Take a look at the policies and procedures below when using disability accommodations.
The University shall provide, upon request, academic adjustments for students who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. An academic adjustment is defined by this policy as any reasonable accommodation for a student’s disability as required by federal regulations.
If a student with a disability requires an adjustment, the student must present relevant, verifiable, professional documentation or assessment reports, confirming the existence of the disability, to the Director of Disability Services for review. The student should submit the Disability Accommodations Application to begin the process. Students will have the option to meet face-to-face or to work with the office via official University electronic means (e.g., University email, communication through Blackboard, or by telephone). See contact information below. Further documentation may be required to confirm the disability claim or to assist the University in determining the appropriate academic adjustment. An interview with the Disability Accommodations Coordinator or the Director may be required for this purpose. Following its review, the Disability Accommodations Coordinator or the Director will reach a determination regarding the existence of the disability for purposes of providing an academic adjustment. Information concerning a student's disability will be treated in a confidential manner in accordance with University policy as well as applicable federal and state law.
The student will be informed of the Director’s determination within 15 calendar days. If the determination confirms the existence of a disability requiring an academic adjustment, the student may meet with the Director to explore possible adjustments.
A letter describing the adjustment the University will provide the student will be issued to the student within 15 calendar days after the formal request, and all documentation is received. The student will have the responsibility of delivering the letter to, and conferring with, her or his professors concerning the implementation of the adjustment. If the academic adjustment is not provided or followed as outlined, the student shall report the matter to the Director within 15 calendar days.
To allow adequate time to evaluate the data properly and notify the parties involved, the following cut-off dates for application shall apply:
- Fall: Nov. 15
- Spring: April 1
If the Director does not confirm the disability or the need for an academic adjustment, the student may challenge the determination by following the procedures outlined below.
This policy applies to students with disabilities as defined by Section 504 and the ADA. A person is disabled if she or he:
- Has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activities;
- Has a record of such impairment; or
- Is regarded as having such impairment.
Physical or mental impairments that fall within discrimination prohibitions include:
- Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or
- Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
Physical or mental impairments include (but are not limited to) such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, and drug addiction and alcoholism. It does not include current or illegal substance abuse.
Major life activities include functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, sitting, standing, lifting, reaching, thinking, concentrating, reading, interacting with others, learning and working.
A student who has followed the procedures identified in this policy and does not agree with the determination of academic adjustment, and who has a mental or physical impairment as defined above, may file a grievance by using the “Student Grievance Procedures” policy listed on the following page.
Student records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
DA respects the confidential nature of disability-related information. Texas Wesleyan University and DA have an obligation to maintain the confidentiality of such documentation.
Access by University personnel to disability-related information housed in DA office is on a need-to-know basis and only for the purpose of assuring appropriate accommodations. Instructors are regularly apprised of the confidential nature of disability-related information shared with them. Accommodation letters prepared by DA for instructors do not give specific diagnoses. Instead, the letters explain that the student has provided appropriate documentation of a disability and lists the approved academic accommodations for that student.
On a legitimate, educational need-to-know basis, DA staff may discuss the impact or impairments caused by the disability and the corresponding accommodations approved with appropriate individuals on campus. Circumstances may include housing arrangements, academic accommodations, instructional strategies and resources or other circumstances specific to the individual.
The Texas Wesleyan University and DA are prohibited by law from releasing any disability-related records or personally identifying information to any entity outside The University including documentation provided to DA by the student unless the student provides written permission or there is a court order.
Entities outside The University include parents of students over the age of 18. A specific release of information must be signed and in the file giving staff permission to discuss student-specific information with parents. The student may request or approve the release of such information to persons or agencies outside The University by signing a Release of Information (PDF).
Disability Accommodations (DA) staff are designated as responsible employees. A responsible employee is a University employee who has the duty to report incidents of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Office (or designee), or an employee whom an individual could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. Sexual misconduct includes sex and gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, stalking, sexual exploitation, and any other forms of inappropriate sexual conduct. For more information about our policies on sexual misconduct, please visit the Title IX: Prevention and Response to Gender Discrimination. Information related to incidents of sexual misconduct that is disclosed in documentation may be reported to the Title IX Office. Disability/diagnostic information will be kept in accordance with DA’s Confidentiality Guidelines.
Texas Wesleyan University acts in accordance with three relevant federal laws: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
“No otherwise qualified person with a [disability] in the United States shall, solely by reason of a [disability], be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
A person with a disability is an individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. An individual is considered to be a person with a disability if he/she (1) has a disability, (2) has a history of a disability or (3) is perceived by others as having a disability.
A qualified person with a disability is defined as a person who meets the requisite academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in the post-secondary institution’s programs and activities.
Under the provisions of Section 504, Texas Wesleyan University may not:
- Limit the admission of otherwise qualified students with disabilities;
- Make pre-admission inquiries as to whether an applicant has a disability;
- Exclude an otherwise qualified student with a disability from any course of study;
- Provide less financial assistance to students with disabilities than is provided to other students;
- Measure student achievement using modes that adversely discriminate against a student with a disability; or
- Establish rules and policies that have the effect of limiting the participation of students with disabilities in educational programs or activities
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
On August 7, 1998, Congress amended Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act to include proper access to electronic and information technology. This requires agencies that develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology to ensure that the materials are accessible. Therefore, the university must make university-maintained Web site and video materials accessible (i.e. Web sites should allow for the use of speech output systems for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, and videos must be captioned for individuals who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing and audio described for individuals who are blind/low vision).
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is civil rights legislation that extends the anti-discrimination legislation of Section 504 to all institutions of higher education whether or not they receive federal financial assistance. The purpose of this act is to provide a clear and comprehensive mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities. This statute became effective for public entities on January 26, 1992. It provides comprehensive civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities in the areas of employment, state and local governments, public accommodations and telecommunications.
