Students and Faculty Rights and Responsibilities
A college student with a disability has the right to appropriate accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act 2008. OSD counselors, along with input from the student, make decisions regarding the nature of the academic accommodations. If a student feels as though he or she has been wrongly denied an accommodation or otherwise discriminated against, based on their disability, they may file a complaint with the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs on the FAU campus.
Individuals must be accepted FAU students to receive services through the OSD. Self identification and registration with the OSD is the student’s option and is not mandatory; however, in order to ensure receiving authorized academic accommodations due to a disability from FAU, the student must register with the OSD.
In order to complete the OSD registration process, it is the responsibility of the student with a disability to self-report functional limitations of the disability as well as effective prior accommodations and to provide the OSD with appropriate written documentation from a licensed professional in the field concerning the specific diagnosis and expected academic limitations, and attend an intake interview with an OSD counselor. If the OSD determines that the self-report or presented documentation is out-dated, incomplete, or vague, it is the responsibility of the student to provide additional documentation that appropriately demonstrates the current existence of a disability.
It is the student’s responsibility to submit the "OSD Semester Request for Services" form, "Testing Accommodations Form," "Notetaker Request Form", and any other appropriate forms to the OSD in a timely manner each semester in order to be guaranteed the appropriate accommodations. It is the student’s responsibility to utilize authorized accommodations responsibly and keep in close contact with the OSD personnel. The student is not required to utilize an accommodation authorized by the OSD; however, the student is responsible for keeping the OSD personnel advised of any major changes involving an accommodation.
Faculty Members' Rights and Responsibilities
Faculty members have the right to be informed about a student's need for accommodations by an OSD Letter of Notification being presented by the student. The faculty member has the responsibility to respond to a student's request for an accommodation due to a disability. When a request for an accommodation is received, the faculty member should require verification of the disability by referring the student to the OSD to obtain a Letter of Notification. The accommodations may be handled by the faculty member or through the OSD. In any case, the accommodations must not compromise course content or the requirements for satisfactory course completion. A professor may agree to enhance an accommodation authorized by OSD as long as it is mutually acceptable to the professor and student.
Disability Law and Higher Education
The rights of students with disabilities are protected under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).
Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 is designed to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. It provides that no qualified individual with a disability will, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives or benefits from federal financial assistance. The fundamental principle of Section 504 is "Program Accessibility".
Admissions and Recruitment
A student with a disability must submit an application for admission in the same way as all other students. After students have been accepted to FAU, if they wish accommodations due to a disability, they must complete and submit a separate application to register for services from the OSD. The OSD is only involved in the admissions process on a consulting basis, which is initiated by the Special Admissions Counselor. Questions about the admissions procedures as it relates to a documented disability should be discussed with the FAU Admissions staff.
FAU recognizes the need to provide special consideration for applicants whose disabilities may have adversely affected their pre-enrollment requirements. To request special consideration for Admissions students will need to submit documenting regarding the disability and a personal statement explaining how that disability affected the pre-enrollment requirements. Special consideration can be requested when a student first submits an application for admission to FAU or after the student has been denied admission. This information will be taken into consideration within the following guidelines:
* Documentation regarding disability will need to be provided on a voluntary basis.
* All information will be kept confidential.
* Refusal to provide information will not subject applicant to adverse treatment.
* Information will be used in connection with the University’s voluntary efforts to overcome the effects of conditions that may have resulted in limited participation of persons with disabilities.
What are Accommodations?
Accommodations are support services which are determined based on an analysis of the current impact of the person's disability on academic performance. The purpose of accommodations is to provide students with disabilities the same access to education as their non-disabled peers. Academic accommodations are determined for a student based on student’s self-report (on OSD application and during the intake interview), submitted documentation, evaluator's recommendations, and the counselor's knowledge, experience and training in the field of Disability Services.
Accommodations are, by necessity, highly individualized to the student. While some students may require classroom accommodations, such as volunteer notetaking assistance or audio recorded lectures, other students may require testing accommodations, such as extended time or exam in an isolated setting. Other types of accommodations might include assistive technology training or learning strategies training. The University does not need to provide attendants, individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study, or other devices or services of a personal nature.
OSD staff are recognized by the university as the individuals with knowledge, experience and training in Disability Services to determine appropriate accommodations. Professors appropriately notified of approved accommodations must provide them to the OSD student.
Essential Degree Requirements
Accommodations are necessary for ensuring complete access to, and full participation in, the education process. Academic standards are not to be lowered, nor should there be an alteration in the essential nature of the degree requirements. FAU utilizes a procedure to determine whether an academic requirement is an essential degree requirement. This procedure provides that a group of trained, knowledgeable, and experienced people engage in rational review and convene, as necessary, to review the program and its requirements and consider whether effective alternatives to the requirement exist which could allow the student with a disability to participate without waiving or lowering essential requirements or fundamentally altering the nature of the program.
Questions relating to academic accommodations for students with disabilities are to be directed to the Office for Students with Disabilities, Room 133, Student Support Services, (561) 297-3880, TDD (561) 297-0358.
Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA)
The ADAAA prohibits discrimination, based on disability, by public entities (including SUS institutions), in places of public accommodation (including private and public colleges, and universities), and employment, in the provision of transportation and telecommunications. The ADAAA uses much the same language as used in Section 504 but expands its coverage.
Title I - Employment
State University System institutions, as employers of students, faculty and staff, may not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities, and must provide reasonable accommodation to qualified applicants or employees unless doing so would result in an undue hardship to the university.
Title II - Public Services
State University System institutions may not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities by excluding them from participating in or denying them access to the services, programs or activities of the university.
Title III - Public Accommodations
State University System facilities open to the public, including student unions, museums, athletic arenas, auditoriums, libraries, recreational facilities, etc. must be accessible to individuals with disabilities. Efforts must be made to make these facilities accessible to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities when it is readily achievable.
Title IV- Telecommunications
The ADAAA requires telephone companies to provide continuous voice transmission relay services that allow hearing and speech-impaired people to communicate over the phone through teletypewriters (TTY -- also called telecommunication devices for the deaf). Title IV also requires federally funded public service messages on television to be closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired.
Section 508 requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities. The Center for Information Technology Accommodation (CITA), in the U.S. General Services Administration's Office of Government wide Policy, has been charged with the task of educating Federal employees and building the infrastructure necessary to support Section 508 implementation. Using this web site, Federal employees and the public can access resources for understanding and implementing the requirements of Section 508.
Student Appeals and Discrimination Complaints
The University desires that supervisors, students, and employees make every reasonable effort to resolve problems informally, at the lowest administrative level, as they arise. While the OSD can act as an advocate at the request of the student at any point during the resolution process, when a student’s problem cannot be resolved at the lowest level, there is a chain of authority that the student should follow.
The protocol to appeal an OSD counselor’s decision is: OSD Director (if student’s Counselor is on Boca’s OSD staff), OSD Appeals Committee, Dean (or Associate/Assistant Dean) of Students, Vice President of Student Affairs.
The suggested protocol for the chain of authority that the student should seek to remedy a situation with a professor is: The professor, the department chairperson, the Dean of the College, and the Provost.
Students with complaints which involve allegations of discrimination or harassment can be files with FAU's Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP). Students who feel their complaints are unresolved at the highest level of the University can file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR).
For more information about the FAU anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy go to http://www.fau.edu/regulations/chapter5/Reg%205.010%2011-16-11%20FINAL.pdf