.

 

j.    prepare, monitor, and update the ADA/504 Self-Evaluation Plan in conjunction with the university ADA/504 Compliance and Steering Committee on Disabilities;

 

k.   conduct an annual evaluation of the ODS services;

 

l.    prepare an annual report, which includes a summary of program activities and results of evaluation instruments;

 

m.  inform students about the procedures to follow in the event they have a grievance related to accommodations associated with a disability (see Grievance Procedures for Students with Disabilities). These procedures are subject to periodic updates; and

 

n.   serve as liaison with state and federal agencies, public and private institutions, and community resources serving persons with disabilities.

 

03.03  Academic departments, deans, chairs, faculty, the Registrar's Office, and TREC are responsible for providing accommodations that may include:

 

a.   modifying the length of time allowed for local course exams or the completion of assignments;

 

b.   providing alternative testing formats and procedures as recommended by the director of the ODS, in consultation with the ODS staff, the director of the Student Health Center, or the director of the Counseling Center;

 

c.   facilitating use of auxiliary aids in the classroom for students with disabilities, such as audio recorders, laptop computers, captionists, or other devices that assist with note-taking and information recall to ensure equal access to classroom instruction;

 

d.   ensuring that students with disabilities have equal access to the class registration process, including adding and dropping classes; and

 

e.   a director or department head, in conjunction with the ODS, may recommend an alternate accommodation to that proposed by a student if the director or department head determines the request may result in a fundamental alteration to the essential nature of the program or service, or a significant difficulty or expense for the university. The request may be forwarded to the next level of supervision. If necessary, the divisional vice president will coordinate with the ADA coordinator and the ODS on the nature and cost of the accommodation to determine applicable resources for the accommodation.

 

03.04  The ODS, Academic Affairs, and advisory groups will review and update "Students with Disabilities, a Teaching Resource Guide," as needed. Academic Affairs will publish the updated guide, and monitor and revise the Academic Affairs PPS and plan of action, as needed. The approved guide is available on the ODS website to university faculty and staff.

 

03.05  The ODS staff will work with Undergraduate Admissions regarding orientation, and other departments or offices to ensure that the needs and requests for services from students with disabilities are provided when appropriate.

 

03.06  Tutoring will be available for students with disabilities through either the Student Learning Assistance Center, Student Support Services, Math Lab, or Writing Center.

 

03.07  The Department of Housing and Residential Life works with ODS to provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities who need any special housing. Students should contact the Department of Housing and Residential Life with their requested housing accommodation in a timely manner so that the approved accommodations can be ready prior to the start of a check-in period. The Department of Housing and Residential Life makes every attempt to meet individual requests, although it may not in all cases be able to satisfy a specific room request due to architectural limitations within some residential facilities. Students with disabilities who may require an accommodation in any campus residence hall or university-owned apartment should follow the Procedures for Housing Requests Based on Disability-Related Needs.

 

03.08  Auxiliary Services and Transportation Services will coordinate equal access to food services and transportation for persons with disabilities.

 

03.09  Facilities, in consultation with the ODS, routinely monitors to ensure that all new facilities or facilities undergoing renovation (when the scope of the project is $50,000 or more) are accessible for persons with disabilities, and in compliance with the Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS), and the Americans with Disabilities Act Architectural Guidelines (ADAAG).

 

03.10  Facilities staff will develop, monitor, and maintain the ADA Transition Plan (JPJ survey) and report these findings annually or as needed to the university administration, ADA coordinator, and ADA/504 Compliance and Steering Committee on Disabilities.

 

03.11  Information Technology (IT), in collaboration with the ODS, will evaluate and monitor accessibility to campus instructional resources for students with various disabilities. These offices will be responsible for evaluating computer lab and classroom access technology alternatives and establishing standards for procurement of access equipment. IT will provide funds to equip campus open computing labs and classrooms with appropriate adaptive technologies. The ODS will provide end-user training for individual access devices. Individual departments and offices are responsible for providing adaptive computer technology for a faculty or staff member as it relates to a job accommodation.

