Union College is committed to providing educational opportunities and an inclusive environment for students with disabilities by honoring Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and as amended in 2008, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of handicap against persons in programs or activities benefiting from federal assistance.
An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. https://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm
In a post-secondary setting, federal regulations mandate reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities, which are designed to provide equal access for people with disabilities.
Reasonable accommodations are made on an individual basis and determined in consultation between the student and the Director of the Teaching Learning Center. Determining appropriate accommodations is not meant to be an obstacle course for the student with a disability; rather, it is intended to support the student. The process for determining individual accommodations may depend on three of the following: an interview with the student, observation of such disability and documentation. Every student’s situation is different and therefore the lack of documentation will not prevent a student from meeting with the Director.
The first step in accessing accommodations is to make an appointment with the Director of the Teaching Learning Center.
- During this appointment the Director and the student will review any academic and accessibility needs, review documentation, and create an accommodation plan.
- Documentation is really helpful in discussing the accommodation plan; therefore, please bring any documentation to this appointment. Some examples of documentation include: IEP, 504 plans, MDTs, evaluations from a credential doctor, and school reports. Please review the Essential Elements of Documentation under the "Documentation" tab. If there is a need for more documentation the cost will be borne by the student.
- Once the accommodation plan is created, students will be able to complete the Semester Accessibility Accommodation form. This is completed at the beginning of each semester.
Each student who has an accommodation plan will submit a semester accommodation registration form. These assist the TLC in providing the accommodation. Any student needing assistance in completing this form may contact the TLC office.
To access accessibility accommodations, the student must have a documented or visible impairment as defined by the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.
The process for determining accommodation relies on an interview with the student and on documentation. Both the interview and documentation are helpful in discussing the accommodation plan. Examples of documentation are: MDTs, IEP, 504 plans, school reports, evaluations from a credential doctor or from appropriate licensed professionals. (See essential elements of documentation below.)
The TLC shall limit its requests for information to only the information necessary to verify whether the individual making the request has a disability and/or to evaluate if the reasonable accommodation is necessary. If the individual's disability and the necessity for the accommodation are obvious (e.g. an individual with a physical disability using a wheelchair needs an accessible room), the individual need only explain what type of accommodation he/she is requesting. No verification of disability and/or necessity is required under these circumstances.
If the interview and/or the initial documentation do not provide relevant information, and if the disability is obvious but the need for the accommodation is not, for the purpose of providing clarification, and in order to provide the requested accommodations, the TLC/accessibility office will have the discretion to require additional information based on the accommodation request.
The cost of obtaining documentation will be borne by the student.
Students planning on taking standardize exams for programs such as Physician Assistant, Nursing, Education, IRR/Paramedics, and graduate school, may apply for accommodations for these exams. Each student should review the documentation guidelines outlined by the respective testing companies.
Essential elements of documentation
- The credentials of the evaluator(s) - The best quality documentation is provided by a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional who has undergone appropriate and comprehensive training, has relevant experience, and has no personal relationship with the individual being evaluated. A good match between the credentials of the individual making the diagnosis and the condition being reported is expected (e.g., an orthopedic limitation might be documented by a physician, but not a licensed psychologist).
- A diagnostic statement identifying the disability
- A description of the diagnostic methodology used
- A description of the current possible barriers
Assistance Animal Policy
This policy explains the specific requirements and guidelines which govern requests for reasonable accommodation in college housing at Union College. The college reserves the right to amend this policy at any time as circumstances require.
Assistance Animals (also referred to as Emotional Support Animals or Therapy Animals) are not considered Service Animals under the ADA. Per the Fair Housing Act, the college provides reasonable accommodations for an Assistance Animal in college and residential housing. These animals must be contained within the privately assigned student living accommodation (room, suite, apartment, etc.). The TLC director will determine, on a case by case basis, whether an animal is a reasonable accommodation in college and residential housing. An Assistance Animal cannot be denied due to other resident’s allergies.
The following steps must be completed to request an Assistance Animal:
- Make an appointment with the TLC director. During the appointment, the director and the student will review any academic and accessibility needs, review documentation, and create an Accommodation Plan.
- Provide the following documentation to the TLC director:
- Complete the Housing and/or Dietary Accommodations Request Form. This includes, but is not limited to, Assistance Animals.
- Documentation is very helpful in developing the Accommodation Plan. Please talk to your professional or medical provider in order to obtain the appropriate documentation. Additionally, students requesting housing and/or dietary accommodations may need to provide the Union College Housing and/or Dietary Accommodation—Provider Verification of Request Form.
- All forms are available in the TLC office or on the TLC website.
- If the individual requires assistance in completing any form because of his/her disability, the TLC will provide assistance in completing the form.
