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 pursuits. The ODS provides direct assistance in appropriate classroom accommodations or adjustments, creation and maintenance of an accessible physical environment, access to technology equipment and software, 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, an Assistant Director, a Sign Language Interpreter, and secretarial support are located in the ODS.
- Serves as a liaison between students and the University community.
- Maintains confidential records of students who have registered with the ODS.
- Assists students with disabilities in securing services.
- Facilitates academic accommodations or adjustments through planning and implementing the Academic Adjustment Forms.
- Fosters the establishment and operation of support services.
- Provides information concerning disabilities to University faculty and staff.
- Provides a test proctoring service during regular business hours or proctor training for any department choosing to use their departmental proctors (graduate assistants, work study students, etc.) after hours or when ODS services are otherwise not available.
- Monitors compliance with relevant laws and policies and informs the ADA Advisory Committee and other necessary entities of any problems.
- 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.
Note: Seeking to follow federal law as defined in the ADA/ADAAA and professional best practice in accordance with the Association of Higher Education and Disability of which ODS retains membership, the ODS recognizes the following:
a) Determination that impairment qualifies as a disability is determined on a case-by-case basis.
b) Each request for adjustment or accommodation is reviewed and determined on a case-by-case basis.
ODS professionals are committed to ensuring equal access for all qualifying individuals to TTU’s academic and physical environments, and further dedicated to providing quality services to students and faculty, through a variety of resources including academic adjustments, assistive technology and software, as well as other support programs that promote awareness of the law and other disability-related topics.
ODS professionals envision a supportive, open, and accessible campus environment in which the TTU ODS, administration, faculty, staff, and students, partner together to provide an excellent educational experience for everyone with compassion, mutual respect for the spirit of the law, and through dedication to the concept of universal design.
Tennessee Technological University
Disability Accommodation & Adjustment Policy & Procedures
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 of 1990, and the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2008. These laws require 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 or academic adjustments to assist all qualified enrolled students with disabilities in participating in University programs.
Disability: A disability, with respect to an individual seeking accommodations or adjustments in programs and services, is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities, or a record of such impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.
Qualified Individual with a Disability: A qualified individual with a disability must satisfy the requisite skills, experience, education, and other program-related requirements, and can perform, with or without reasonable accommodation or adjustment, 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, interpreters, or scribes, course substitutions, and other similar accommodations or adjustments for individuals with disabilities. Reasonable accommodation or adjustment does not include fundamental changes to an activity, undue financial burden to the University, or undue administrative burden.
Responsibilities for Implementation
- 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 or adjustments.
- 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 adjustments are needed.
The student should take advantage of the services provided through active participation in the development of his/her academic adjustment forms for each class prior to or during the first ten days of the semester. Each request for adjustment or accommodation is reviewed and determined on a case-by-case basis.
- The student should maintain communication with ODS, register with ODS each semester, and become familiar with and utilize all appropriate resources.
Transfer students: Transfer students will be asked to sign a release allowing the ODS to contact the student’s previous institution’s Disability Service Office (if services were used) in order to coordinate and provide services at TTU. It is important to note that services at TTU may not be the same as those offered at the previous institution.
It is the responsibility of each faculty member to:
- Adhere to the University’s policies and procedures regarding students with disabilities.
- Provide accommodations in courses as specified in the Academic Adjustment Form.
- Coordinate extended time adjustments. Often, when a student qualifies for extended time, the typical times (before or after class) are not available because the student is enrolled in another class at those times. Instructors should work with the student and ODS to coordinate best alternatives which do not require the student to miss the other class.
- Be aware that ODS has a Disability Services Faculty Handbook and other resources that can be used in assisting students with disabilities.
- Add a statement to all course syllabi stating, “Students with a disability requiring accommodations/adjustments should contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS). An Academic Adjustment form 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.
- Choose textbooks and materials that will be easily accessible for individuals with disabilities.
- Provide upon assignment accessible classroom handouts, charts, notes, and materials or make arrangements for such with the student.
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 in order 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 ODS is essential for many services, especially for pre-enrollment planning, early registration permits, specialized orientations, and completion of the Academic Adjustment Forms.
Disability information is confidential and is released only upon consent of the student, unless where otherwise stated by law. Due to confidentiality issues, a student with a disability must present his/her own requests for accommodations/academic adjustments and services to the Office of Disability Services.
Evaluation of the 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 medical evaluations submitted by a physician or otherwise qualified specialist.
Documentation of a person’s disability must be current:
Learning Disabilities = No more than 5 years old
All others =No more than 3 years old
If the documentation is not current, a statement on letterhead from a qualified specialist may be used in combination with the original documentation. The letter should state that the condition has not changed and that the student remains under the supervision of a specialist. The ODS reserves the right to request more recent information. The documentation must also clearly state the nature of the disability.
For a learning disability, (i.e., visual-motor integration difficulties, auditory academic performance and accommodations that have been made in school), the report should describe the impact the disability has had on the academic performance and accommodations or adjustments that have been made in school.
