Siena Heights University's Office of Accessibility is committed to providing appropriate auxiliary aids and services to afford qualified students with disabilities equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of University services, programs, and activities. A qualified student with a disability is a student with a disability who meets the academic and technical standards requisite for admission or participation in the institution's educational program or activities.
The process for providing auxiliary aids and services is student-driven. The student contacts the Office of Accessibility and provides information and documentation regarding his/her disability in a confidential setting. A medical diagnosis of an illness/disability does not automatically mean a student can receive services under Section 504. The illness/disability must cause a substantial limitation on the student's ability to learn or another major life activity including walking, standing, breathing, thinking, concentrating, speaking, communicating, seeing, hearing, working and caring for oneself.
Once it is determined that there is an eligibility under Section 504 or the ADA, then appropriate accommodations (based on the disability and course requirements) are communicated through letters delivered by the student to the student’s instructors. Siena Heights is not required to make adjustments or provide aids or services that would result in a fundamental alteration of a program or impose an undue burden.
- Visual Impairment: blindness or visual loss severe enough to impede the educational process (i.e. legally blind or blind)
- Communication Impairment: impairment in speech which indicates a need for accommodation.
- Mobility Impairment: impairment in movement or motor functions which indicates a need for an accommodation.
- Learning Disability: learning disorders are diagnosed when an individual’s performance on a standardized test in listening comprehension, oral expression, reading, mathematics, or written expression is substantially below the expected achievement. The learning problems must significantly interfere with academic achievement or activities of daily living that require language, reading, mathematical and writing skills.
- Functional limitations: any medical or emotional condition which impedes the educational process—such as cardiovascular disease, lupus, cancer diabetes, ADHD, PTSD.
- Deafness: severe or profound hearing loss requiring communication facilitation in the educational process.
PROCEDURE FOR REQUESTING ACCOMMODATIONS
As early in the semester as possible, or before the start of the school year, the student should initiate contact with the Office of Accessibility to register and request accommodations. At this time, the student should provide the office with the most current documentation regarding a disability. The documentation must meet the guidelines established by the university and must explain how the disability substantially limits the student.
The student should plan on meeting with the Coordinator of the Office of Accessibility to review how the disability substantially limits the student and determine what reasonable accommodations would be appropriate. Recommendations from the documentation and consultation with the student are both used to determine the accommodations. Final determination of accommodations rests with the Office of Accessibility.
If a student is determined to be eligible for accommodations the Confidential Notification of Accommodations letter is processed for each course in which the student may need accommodations. The process for the student to self-disclose the information to the faculty is then reviewed.
It is the student’s responsibility to request a meeting during office hours with the appropriate professors, and meet with them privately. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the student’s strengths and disability, and to work out the logistics of providing the approved accommodations. This self-disclosure should be done with the rights of the student and faculty member kept in mind. The process for determining eligibility and appropriate accommodations can take 2 weeks (or more if additional documentation is needed). It is strongly recommended that students initiate the process as early in the semester as possible, before they experience difficulty or failure. ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT RETROACTIVE. Accommodations are meant to give students with disabilities equal access /opportunity in academics and activities. They are not meant to ensure that a student receives a passing grade. The student is responsible for advocating for himself/herself, participating in classes, fulfilling course requirements and earning grades.
The following accommodations are available to students who have provided documentation of their disability:
- Special testing and exam conditions such as; extended time, distraction free locations, oral exams, scribe support
- Tape record lectures and discussions
- Use of a calculator on tests
- Use of a university computer for tests
- Alternative texts (enlarged, audio)
All information submitted to the Office will be handled in a confidential manner. Student records that are presented to the Office will be kept in a locked file in the coordinator’s office. Information contained in the students’ files are considered part of their educational records and are protected by The Family Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA-1974). Information from these record may be released under the following circumstances:
- Court order
- In an emergency situation involving the student
- To university personnel who have a legitimate educational interest
- To those individuals listed on the student’s release of information form.
The Office of Accessibility Release of Information form completed and signed by the student will be the vehicle used to determine the information to be released to the designated individuals and organizations. The Office will adhere to all state and federal laws governing release of student information. The guiding principles in the release of confidential student information will be both protection from discrimination and for the purpose of respecting personal dignity and privacy.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was enacted to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination in several critical areas including education. Students with disabilities are responsible for contacting the Office of Accessibility if reasonable accommodations are not implemented in a timely and effective manner. The Office will work with university personnel to resolve the issue. If no effective resolution to the complaint can be reached, the student then has the option to file a formal complaint with the ADA compliance officer. The student will secure and complete the “Formal Grievance” form that is available from the coordinator of the Office or from the university compliance officer. The form should be completed, signed, dated and delivered to the university ADA compliance officer: the director of Human Resources.
If the student believes the grievance has not yet been resolved to his or her satisfaction, he/she may appeal the decision to the office of the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.