- If the accommodation request for an Assistance Animal is not deemed necessary, the student may be asked to provide further documentation.
- Any time an accommodation request is denied, the student has the right to request a review of the denial or file a grievance. This is outlined in the Dispute of Resolution policy below.
Once the Accommodation Plan is completed, the TLC director will notify the designated campus housing coordinator regarding confirmation of the students housing accommodation plan. Notification of the Accommodation Plan does not include disclosure of the disability diagnosis. (See the TLC policy Confidential / Record keeping below.)
Care and supervision of an Assistance Animal
Once an Assistance Animal has been included in the Accommodation Plan, it is the responsibility of the student with a disability to provide care and supervision for the animal. This includes the following:
- Abide by current city, county, and state ordinances/laws/regulations pertaining to licensing, vaccination, and other requirements for animals (It is the student’s responsibility to know and understand these ordinances, laws and regulations). Lincoln, Nebraska pet ordinances may be found here: http://lincoln.ne.gov/city/health/animal/ordinances.htm
- Provide the appropriate animal licensing and vaccination documents to designated housing coordinator.
- The student is responsible for all clean up and proper dispose of the animal’s feces in a safe and sanitary manner.
- Be responsible for the Assistance Animal. If at any time the student is unable to care for the Assistance Animal, the student will be responsible in finding a caretaker. Additionally, all students living in a residence hall must inform the dean about these arrangements.
- Make sure that the Assistance Animal does not infringe on the rights of other residents (such as noise/barking).
- Any alterations to the property must be discussed and approved by the designated housing representative.
- When living in one of the residence halls, the assistance animal will remain in the assigned living space.
- When transporting the animal to and from the living space, they must be in a travel crate/cage or on a leash.
- The student must comply with all safety rules; including, but not limited to, fire and tornado drills.
The College will not ask for or require the student to pay a surcharge or to comply with other requirements generally not applicable to people without pets. However, the college may charge for any damage caused by an Assistance Animal.
The student must adhere to the Assistance Animal Policy. If the student fails to do so, one of the following will be implemented; the Accommodation Plan will be reviewed with the student for possible revisions, the student may be put on a probation status to allow time to resolve the complaint, or the student may be asked to remove the Assistance Animal. The college may ask for the removal of an Assistance Animal if:
- The Assistance Animal is out of control and the individual with a disability does not take effective action to control it;
- The Assistance Animal is not housebroken;
- The Assistance Animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or if the animal’s behavior, such as barking, is unreasonably disruptive to other participants within the housing facility;
- The Assistance Animal guidelines are not followed by the student.
The College will not tolerate or condone any harassment or retaliation against the handler or the animal.
Course Substitution Policy
In rare situations, a course substitution may be deemed as a verifiable academic accommodation. Such an accommodation is only approved for courses that are not an integral element to the field of study. A LEAD requirement conflicting with a verified academic accommodation may be met by substitution. An approved course substitution means hours are met through another course; it is not a waiver, or a reduction to degree completion. A substitution may not be based on an audited or previously failed course. It is also important to understand that the accommodation is not intended to shorten the student’s opportunity for learning. Rather, the goal is to provide equal access to achieving the desired learning goal.
To maintain academic integrity, the process for requesting a course substitution begins with a discussion between the student with a disability and the Director of the TLC. This initial meeting will verify the impact of the disability related to the materials of the course. After this is established, the student will submit a request for accommodation to the Vice President for Academic Administration. Each petition is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Flexible Attendance Policy
A flexible attendance accommodation may be necessary for students with disabilities that are chronic conditions, either random or cyclical, with acute episodes during the acute stage and that reach thresholds of substantial limitations. These episodes may warrant a need for flexible attendance accommodation. Like all accommodation request, a request for flexible attendance accommodation is not retroactive.
Union College bulletin outlines the policy for attendance as:
“The Union College faculty considers regular class attendance vital to learning, and students are expected to attend each class period. Each syllabus provides the policy for the course, which may include an automatic failing grade for absences (for whatever reason) from 20% of the regularly scheduled class periods. Individual instructors are responsible for determining the degree to which missed classroom activities and assignments can be made up”. (see the Union College Bulletin).
Students who are requesting flexible attendance as an accommodation will initiate the process with the director of the Teaching Learning Center (TLC). See TLC Accessibility Accommodations above. When flexible attendance is part of the Accommodation Plan, with the help of the TLC director, the student and the instructor will discuss the essential elements. There may be times when it is appropriate for the student and the TLC director to determine the accommodation for excused absences. In these cases, if there are concerns about the accommodation, the instructor may request a meeting with the student and the TLC director to evaluate additional appropriate attendance accommodation options.
