Disability Accommodation Policy and Procedures

Disability Services web site. NOTE: Information on the Disability Services web site may be more current than the following information.

Policy Statement

No person with a disability will be discriminated against on the basis of his or her disability as defined in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and redefined in Public Law 101-336, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The ADA requires institutions of higher learning to make reasonable accommodations for the needs of qualified students with disabilities as they pursue a postsecondary education. Tennessee Technological University, being committed to high academic standards and the development of self-esteem and dignity in all members of the academic community, will provide reasonable accommodations to assist the student with disabilities in participating in university programs.

Definitions

Disability: A disability, with respect to an individual seeking accommodations in programs and services, is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the individual.

Qualified Individual with a Disability: A qualified individual with a disability must satisfy the requisite skill, experience, education and other program-related requirements, and can perform, with or without reasonable accommodation, the essential requirements of such program.

Reasonable Accommodation: Reasonable accommodation as defined by the ADA includes making existing facilities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, adjusting or modifying examinations or class schedules, providing qualified readers or interpreters, and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities. Reasonable accommodation does not include fundamental changes to an activity, undue financial burden, or undue administrative burden.

Responsibilities for Implementation

Student

  1. The student must register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) as soon as admitted to the University or at least during the first week of the semester, if possible, and provide the documentation of his/her disability and subsequent needs for services and accommodations.
  2. A student who requires academic placement testing, such as the Compass Test, must submit proper documentation to the ODS at least two (2) weeks prior to testing if any special testing accommodations are needed.
  3. The student should take advantage of the services provided through active participation in the development of his/her Accommodation Request (AR) for each class prior to or during the first week of each semester, if possible.
  4. The student should maintain communication with ODS, register with ODS each semester, and become familiar with and utilize all appropriate resources.

Faculty - It is the responsibility of each faculty member to:

  1. Adhere to the University's policies and procedures regarding students with disabilities.
  2. Make accommodations in courses as specified in the AR.
  3. Be aware that ODS has a Disability Services Faculty Handbook and other resources that can be used in assisting students with disabilities.
  4. Add a statement to all course syllabi stating, "Students with a disability requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS). An Accommodation Request (AR) should be completed as soon as possible, preferably by the end of the first week of the course. The ODS is located in the Roaden University Center, Room 112; phone 372-6119."

Office of Disability Services (ODS)

The Office of Disability Services is responsible for providing assistance to students with disabilities to support their educational development and vocational outcomes. The ODS provides direct assistance in appropriate classroom accommodations, creation and maintenance of an accessible physical environment, access to technology equipment, and encouragement of independence. The ODS facilitates the provisions for students which include, but are not limited to, recruitment, admissions, academic programs, housing, health services, counseling, financial aid, physical education, athletics and recreation. A full-time Director, a Learning Disabilities Coordinator, a Sign Language Interpreter and secretarial support are located in the ODS. The ODS:

  1. Serves as a liaison between students and the University community.
  2. Maintains confidential records of students who have registered with the ODS.
  3. Assists students with disabilities in securing services.
  4. Facilitates academic accommodations through planning and implementing the Accommodation Request (AR).
  5. Fosters the establishment and operation of support services.
  6. Provides information concerning disabilities to University faculty and staff.
  7. Monitors compliance with relevant laws and policies and informs the ADA Advisory Committee of problems.
  8. Provides useful planning information to the University and makes it possible for students to be notified of activities, services, and opportunities of particular value to them.

ADA Advisory Committee

The ADA Advisory Committee is responsible for evaluating and recommending policies and procedures that will help the University to meet the needs of students with disabilities and insure that the University is in compliance with federal and state statutes. The Committee will meet once a semester (excluding summer), with other meetings scheduled as needed. The Committee shall consist of the following individuals:

  1. Faculty - A minimum of six (6) faculty members
  2. Administrative - A minimum of four (4) administrators
  3. Students - A minimum of two (2) students. (It is desirable that one of the students be classified with a disability.)

