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Policies & Procedures

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations will be provided to students with disabilities that are properly registered with Disability Support Services according to definitions under both Section 504 and the ADA. The language in both documents requires "changes in policies and procedures that are necessary to provide goods, services, facilities, or privileges to individuals with disabilities."

These accommodations are required of the University unless it can be demonstrated that "making such modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of such goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations" (i.e., modifications that extend beyond the classroom but do not affect a change in the curriculum, or those which do not impose an undue administrative or financial burden on the university). Students cannot be charged extra fees for any auxiliary aids that they may need to participate in a program or service.

Procedures for Accommodations

Students with disabilities have the same responsibilities as all other students regarding class attendance and assignments. Those who are absent due to illness or hospitalization must contact their professor and/or the Disability Support Services to discuss arrangements for making up assignments.

Faculty should sign off on the accommodations letters sent by the Disability Support Services coordinator. Students who require extended time for exams must inform their faculty as well as the coordinator of Disability Support Services about the length of time needed to accomplish various tasks.

If students have a commonly known disability, their professors/instructors may engage in a discussion with the student about accommodations if there are academically related performance problems, namely, failing grades in courses or class work and continuing absences.

Student Registration with the Disability Support Services

The disabled students at the University should inform Disability Support Services of the existing disability and demonstrate that the disability substantially limits a major life activity. The University is not responsible for seeking out disabled students or for initiating the proper accommodations for them.

Procedures for Registration

Students must register with the Disability Support Services before classes begin each semester. Students must have documented proof of their disabilities from a medical doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, vocational rehabilitation counselor, or other licensed professional. There must be a stated recommendation of reasonable accommodation by the evaluator in the above mentioned documentation. Handwritten documentation will not be accepted.

Procedures for Meeting Disability Requirements

The student must meet the academic and non-academic requirements of the University in order for the institution to be obligated to provide accommodations. After notification of acceptance to Bowie State University, students with special needs who require interfacing with the Health Services Office must provide a detailed health history and must schedule a meeting with the Director of the Health Services Office to discuss their needs.

At the beginning of each semester, students must make an appointment with all of their instructors/professors to discuss their specific needs. These appointments should be scheduled for some time during the faculty’s normal office hours.

Confidentiality

All information related to the student’s disability is confidential. It will not be made available except to ensure that appropriate accommodations are being provided. The University has no legal right to release neither information nor documentation pertaining to the disabled students. This information can only be released upon the written request of the individuals.

Procedure for Confidentiality

Students with disabilities will sign a consent form, if necessary, that authorizes the release of information and medical records to the faculty and Office of Student Support Services in order to obtain special accommodations and/or services.

Waivers

The University reserves the right to maintain academic requirements, allowing no change that would demonstrably create a significant alteration in an essential aspect of the curriculum. Waivers of non-essential requirements will be left to the discretion of the University. For adjustments in academic requirements, the coordinator of Disability Support Services will consult with the appropriate departmental chairperson or dean for proper review. The authorization is to be renewed every semester.

Temporary Disability

Temporary disability will be determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the duration or the expected duration of the impairment as well as the limitation on life activities.

ADA Accessible Locations

Exams and classes will be held in ADA accessible locations. If the original location for the exam or class is not ADA accessible, alternative accessible arrangements will be made in advance.

"Disruptive" Disabled Students

Poor judgment, irresponsible behavior, and lack of impulse control do not constitute an impairment which substantially limits a major life activity. Basic personality traits do not rise to the level of impairment.

Bowie State University may withdraw such students or compel the students to undergo psychological or psychiatric evaluation or treatment when it has made a factual determination that they have demonstrated overt conduct or behavior indicating that they pose a significant or appreciable risk of harm or danger to themselves or others. The University may also withdraw students who pose a substantial risk of being unable to meet reasonable University standards for safe participation in its programs. Moreover, Bowie State University is not required to retain or readmit a student with a disability whose behavior poses a direct threat to the safety of others.

ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATIONS AND AUXILIARY AIDS

Academic Accommodations

University policy, state, and federal laws require that students with disabilities be provided effective auxiliary aids and accommodations. This means that when students with documented disabilities identify themselves or present an accommodation letter from Disability Support Services, faculty should immediately begin to work with the disabled students so that they will be able to participate in the academic activities of non-disabled students.

Disability Support Services: Role, Responsibilities, and Services

The coordinator of Disability Support Services is responsible for ensuring that disabled students who are identified and registered with Disability Support Services receive the necessary academic accommodations and auxiliary aids. The coordinator’s responsibilities also include determining eligibility for participation of students with disabilities in the academic accommodations process based upon a review of appropriate documentation, determining the appropriate accommodation for each student based on the individual's need, ensuring that the student receives the appropriate accommodation, and interacting with administrators and faculty when appropriate.

Disability Support Services and the students with disabilities will assume most of the responsibility for arranging and providing accommodations; however, there are certain areas where the assistance of faculty is necessary. All of these services are provided at no charge to the student. There must be a documented disability and related need for services or accommodations. There are written procedures for the services and accommodations provided by Disability Support Services. It is the student’s responsibility to contact Disability Support Services to discuss and review procedures. However, there are appropriate restrictions or limitations on some of the services and accommodations provided. Therefore, Bowie State University and Disability Support Services reserve the right to determine the most appropriate and effective disability accommodations after consultation with disabled students.

The provision of any disability service or accommodation neither ensures nor guarantees a students’ success on/or in any test or course. The following are some of the Academic Auxiliary Aids and Accommodations:

    • Priority registration for classes
    • Early syllabus
    • Advocacy for appropriate and reasonable accommodation
    • Note-takers, readers, scribes
    • Textbooks on tape; large print texts
    • Special adaptive equipment such as braille and computer technology
    • Consultation(s) with students, professors, or teaching assistants about disability accommodations for courses
    • Referral of students suspected of having a learning disability or Attention Deficit Disorder.

The services provided by Disability Support Services are:

  • Academic advisement in consultation with associated departments
  • Classroom accommodation
  • Alternative testing
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Academic accommodations and auxiliary aids
  • Part-time enrollment
  • Referral to tutorial services on campus
  • Testing accommodation (extended time, readers, taping of exams, scribes, large print, and separate space)
  • Special seating in classes
  • Orientation and mobility training for blind students
  • Removal of architectural barriers that limit or deny program access
  • Permission to record lectures
  • Recommendation to relocate classes or other campus activities scheduled in inaccessible locations

RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE UNIVERSITY, FACULTY, AND STUDENTS

Rights and Responsibilities of Students with Disabilities

Individuals with disabilities have the right to equal access to programs offered at Bowie State University. Individuals with disabilities have the same obligations as other students to meet and maintain the institution’s academic and technical standards.

Individuals with disabilities have a responsibility to identify themselves as needing accommodations in a timely fashion. When the disability is not obvious, the student must provide documentation from an appropriate professional.

Individuals with disabilities have the right to equal opportunities to learn. They have a right to reasonable accommodation in various aspects of their educational experiences such as location, delivery system, or instructional methodologies that limit access, participation, or their ability to benefit.

Individuals with disabilities have the right to an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the academic community. This includes access to services, benefits, activities, housing, and transportation. These services must be comparable to those provided to any student.

Individuals with disabilities have the responsibility to advocate for their own needs and to seek information and assistance, as is necessary, required for them to be effective.

Individuals with disabilities must provide documentation not older than three years from an appropriate professional if the disability is not obvious, but if they are "regarded as being disabled," it is their responsibility to demonstrate or document how their disability limits their ability to benefit from a particular instructional method or evaluation criteria when a request is made for accommodations.

Individuals with disabilities have the right of confidentiality of all information and can choose to whom information pertaining to their disabilities should be disclosed.

Individuals with disabilities have the right to information regarding the availability of auxiliary aids, and other possible accommodations, as well as the procedure for making a request for special assistance.

Individuals with disabilities have the responsibility to follow published procedures for making such requests and must do so in a timely fashion. Information on the procedure can be obtained in Disability Support Services.