The instructor’s course syllabi will help guide the discussion. Any aspects outlined regarding attendance will need to be addressed such as time in seat, late work, making up missed work, pop quizzes, take-home exams, off-campus requirements, and absences (excused and unexcused.) Additionally, the Office of Civil Rights has developed the following guiding questions:
- Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students, and among students?
- Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
- Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon student participation as an essential method for learning?
- To what degree does a student's failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class?
- What does the course description and syllabus say?
- Which method is used to calculate the final grade?
- What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?
Once the flexible attendance accommodation is outlined, the student will be expected to follow this plan. In some situations, a student may need to request an incomplete grade or an administrative withdrawal. These policies can be found in the Union College Bulletin.
A print-friendly PDF of this form may be found here.
Test Accommodation Policy
One of many accommodations the TLC provides is proctoring test (quizzes, test and exams) for student with disabilities; therefore, teamwork is required between the student, instructor and the TLC staff. Once a student has been approved for test accommodations, they will need to notify the TLC with their test request. This is done by submitting the online test request form. Preferably the request should be completed within three to five business days before each test. After the TLC has received the student’s request, an email will be sent to notify the instructor.
It is the responsibility of the instructor to read the notification from the TLC since details about the test time and other processes will need to be verified by the instructor. When scheduling a test for a student with a disability, instructors shall not create conflict with the student’s other class commitments. For example, asking a student to miss class in order to take an exam is unacceptable. Accommodations for pop quizzes will be arranged between the TLC, student and instructor.
Arrangements for the delivery of exams, tests or quizzes will be determined between the instructor and the TLC staff. Instructors are expected to have the test available and delivered to the TLC at least 15 minutes before the test begins. The student taking the exam will never deliver the test nor should it ever be delivered through inter-campus mail. Delivery of all exams to and from the TLC must be either hand-delivered or sent by email. If a test is delivered after TLC office hours, the exam may be placed in the locked drop box directly outside the TLC office.
When a test is returned to the instructor, the TLC staff will request a signature from the person receiving the test.
Students taking evening classes need to work closely with the TLC and the instructor to make appropriate accommodations.
Proctoring exams includes notifying instructors when a student is found cheating. The TLC staff proctoring the exam will stop the exam, call the instructor, and report the details of the situation. The instructor will then inform the TLC how to proceed.
Approved syllabus statements
Union College is committed to providing educational opportunities and an inclusive environment for students with disabilities by honoring Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and as amended in 2008. If you think you might qualify for accommodations please, contact the Teaching Learning Center/Accessibility Office at 402.486.2506 or email@example.com. Additionally, please let me know if you would like to discuss additional assistance in this class.
Distance Learning Accessibility Accommodations:
Union College is committed to providing educational opportunities and an inclusive environment for students with disabilities by honoring Section 504 of the Rehabilitation act of 1973, and with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and as amended in 2008. If you think you might qualify for accommodations please contact the Teaching Learning Center/Accessibility Office at 402.486.2506 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, please let me know if you would like to discuss additional assistance in this class.
To resolve disability-related disputes students are encouraged to first contact the Teaching Learning Center/accessibility services office at 402.486.2506. The ADA/504 Compliance Committee may be asked to assist in some dispute resolution instances.
If the dispute is not resolved the matter may be filled under the Union College internal grievance process. This policy and procedure is located in the Union College bulletin and the student handbook.
Anyone who believes there has been an act of discrimination by the college on the basis of disability against any person or group may file a complaint with the Kansas City Office for Civil Rights.
Kansas City Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
8930 Ward Parkway, Suite 2037
Kansas City, MO 64114-3302c
Telephone: 816.268.0550 or 1.800.233.3247
Confidential / Record keeping
In processing requests for reasonable accommodations, Union College will take all steps required by federal, state, and/or local law to protect the confidentiality of any information or documentation disclosed in connection with the requests. Such measures may include limiting access to such information to individuals specifically designated to determine and implement requests for reasonable accommodations, who will disclose the information only to the extent necessary to determine whether to grant the request, determine if the request is unreasonable, and implement any request granted, keeping all written requests and accompanying documentation in a secure area to which only those designated individuals have access, except as otherwise required by law.
Number of students with disabilities registered with the accessibility office: 77
Percentage of students with disabilities registered with the accessibility office: 8.6%
Number of students with disabilities registered with the accessibility office: 65
Percentage of students with disabilities registered with the accessibility office: 7.19%
Number of students with disabilities registered with the accessibility office: 58
Percentage of students with disabilities registered with the accessibility office: 6.54%
Number of students with disabilities registered with the accessibility office: 49
Percentage of students with disabilities registered with the accessibility office: 6.56%