If a student’s documentation is not current 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 with an agency outside the University. ODS is happy to provide names of possible assessment providers to students when available. Such a list would not be exhaustive and may not be current. It is the student’s responsibility to investigate and choose an assessment provider (counselor, physician, psychologist, etc.) and the student should ask questions about insurance and costs up front. The Office of Disability Services is not responsible for identifying such providers and does not recommend one specific provider over any other.
At this time, the University does not provide this type of assessment service. If at any time the University begins to offer such assessments through the Counseling Center, students will be informed of those services as well.
Exceptions to Standard Accommodations or Adjustments and Documentation
Provisional Status: The ODS reserves the right to provide a “provisional” active disability status for a specific time period in order for the student to receive services, until the student can provide updated documentation. If the student has not provided the documentation at the end of the agreed upon provisional time frame, the student will no longer receive services.
Veteran Documentation: Disability Services understands that documentation provided by the government or the military on behalf of veterans is often different in form, nature and information from those normally provided by civilian medical, psychological, or government groups and agencies. Therefore Disability Services will consider qualification of services from the military or government documents, the veteran is able to provide. Just as in other disability cases, veterans seeking services will be approved or disapproved for services on an individual case-by-case basis.
Temporary : Students who have temporary conditions or circumstances (i.e. pregnancy, broken leg, or injured dominant hand) which require short term accommodation, may bring documentation to the Office of Disability Services and receive services for a duration of time to be determined and agreed upon by the ODS and the student. After the agreed upon time frame services will end and/or any provided equipment such as wheelchairs etc., must be returned.
Requests for Academic Adjustments or 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 arrangements he/she may need. If the ODS determines the documentation to be current and appropriate documentation from the appropriate professional, the procedures herein shall be followed:
- Each semester the student meets with the ODS Director or Assistant Director or other qualified ODS staff, to discuss specific academic adjustments or accommodations. Ideally, this meeting should be scheduled prior to registration and not later than the first week of the semester. (Some students may not be able to present documentation until later in the semester due to having to go through an evaluation process to determine or diagnose the disability). The Academic Adjustment Form (Appendix A) is then completed with recommendations based on the documentation of the disability and signed by the ODS Director.
- Students are expected to deliver their forms to the appropriate faculty members no later than 10 days after the forms have been signed by ODS. The forms will expire after 10 days and services may not be provided until the student has updated the academic adjustment process with new signatures from ODS.
- The faculty member may accept the Academic Adjustments as written or may recommend additional adjustments.
- If no agreement can be reached, a meeting should be arranged between the student, faculty member, Director and/or Assistant Director of ODS and the Departmental Chair in order to develop an agreeable and acceptable plan.
- Copies of the Academic Adjustment forms signed by ODS and the Instructor, must be returned to the Office of Disability Services in order for the student’s adjustments to be officially registered. Additional copies of forms are available to the student and professor upon request.
- Signed copies of the Academic Adjustment forms are kept on file in the Office of Disability Services.
- The ODS reserves the right to revisit or amend the Academic Adjustment Plans or accommodations for a student depending on the circumstances (i.e., additional documentation has been provided, the diagnosis has changed etc.).
- All students must be provided grievance procedures upon registering with the ODS.
Parking: Students interested in handicapped parking permits should present those requests to the appropriate county government office. Other parking concerns such as temporary parking etc., may be addressed to the TTU Campus Police. The ODS does not handle parking permits, temporary, handicapped or otherwise.
Mandatory Reporting: Students are welcome to discuss problems or concerns with the ODS staff. However if at any time in conversation or action, an ODS staff member feels the student may be dangerous or suicidal, the ODS staff member will report this to supervisors, the Dean of Students, and the Counseling Center. It is also the policy of the Office of Disability Services to report to the appropriate authorities when a student appears to present a danger to himself or others.
Standardized Test Accommodations (ex. PRAXIS etc.): Students are responsible for requesting standardized testing accommodation or academic adjustment information from the ODS in advance of all disability deadlines required by an agency or test provider. Such agencies or providers may require the Office of Disability Services to qualify the student, or they may require that the student provide their information directly to them without ODS involvement.
Conflicts of Interest: ODS personnel have the responsibility to excuse themselves from a specific activity or service when a potential conflict exists (i.e. in the case of immediate family seeking services etc.) In such cases, the ODS Director or Assistant Director will designate a qualified person within the office to serve that student.
Account Holds: A hold will be placed on the student’s account and the student will not be able to register for classes, if loaned equipment or devices have not been returned at the end of the academic semester in which they were loaned.
Seizure Disorders: Students with seizure disorders are encouraged to register with the Office of Disability Services in order to file a seizure response plan. In case of seizures, it may be necessary for faculty and staff to contact emergency medical assistance. In most cases, faculty or staff will call 911.
Service Animals: Students who plan to use a Service dog or other service animal, must register with the Office of Disability Services.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service animal is defined as, “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do the work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. This includes but is not limited to:
- Guiding individuals with vision impairments.