The Office of Disability Services Director will provide technical assistance to the Advisory Committee. The functions of the Advisory Committee will be to:

  1. Advise the University and the ODS regarding the needs of students with disabilities.
  2. Assess needs and plans for faculty development activities.
  3. Provide a forum for Tech students with disabilities to share their needs with the University.
  4. Identify and advocate for changes as needed in the University procedures related to students with disabilities.
  5. Evaluate implementation plans and revise as needed.

Procedures

General
All students applying for admission to Tennessee Technological University must follow the application procedures outlined in the TTU Catalog. Once students are admitted, those students with disabilities are required to register with the ODS to be entitled to the services accorded to students with disabilities. To be protected by the ADA, a person must not only be an individual with a disability, but must be qualified. Early contact with the ODS is essential for many services, especially for pre-enrollment planning, early registration permits, specialized orientation, and completion of the AR.

Disability information is confidential and is released only upon consent of the student.

Due to confidentiality issues, a student with a disability must present his/her own requests for accommodations and services to the Office of Disability Services.

Evaluation of Disability
Students must submit appropriate documentation of their disability to the ODS. If the student has a learning disability, documentation includes a restricted intelligence test and an achievement battery in Math, Reading, Written Language, and Spelling. For other disabilities, documentation includes a medical evaluation submitted by a physician or other qualified specialist.

Documentation of a student's disability must not be more than three years old and must clearly state the nature of the disability. The University may request more recent information. For a learning disability (i.e., visual-motor integration difficulties, auditory memory deficits, etc.), the report should describe the impact this disability has had on academic performance and accommodations that have been made in school. If the student has documentation over three years old, or if a student suspects that he/she is learning disabled and has never had an evaluation, the ODS will encourage the student to complete diagnostic procedures elsewhere as the University does not provide this service.

Requests for Accommodation
A student with a disability who is requesting a reasonable accommodation must make an appointment with the ODS to discuss the support systems or other special accommodations he/she may need. If the student has recent (no more than 3 years old) documentation from the appropriate professional, the following accommodation procedures are followed:

  1. Each semester the student meets with the ODS Director or Learning Disabilities Coordinator to discuss specific accommodations. This meeting should be scheduled prior to registration but no later than the first week of the semester, when possible. (Some students may not be able to present documentation until later in the semester due to their having to go through an evaluation process to diagnose a disability.) The Accommodation Request (AR) form (Appendix A) is then completed with recommendations based on the documentation of the disability and signed by the Director of the ODS.
  2. Students are expected to deliver the form to the appropriate faculty member during the first week of classes, or as soon as possible. The faculty member may accept the AR as written or may recommend additional accommodations.
  3. If the faculty member and student are in agreement, both sign the form, the faculty member keeps a copy and the signed form is returned to the ODS by the student.
  4. If no agreement can be reached, a meeting should be arranged between the student, faculty member, Director of the Office of Disability Services or the Learning Disabilities Coordinator, and Departmental Chairperson to develop an acceptable plan.
  5. Signed copies of the Accommodation Request forms are kept on file in the ODS.

Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation for Academic Requirement for Graduation
A student with a disability who is requesting a reasonable accommodation in an academic requirement for graduation shall adhere to the following procedure:

  1. The student must make a written request on a "Request for Exception to University Requirement" form to the ODS stating his/her request for an accommodation in an academic requirement for graduation. The form may be obtained from the Office of Records, Derryberry Hall Room 102. The student must furnish appropriate documentation to substantiate his/her request.
  2. The Director of the ODS will set up a meeting with the student and a committee comprised of appropriate University personnel. The committee will include a qualified person to interpret support documentation, if necessary; the departmental Chairperson; the ODS Director; and the student's faculty advisor. Other persons will be included as needed. The ODS Director will preside over the meeting.
  3. The committee will make a recommendation concerning the request to the appropriate College Dean or the Dean of the Graduate School.
  4. The Dean will review the committee's recommendation and make a decision as to the student's request.
  5. The University Admissions and Credits Committee reviews and approves or denies exceptions to University policy regarding graduation.
  6. The student has the opportunity to appeal the decision made above by following the regular University appeal process.

Grievance Procedure
Existing University grievance procedures are available for adjudication of complaints. Contact the Office of Disability Services. The ODS is located in the Roaden University Center, Room 112; phone 372-6119.

[Approved by The University Assembly November 29, 2000.]