Disabilities Accommodations

 

 Disabilities Accommodations

The College is committed to accommodating the special needs of individuals with disabilities for the purpose of providing access to its programs and services as required by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  This document establishes the policy and procedures for determining reasonable accommodations for students (matriculated and non-matriculated), employees and visitors to campus events, activities and programs.  The College has:

  • Established procedures to respond to requests for accommodations
  • Established procedures to provide notice to interested parties of the existence of a program of services, its location, identity of the person to contact to obtain information and services
  • Developed a program for the provision of services for students with disabilities

1.     Policy, Accessibilitiy and Equal Opportunity

It is College policy, in compliance with Federal law (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990), to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities on a case-by-case basis.   The institution and its employees shall comply with all applicable Federal laws and regulations regarding reasonable accommodations necessary to ensure equal opportunity to qualified individuals with disabilities.

Programs are expected to have the flexibility and capacity to provide reasonable accommodations when needs arise. Otherwise qualified individuals with documented disabilities (as defined by applicable state and federal regulations), are eligible to request reasonable accommodations.  The responsibility for initiating a request for accommodations lies with the individual with a disability. Every individual making a request for reasonable accommodations must provide sufficient documentation to support his or her request.  Submitted documentation must be from an appropriate, qualified professional.  In accordance with federal and state regulations, the College will treat disability-related information in a confidential manner.

Accommodations may be related to physical access to settings and facilities, curricular access, and/or fair conditions for student assessment and may include:

  • Materials (e.g. digital texts, digital class materials and handouts)
  • Tools  (e.g. computers and software)
  • Support  (e.g. note takers, interpreters)
  • Individual conditions (e.g. extended time for tests, alternative location)
  • Physical/structural features (e.g. elevators, furniture) 

 2.     Procedures for Accessing Accommodations

         A.  Requests for Accommodation

         1.   A request and determination of an accommodation is handled through the designated campus contact.  Students with disabilities should contact the Coordinator of Disability Support Services, 315-312-3358, employees should contact the Director of Human Resources, 315-312-2230, and all other requests should be directed to the office sponsoring the specific program or activity.

         2.  Individuals with disabilities may choose to self-disclose, to the appropriate campus contact, information about their disability at any time.  However, in order to ensure sufficient time to coordinate auxiliary aids and services, it is the responsibility of the individual to make the request in a timely manner.  If a request is made after a designated deadline, every effort will be made to accommodate the request.  However, because many accommodations require early planning, it cannot be guaranteed that all requests for accommodations will be met.  Untimely requests may result in delay, substitution, or denial of an accommodation.

      3. The responsibility for requesting or initiating a request for accommodation lies with the individual with a disability.  Students with off-campus program requirements such as an internship or student teaching placement are encouraged to request accommodations at least one semester prior to the semester he or she will be participating in the off-campus program.

      4.  Verification of a disability is required.  It is the responsibility of the individual with a disability to provide documentation that supports her or his request for reasonable accommodation.  Disability documentation must clearly indicate:

        a.  the existence of a disability (as defined by state and federal regulations);

        b.  that the disability substantially limits a major life activity, including a statement of the nature and extent of the limitations; and,

        c. a statement of what accommodation(s) is recommended

          Specific guidelines for documentation of a disabling condition may be obtained from the Disability Support Services Office.

      5. Once a qualified individual with a disability has requested an accommodation, the designated campus contact will take steps to determine an appropriate accommodation.  The appropriateness of an accommodation is often determined through a flexible, interactive process that involves the individual with a disability and the designated campus contact.  Early consultation is essential whenever questions of compliance and/or funding for an accommodation are involved.

      6.  Final responsibility for selection of the most appropriate accommodation rests with the institution (See Sections C and D for appeal/grievance procedures).

    B.       Reasonable Accommodations

     1.  Factors to determine whether a requested accommodation is considered reasonable include:

         a.  the individual is “otherwise qualified”

         b. the request does not fundamentally alter the essential elements of a program

         c. the request does not create an undue financial or administrative burden

         d.  the request does not create a danger to others

         e. the request is not of a “personal” nature

      2.  Students with disabilities will be expected to meet the academic and technical standards of a course or program with or without reasonable accommodations.  The types of accommodations provided to individuals with disabilities may vary according to the nature of the disability and the physical environment or course content.

       3. An employee with a disability must be able to perform the essential functions of his or her job with or without reasonable accommodations.

