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Roles, Rights and Responsibilities

Each member of the university has particular roles and responsibilities related to disability services. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provides guidance on procedures used to determine and arrange accommodations. Generally, only one office is designated at the university and charged with reviewing documentation and determining reasonable accommodations.

Faculty and staff should not make determinations about disability or accommodation needs. Instead, if a student discloses to you that he or she has a disability and needs accommodations, but does not present an Accommodation Recommendation Card, please refer the student to Disability Services in the Dean of Students office.



  • Make reasonable accommodations
  • Provide access to classroom and materials
  • Maintain confidentiality

Students present their Accomodator Recomindation Card (ARC) to the instructor in order to request accommodations. Once the ARC is shared and reviewed with the instructor, the instructor is then responsible to make accommodations as outlined.

In some cases, accommodations may require modifications to standard classroom approaches. Some examples include:

  • Exam modifications that might include taking a copy of the exam to Testing Services or Project Success so that a student may utilize extended time or have access to a less distracting environment or, in rare cases, an individual proctor or scribe.
  • Allowing the use of adaptive technology such as a notebook computer or similar device to aid in taking notes or assisting in recruiting students in the classroom to work as note takers.
  • Providing some materials to students in an accessible electronic format.
  • Consider alternative ways of evaluating content mastery that measures academic ability rather than a disability.  For example, modifying an exam from multiple-choice to an essay format or allowing an oral exam option.


If there is a question about how to make an accommodation work or a concern that an accommodation alters the fundamental nature of the course, please consult with the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities.



  • To maintain academic standards for courses they teach.
  • Determine course content and delivery methods.
  • Confirm a student’s request for accommodations and seek clarification.
  • Deny a requested accommodation if it has not been authorized on the ARC.
  • Award grades based upon the student’s level of mastery of course material.
  • Award a failing grade to any student who does not perform to academic standards regardless of disability.


Faculty members do not have the right to*:

  • Refuse to provide an approved accommodation for a documented disability.
  • Challenge the legitimacy of a disability.
  • Request separate documentation concerning a disability or review a student’s disability file.

*These types of incidents could place the University, and the faculty member, at risk for an OCR complaint.



Faculty members are responsible to:

  • Understand laws, University, and UW System policies and guidelines related to students with disabilities.
  • Refer students to Disability Services when necessary.
  • Provide requested accommodations and adjustments in a timely manner.
  • Provide handouts, videos, and other course materials in an accessible format upon request.
  • Evaluate students based upon their ability rather than a disability.
  • Maintain confidentiality of information.
by Rivera Valdivia, Claudia I. last modified May 30, 2012 07:49 PM
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