 

03.12  The Alkek Library facilitates equal access to library services for all persons with disabilities including, but not limited to, distribution of library automatic door cards, book retrieval, and limited assistance with locating research materials.

 

03.13  IT, in consultation with the ODS, monitors that videos produced by the university are accessible to persons who are deaf or hard of hearing through closed captioning, subtitles or sign language interpretation. University departments have access to closed captioning equipment, and assistive listening devices are available in designated teaching theaters to facilitate the communication needs of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

 

NOTE: Classrooms with technology podiums are equipped with closed caption decoders.

 

03.14  Technology Resources, in consultation with the ODS, monitors accessibility to telephone services for persons with disabilities.

 

03.15  University News Service, in consultation with the ODS, monitors and evaluates the accessibility of university publications for persons with disabilities. Guidance through University News Service is provided to departments and offices charged with printing publications. University publications will reference the availability of information in alternate format and contact information for the university ADA coordinator.

03.16  Student Health Center or Counseling Center professional staff, upon request from the ODS, review disability documentation to verify that requested accommodations are linked to disability-based need. Individuals with HIV/AIDS should refer to UPPS No. 07.09.01, Management of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) on Campus.

 

03.17  The Office of Professional Development, in consultation with the ODS, provides workshops on disability issues for the university community.

 

03.18  IT, in consultation with the ODS, monitors that university Web pages will be accessible to persons with disabilities. The Web Accessibility Guidelines assist university personnel in developing accessible Web documents.

 

03.19  Service or Assistance Animals

 

An appropriately trained animal must meet the specific criteria outlined in the Procedures for Service or Assistance Animals at Texas State to be exempt from rules that otherwise restrict or prohibit animals on campus.

 

03.20  Accommodations for special events

 

a.   The primary responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations (e.g., information in alternate format, sign language interpreting services, captioning [speech to text] services) for enrolled students, potential students, employees, and community members for special events (e.g., guest speakers, lectures, poetry readings, plays) rests with the sponsoring office or individuals charged with the program. Any cost associated with providing accommodations is the responsibility of the department or program if the host department or program charges a fee associated with the event. The Procedures for Obtaining Sign Language Interpreting Services outlines how to arrange for this accommodation and are subject to periodic updates.

 

b.   All event announcements will include a statement indicating that reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be provided upon request. Requests for accommodations should be made to the sponsoring office a minimum of 72 hours in advance. The ODS staff is available to work with department and program staff who may need guidance and recommendations on meeting accommodation requests.

 

04.       PROCEDURES FOR PROVIDING ACCOMMODATIONS TO STUDENTS ON THE BASIS OF A DISABILITY

 

04.01  A student who requires accommodation to participate in the academic setting or in a university-sponsored activity or program as required as part of a degree program should contact the ODS or a service specialist at the Round Rock Campus (RRC). The ODS will require the student to provide a reasonable level of documentation that substantiates the disability and need for academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and services.

 

04.02  Procedures Used to Determine Eligibility for Accommodations

 

a.   Students seeking accommodations on the basis of disability will contact the ODS in order to determine eligibility for services.

 

b.   Disability documentation is reviewed in conjunction with interaction and review with the student of their disability and accommodation request by the ODS and formal accommodations are determined within 30 days of receipt of the documentation. The ODS is the designated authority for the institution for assigning student accommodations.

 

c.   Based on a review of the documentation by the ODS, eligibility for specific accommodations will be approved by the ODS. A student is eligible for services when it is determined that the need for an accommodation exists.

 

d.   Documentation of a person's disability can be presented to the ODS or a service specialist at the RRC by any designated individual or agency. A regularly-enrolled student for whom disability documentation has been reviewed, and accommodations approved by the ODS, is not eligible to access accommodations until the student meets one-on-one with a staff member in the ODS office or with a service specialist at the RRC. At this meeting, the ODS or RRC service specialist notifies the student in writing of their eligibility for services, and coordinates specific accommodations with faculty or staff members. For university students with disabilities enrolled in classes through Distance and Extended Learning or off-campus sites (i.e., through the RRC), an exception to the one-on-one meeting will be made on a case-by-case basis.