- Alerting people with hearing impairments to sounds in their environment.
- Pulling a wheelchair or picking up dropped items for persons with mobility impairments.
Other information about Service Animals may be obtained from visiting the Office of Disability Services. Requirements of Service Animals and their owners include:
- Animal must be licensed and vaccinated in accordance with county, city, state regulations.
- Tags must be worn by the animal if regulation requires it.
- Animals must be in good health.
- Animals must be on a leash at all times.
- Owner must be in full control of the animal at all times.
- The owner must be able to provide documentation as to how the animal is of “service” to the person due to the disability.
- It is the owner’s responsibility to clean up after the animal and dispose of waste properly, control fleas, and keep up the general hygiene of the animal.
- Service animals exhibiting unacceptable behavior may need to be muzzled or may be required to undergo additional training before returning to campus.
Personal Care Assistant (or attendant): The ODS believes it is in the best interest of the student to personally hire or recruit a personal assistant who is not a relative. The ODS also understands that is not always possible. In the case of a personal assistant who is a relative, it will be necessary for the student to either take tests in the ODS under a staff proctor, or to test in class without the assistant’s help. A personal assistant should never complete academic work on behalf of the student, and should not participate in class discussions. In addition, the personal assistant is always welcome at meetings, but cannot substitute as the student. The student must be present.
Tennessee Technological University
Americans with Disabilities Act & American’s with Disabilities Amendment Act
Student Grievance Procedures
The purpose of this procedure is to provide a clean, orderly, and expedient method through which all students may process bona fide complaints related to Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which states in part, that “no otherwise qualified disabled individual shall, solely by reason of such disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination” in programs or activities sponsored by Tennessee Technological University.
This procedure is available to all students.
III. Steps for filing a complaint
A complaint should be addressed to the Director of the Office of Disability Services (ODS), University Center, Room 112, Tennessee Technological University, Box 5091, Cookeville, Tennessee 38505-0001, telephone number (931) 372-6119.
A complaint must be made in writing, (or verbally if the disability limits the person’s writing ability) and must provide the name and address of the person making the complaint, and brief description of the alleged violation of ADAAA regulations. A complaint form is available in the Office of Disability Services.
A complaint must be filed within ten (10) working days after the complainant becomes aware of the alleged violation.
The ODS Director will investigate the complaint. The investigation will include, but not necessarily be limited to, interviews with the complainant and with university personnel in charge of the area in which the alleged violation occurred. All involved parties will be provided an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to the complaint, and the investigation will be conducted in a manner which protects due process rights of parties concerned and also ensures that Tennessee Technological University complies with the ADAAA and its implementing regulations.
When the investigation is complete, the ODS Director will issue a written determination concerning the validity of the complainant and a description of the resolution if any. This statement will be provided to the complainant no later than twenty (20) days following receipt of the complaint. All complaints will be addressed in a timely manner in order to provide quick resolution.
V. Steps for filing an appeal
The complainant may request a reconsideration of the case in instances where he/she is dissatisfied with the resolution. Requests for reconsideration should be made in writing to the Vice President for Student Affairs, Tennessee Technological University, Box 5027, Cookeville, TN 38505-0001, within ten (10) working days from receipt of the determination. In addition, any individual reserves the right to contact the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights regarding ADAAA or Section 504 complaints.
VI. Maintenance of Records
The ODS Director will maintain University files and records relating to the complaint.
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:
- The student must make a written request on a “Request for Exception to University Requirement” form to the Office of Disability Services stating his/her request for 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 the request.
- The Director of 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 the 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.
- The committee will make a recommendation concerning the request to the appropriate College Dean or the Dean of the Graduate School.
- The Dean will review the committee’s recommendation and make a decision as to the student’s request.
- The University Admissions and Credits Committee reviews and approves or denies exceptions to University Policy for graduation.
- The student has the opportunity to appeal the decision made above by following the regular University appeal process.
Existing University grievance procedures are available for adjudication of complaints. See “Tennessee Technological University, Americans with Disabilities Act/ ADAAA Student Grievance Procedures.” (Appendix B) The grievance procedures are also available online and in the student handbook.
Other Grievance Procedures
Sexual Harassment: Any current or former student, applicant for employment, or current or former employee who believes he/she has been subjected to discrimination or harassment at TTU or who believes that he/she has observed discrimination or harassment taking place shall present the complaint to the designated EEO/AA Officer, Dean of Students, Title VI or Title IX Officer (hereinafter "the Investigator") responsible for compliance with this Policy.
Other concerns may be addressed in the TTU Human Resource Services Policies & Procedures, Section 3, Grievance and Complaint Policy and TTU Student Handbook, Grade Appeals Procedures. TBR policies and guidelines which may be applicable include Guideline P-080, Discrimination and Harassment - Complaint Investigation Procedure; and Guideline P-110, Employee Grievance/Complaint, and Guideline P-111, Support Staff Grievance.