  C.       Appeal of Accommodation Determination

Employees, students and visitors have an opportunity to appeal a decision regarding an accommodation.  Appeals may be handled informally in a case review involving the person seeking accommodation(s), the designated campus contact and the appropriate faculty, administrator or supervisor.  If a mutually acceptable accommodation cannot be determined with the designated campus contact and relevant SUNY at Oswego personnel, an internal complaint may be filed with the Affirmative Action Officer (see Section E).

  D.       Grievance Procedure

The College has adopted an internal grievance procedure for the provision of prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging discrimination.  Individuals with a disability at the College, who consider themselves victims of discrimination based on a disability, may file a grievance with the Affirmative Action Officer.  Procedures for students wishing to file a discrimination grievance are identified in the Student Handbook, section on College Policies, specifically under Discrimination and Filing Complaints.  Additionally, procedures for employees and/or students wishing to file a complaint may also be obtained from the Affirmative Action Officer.  The Affirmative Action Officer shall receive any complaint of alleged discrimination, shall assist the complainant in defining the charge, and shall provide the complainant with information regarding the options for filing internal complaints or external complaints through the federal Office of Civil Rights and/or the New York State Division of Human Rights.

  E.       Disability Accommodations Resources

   Questions or concerns regarding policy, services, or allegations of noncompliance should be directed to the designated campus contact:

          Dr. Starr Wheeler, Coorddinator of Disability Support Services and ADA/504 Coordinator,  155 Marano Campus Center, 315-312-3358, starr.wheeler@oswego.edu

          Amy Plotner, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources, 410 Culkin Hall, 315-312-2215, amy.plotner@oswego.edu

Individuals who believe they have experienced discrimination on the basis of disability and have been unable to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution with the designated campus contact and appropriate personnel may file a grievance with the Affirmative Action Officer.  Individuals should contact Howard Gordon, Affirmative Action Officer, howard.gordon@oswego.edu

3. The Designated Campus Contacts for Students with Disabilities

The Disability Services Office coordinates services for students with disabilities.  The Coordinator of Disability Support Services collects student disability related documentation, evaluates requests from students for reasonable accommodations and coordinates appropriate services.  Final determination as to the appropriateness of an accommodation to the college setting is evaluated on a case by case basis and rests with the College.  The Coordinator of Disability Support Services also assists faculty, staff and students with information and resources relating to disabilities and serves as a consultant for persons needing information or referrals to outside agencies or professionals.

Programs, activities, and services include but are not limited to meetings, conferences, public events, public meetings, performances, social events, etc.  Persons with disabilities visiting the campus should contact the designated departmental personnel conducting or coordinating specific activities, programs or events they will be attending.  The designated departmental personnel conducting or coordinating the specific activity, program or event should consult with the ADA/504 Coordinator (see Section E) if they require assistance to determine how best to meet the needs of individual visitors with disabilities.

4. The Designated Campus Contacts for Employees with Disabilities

The Director of Human Resources is the designated contact person for employees with disabilities requesting reasonable accommodations.  The Director of Human Resources follows policy and procedures for employee requests for accommodations. (Procedures for Implementing Reasonable Accommodation in NYS Agencies and Facilities).  The Director of Human Resources is available to assist faculty and staff in gaining a greater understanding of the law and to clarify institutional obligations under the law to provide reasonable accommodations.

5. Event/Program Accessibility - Procedures for Sponsors

Individuals responsible for planning campus-sponsored events should adhere to the procedures below in order to facilitate accessibility.

   A.       Whenever possible, events should be scheduled at physically accessible locations.  When viewed in its entirety, programs and activities should be readily accessible, or made accessible, through reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities.

   B.       Publications, including but not limited to brochures, registration forms, press releases, and posters announcing public programs and events should include an accessibility statement.  The inclusion of the following statement on announcements and publications places the responsibility of requesting needed auxiliary aids and services on participants, and provides departmental staff with advance notice should they need to arrange for any requested accommodations:

          Persons with disabilities, needing accommodations to attend this event, should contact (name/department) at (phone #) three weeks in advance of the event.

   C.       A reasonable advance notice of at least 3 weeks should be given by anyone requesting accommodations.  However, with the goal of providing access to and participation in all College programs, services and activities, every effort will be made to respond to requests for reasonable accommodations within a reasonable time frame.

   D.       You may wish to consult with the ADA/504 Coordinator regarding auxiliary aids and services, resources available, agency referral, and the determination of the appropriateness of accommodations.