The Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities. These laws require the College to provide reasonable accommodations for otherwise qualified students with disabilities. Generally, the term “disability” means that an individual has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. This policy is intended to guide the student disability accommodation process once a request for an academic accommodation has been made.
Individuals with questions about this policy or who wish to request an accommodation, including prospective students who may need a disability accommodation during the admissions process, should contact the Student Accessibility Resources Office. The Student Accessibility Resources Office contact information is as follows:
Columbia College Student Accessibility Resources Office
1001 Rogers Street
Atkins-Holman Student Commons
Columbia, MO 65216
This policy applies to all student requests for accommodations under the ADA and Section 504.
The Interactive Process Between the College and the Student
- At the postsecondary level, students are required to self-identify as a person with a disability and affirmatively make a request for an accommodation to the College. Once a request has been made, the College will engage in an interactive process with the student to determine what, if any, reasonable accommodations are available.
- A student requesting an accommodation based on a disability must have a disability covered by law and be qualified with or without reasonable accommodation. The College is only obligated to provide reasonable accommodations, and it not required to fundamentally alter its programs to accommodate a student. Thus, not all accommodation requests will necessarily be granted.
- Accommodation requests and supporting documentation are reviewed on an individualized, case-by-case basis. As such, approved accommodations may vary from person to person and from environment to environment for students with the same disability diagnosis. Documentation of a specific disability does not translate directly into specific accommodations.
- During the interactive process, appropriate College officials may be consulted to determine the appropriateness of requested accommodations and how best to implement certain accommodations.
- Temporary accommodations may be available while the College engages in the interactive process to determine whether ongoing accommodations is appropriate and, if so, what reasonable accommodations are needed. However, temporary accommodations do not reflect a determination that ongoing accommodation will be granted and/or what reasonable accommodations are appropriate, nor do they create an obligation on the part of the College to continue accommodating the student.
B. Requesting Accommodations and Documentation
- Students should complete the online student accommodation application process to make a request for accommodations. After doing so, the Student Accessibility Resources Office will contact the student to arrange a meeting to discuss the requested accommodations. Students should not make accommodation requests directly to faculty members; if this occurs, faculty members will refer students to the Student Accessibility Resources Office. Similarly, faculty members or other College employees should not provide accommodations to students that have not been approved by the Student Accessibility Resources Office through this policy. All faculty member and other College employees are expected to implement approved accommodations.
- The College encourages the timely request of accommodations prior to the start of a school term because the documentation and determination process may take some time. However, accommodation requests can be made and will be accepted and considered at any time. Do note, though, that granted accommodations are not effective retroactively so that students will not be able to re-do assignments or re-take exams with accommodations that they originally took before they asked for and received accommodations.
- Some common accommodation requests include: testing services (including extended time on exams and/or reduced distraction rooms), reader, recording lectures, note taker, magnified text, and specific classroom seating. This list is not exhaustive and students should feel free to request other accommodations for consideration by the College.
- Appropriate supporting documentation will be requested. This may vary depending on the circumstances but should generally include (1) a description of the qualified professional's credentials, (2) a description of disability-related impairments as they relate to the student's ability to learn and participate in the academic program, (3) a description of any tests, assessments, facts, observations, records, other materials, and/or evaluations that the professional relied on in arriving at their specific diagnosis, and (4) a list of accommodations which the professional believes would allow the student to fully and equally participate in their educational program and how the professional expects the suggested accommodations to help the student.
- Note that specific accommodations being recommended by a professional do not guarantee that those accommodations will be granted and the College may provide alternative accommodations instead.
- While documentation of past accommodation history is important and will be considered, it is not decisive as to what accommodations will be granted by the College.
- The College reserves the right to request additional documentation if the initial documentation does not provide sufficient information.
Implementation of Approved Accommodations
Once a student has been approved for accommodations, the Student Accessibility Resources Office will prepare a document outlining these accommodations. This document will be emailed to the faculty and the student. It is the student’s responsibility to discuss the approved accommodations with the faculty member in each course for which the student wants the accommodations to be implemented.
A student who believes that an approved accommodation is not being appropriately implemented, or is otherwise having difficulty with a faculty member related to accommodations, should review Section V, below, for guidance in handling the situation.
Checking-In, Modifications, and Additional Accommodations
It is the student’s responsibility to contact and engage the Student Accessibility Resources Office in a discussion when the need arises to discuss the implementation of the student’s accommodations, identify any issues of concern, discuss the student’s upcoming class schedule, consider whether any additional accommodations are necessary or if current accommodations need to be modified, etc. The Student Accessibility Resources Office will presume the approved accommodations are being implemented effectively unless the Student Accessibility Resources Officer hears otherwise.
It is recommended that students contact the Student Accessibility Resources Office with any identified needs prior to the start of a term. However, students who have been granted accommodations may request additional accommodations and/or modifications to their already granted accommodations at any time by contacting the Student Accessibility Resources Office.
Grievance Procedures Related to Disability Accommodations
The College maintains a specific policy for addressing grievances and/or concerns related to this policy. If a student believes they were wrongfully denied accommodation(s), believes the final accommodation(s) provided are not reasonable, believes that the approved reasonable accommodation(s) were not provided, or if the student believes for any other reason that unlawful discrimination, harassment or a violation of rights with respect to the granting or implementation of accommodation(s) under the ADA and/or Section 504 have occurred, they should follow the process set forth in the College’s ADA and Section 504 Grievance Policy for Students.