 

e.   The ODS staff are available to assist faculty or staff members who may experience difficulties in providing requested accommodations, and will work with faculty or staff members to resolve problems and provide the most appropriate and reasonable accommodations to students. The ODS staff will consult with department chairs and deans regarding academic accommodations on an as-needed basis.

 

04.03  The ODS will maintain all disability documentation in a confidential student file and release to members of the campus community only that information necessary to verify that the student has a documented disability and to identify approved accommodations.

 

04.04  On the basis of an individual student's disability documentation, consideration will be given to the modification of a student's course curriculum on a case-by-case basis by the dean of the student's college and faculty in accordance with the Policy for the Modification of Course Curriculum. Academic requirements that the university considers essential will not be regarded as discriminatory. The dean will consult with the chair of the student's department and faculty members on an as-needed basis. This policy is subject to periodic revisions.

 

04.05  The ODS requests that all university syllabi include the following language in order to communicate the university’s compliance with ADAAA regulations:

 

            “It is the University’s goal that learning experiences be as accessible as possible. If you anticipate or experience physical or academic barriers based on disability or pregnancy, contact the Office of Disability Services as soon as possible at 512.245.5431 to establish reasonable accommodations. Please be aware that the accessible table and chairs in this room should remain available for students who find that standard classroom seating is not usable.”

 

05.       UNIVERSITY ADA/504 COMPLIANCE AND STEERING COMMITTEE ON DISABILITIES

 

05.01  The president will appoint the members of the university's ADA/504 Compliance and Steering Committee on Disabilities, and will designate the committee's chair. The committee is charged with advising the President's Cabinet on the university's compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the ADA, and the ADAAA. The committee serves as a "clearinghouse" for disability issues and oversees the ODS's efforts to ensure that university policies, programs, and services adhere to ADA. The committee composition will, at a minimum, include:

 

a.   two students and one alternate selected from a list of four names furnished to the vice president by the Student Government;

 

b.   two faculty members and one alternate recommended by the Faculty Senate;

 

c.   two staff employees and one alternate recommended by the Staff Council;

 

d.   associate director (for Facilities) of the Department of Housing and Residential Life;

 

e.   director of Facilities, Planning, Design and Construction;

 

f.    two employees from Facilities, recommended by the associate vice president for Facilities;

 

g.   one representative from Campus Recreation;

 

h.   director of Transportation Services;

 

i.    assistant director of Parking Services;

 

j.    one representative from Student Support Services;

 

k.   one RRC service specialist;

 

l.    one representative from TREC;

 

m.  chief diversity officer and director Equity and Access;

 

n.   special assistant to the Vice President for Information Technology;

 

o.   associate Athletics director; and

 

p.   the director of ODS will serve as a non-voting ex-officio member of the committee. He or she will serve as the permanent secretary of the committee.

 

06.       GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE FOR DISCRIMINATION RELATED TO A DISABILITY

 

06.01  Currently enrolled students who have a grievance related to accommodations associated with a disability should follow the procedures outlined in Grievance Procedures for Students with Disabilities and UPPS No. 04.04.46, Prohibition of Discrimination. These procedures are subject to periodic review.

 

07.       REVIEWERS OF THIS UPPS

 

07.01  Reviewers of this UPPS include the following:

 

Position                                                         Date

 

Director, Office of Disability Services       July 1 E3Y

 

Assistant Vice President for Student       July 1 E3Y

Affairs and ADA Coordinator

 

Associate Vice President for                      July 1 E3Y

Enrollment Management and

Marketing

 

Associate Vice President for                      July 1 E3Y

Academic Affairs

 

Special Assistant to the Vice                     July 1 E3Y

President for Information Technology

 

Chief Diversity Officer and Director,         July 1 E3Y

Equity and Access

 

TSUS Associate General Counsel           July 1 E3Y

 

08.       CERTIFICATION STATEMENT

 

This UPPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

 

Director, Office of Disability Services; senior reviewer of this UPPS

 

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and ADA Coordinator

 

Vice President for Student Affairs

 

President