Individuals with disabilities have the right to appeal a decision by the Institution regarding auxiliary aids or modifications, and must be informed of procedures for initiating an appeal. Information on the appeals process can be obtained in Disability Support Services.

When requesting accommodations, individuals with disabilities have a responsibility to demonstrate or document how their disability affects a particular delivery system, instructional method, or evaluation criteria.

Individuals with disabilities have a responsibility to actively participate in the search for accommodations and auxiliary aids. This responsibility extends to working with the University to seek financial assistance from government agencies and private sources.

Rights and Responsibilities of Bowie State University

Bowie State University recognizes that it has the following basic rights and responsibilities:

1) To identify and maintain the academic and technical standards that are fundamental to providing a quality academic program, while ensuring the right of individuals with disabilities.

2) To identify and establish the abilities, skills, and knowledge necessary for success in its programs and to evaluate applicants and students on this basis.

3) To ensure that its recruitment information and activities are available in accessible format and facilities for all students.

4) To evaluate applicants solely on their abilities and ensure that an evaluation method or criterion does not unfairly discriminate against an applicant with a disability.

5) To select and administer tests used to evaluate students to ensure that test results accurately reflect aptitudes or competencies and do not discriminate against an individual with a disability. Tests designed to measure specific skills related to fundamental course goals are allowable, even when the disability impacts those skills.

6) To identify and establish the skills and knowledge that are fundamental to academic programs and courses and to evaluate each student’s performance against these standards. Fundamental program and course standards are not subject to modification.

7) To adjust, substitute, or waive any academic requirement that unfairly discriminates against a student with a disability and that is not essential to the integrity of the student’s academic program.

8) To make reasonable accommodations for a student with a disability in the delivery, instructional method, and evaluation system of a course.

9) To ensure that all programs are accessible and usable, including, but not limited to, academic offerings, housing, transportation, student organizations, counseling, and career services.

10) To request documentation no older than three years as proof of a disability. The documentation must support the request for accommodation. The University has a right to deny a request if the documentation fails to verify a need for an accommodation, or if the individual fails to provide requested documentation.

11) To refuse any unreasonable accommodation, or one that imposes an undue hardship on the University.

12) To select and recommend accommodations that are equally effective for individuals with disabilities.

13) To inform employees, applicants, and students about the availability of auxiliary aids and the types of possible accommodations available, as well as the procedures for requesting them.

14) If a request is denied, Bowie State University has the responsibility to inform individuals of their right to appeal the decision and the procedures for initiating an appeal.

Responsibilities of Bowie State University Faculty Include:

1) Discussing with the coordinator of Disability Support Services any concerns related to the accommodations or arrangements that have been requested by the student during their initial contacts.

2) Determining the conditions under which an exam is to be administered (e.g., open book, use of notes, computer with word processing, including spell check, formula sheet, calculator, scrap paper, dictionary, etc.).

3) Providing appropriate accommodations, either personally or by making arrangements with the coordinator of Disability Support Services.

4) If a student's exam is to be administered outside of class, ensuring the timely delivery of the exam, along with all necessary instructions and materials for proper administration. The faculty members may also make arrangements with the student for the delivery and return of the exam.

5) Ensuring the confidentiality of information regarding students with disabilities.

Disability Support Services does not give advance notice to faculty of disabled students who are enrolled in their classes. Students are not expected or required to provide faculty with detailed documentation about their disabilities. In fact, from a legal standpoint, it is strongly advisable that faculty not expect or request such detailed documentation from the student. It is, however, entirely appropriate for faculty to request that the students provide verification from Disability Support Services that they are registered with Disability Support Services.

It is important to remember that the large majority of Bowie State University students with disabilities have non-visible disabilities, such as: learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, low vision, partial hearing, and loss of hearing. They also may have psychiatric disorders such as: major depression and permanent medical conditions such as diabetes, multiple chemical sensitivities, Crohn’s disease, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Some students also may have temporary disabilities or conditions. In the case of students with visible disabilities, their needs and accommodations may be more apparent than those with learning disabilities or other non-visible disabilities.