ADA Amendments Act of 2008
This new law, which clarifies the intent of the ADA, was signed September 25, 2008, and went into effect on Jan. 1, 2009. This law expands the definition of major life activities, and specifies that one should not consider mitigating measures (i.e., medication, prosthetics, assistive technology, etc.) when determining eligibility for accommodations.
The ADA requires existing facilities of some agencies to be accessible. Texas Wesleyan University has a compliance plan to make all existing facilities accessible to people with disabilities where access is readily achievable and not an undue burden. For new construction or renovations, The University must be in compliance with the Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS), which are administered and monitored by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). The TAS guidelines have been certified by the United States Department of Justice as conforming to the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG).
If a prospective student sends documentation to DA and does not complete the process to determine eligibility for services, the documentation will be stored for at least one year from the last contact.
A file is considered Active when the documentation is sufficient and the student has completed an intake interview and signed the Application. If any of these elements are missing, the file will be considered Pending. Students are not eligible to begin using accommodations until their files are Active.
Once a file has been designated as Active, it will retain that status as long as the student is enrolled in the University. University student records are checked each semester to determine current student enrollment status. The file will be moved to inactive if the student is not enrolled for one semester. Students who are re-enrolled after missing one semester, must notify DA that they have returned in order to reactivate their files. The files of students who return to the University after one semester will be reevaluated to determine if circumstances have changed necessitating additional documentation. Files will be stored for five years from the last semester the student was enrolled at the University.
The information contained in students’ files is considered part of their educational record and is protected under the Family Educational Rights (the Buckley Amendment).
Information may be released from files in only three circumstances:
- A court order
- With the student’s written permission
- Internally within the University for a legitimate educational reason.
Definition and Scope:
Note: The following grievance procedure applies to disability complaints. All other complaints regarding discrimination or harassment must be referred to the Unified Harassment and Discrimination Policy in the online catalog.
Scope: Any student or group who believes that a violation of Section 504 or the ADA has occurred may file a grievance alleging any action that constitutes a violation of these laws.
- The student shall first make a written request for an informal review by the dean of the school in which the student is majoring, within 60 calendar days after the event alleged to be discriminatory.
- The deans may be contacted as follows:
School of Arts & Letters
Dr. Gladys Childs (Interim)
School of Health Professions
Dr. Heidi Taylor
School of Business
Dr. Hector Quintanilla
School of Education
Dr. Carlos Martinez
School of Natural and Social Sciences
Dr. Ricardo E. Rodriguez
- The dean of the school will review the student's grievance and accompanying documentation or information and consider that information with respect to the requirements and discrimination prohibitions as defined by Section 504 and the ADA.
- The dean shall render a written decision within 15 calendar days.
- The dean is granted authority to take appropriate action if necessary.
- If the informal review does not resolve the issue to the student's satisfaction, the student may make a written request for formal review to the Provost of the University (Provost@txwes.edu) within 15 calendar days following receipt of the dean’s decision.
- The student shall provide a written explanation detailing the student’s cause for appeal. Any associated documentation or information supporting the student’s appeal must be included.
- No specific format is required. However, the student should provide pertinent information or documentation to substantiate a disability as defined by Section 504 and the ADA, and the requested academic adjustment, if this is the subject of the grievance.
- The Provost shall appoint a five-person committee within 15 calendar days consisting of at least two faculty members and two students to review the student's grievance.
As part of the written appeal, the student will be granted, upon request, an opportunity to meet with the committee for the purpose of presenting relevant information.
- A hearing shall be scheduled within 30 calendar days of the formal appeal and a decision rendered within 45 calendar days.
- One representative or advisor as selected by the student may accompany the student at the hearing. The student shall advise the committee that a representative will be present and her/his identity prior to the hearing.
- To ensure impartiality, no committee member shall be directly affected by or previously involved in the student’s academic adjustment request or grievance. In addition, student representation is provided on the committee.
- The Provost shall appoint a committee chairperson.
- Evidence shall be presented in a fair and orderly manner under the direction of the committee chairperson.
- The committee shall review discrimination prohibitions as defined by Section 504 and the ADA, as well as relevant information as provided by the student, and provide a recommendation on the matter to the Provost
- The recommendation sent to the Provost shall be based on the majority opinion of the committee.
- The Provost Office shall inform the student of the decision in writing within 15 calendar days following receipt of the committee’s recommendation.
- The student shall have no review rights beyond the five-person committee.
- Meet with each instructor at the beginning of the semester to deliver Accommodation Letters. Discuss the accommodations for which you qualified and coordinate how each accommodation will be provided to you.
- If the student has a fill-in faculty, the student is responsible to deliver the accommodation letter to the faculty, discuss the accommodations, and coordinate how each accommodations will be provided.
- Remind your instructor five days before your exam that you plan to use testing accommodations.
- Confirm that you and your instructor are in agreement about the arrangements that have been made. If there is any concern by either party about the arrangements or accommodations, contact DA for guidance.
- If a testing accommodation is not in place as was previously agreed upon by you and the instructor, notify the proctor immediately.
- If the instructor refuses to provide an approved accommodation, contact DA immediately.
- It is typically the instructor’s responsibility to make arrangements for extended test-taking time and a reduced distraction test location. However, DA may provide support if arrangements of certain accommodations cannot be made within the academic department.
- Examples of a reduced distraction environment include: an empty classroom (with several other students also testing and a proctor), another empty room/quiet space. Inappropriate locations include: a hallway, stairwell or office with ringing phones.
- The Academic Success Center has testing space open by appointment only and it is first come first served.