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GEN 4.B.17. Students With Disabilities Policies and Procedures.

 

(1)   Introduction.

On July 8, 1988, the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System approved its "Policy and Guidelines Applying to Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability." The policy was amended on December 6, 1996. The policy statement reads as follows:

The University of Wisconsin System is committed to making individuals with disabilities full participants in its programs, services and activities through its compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The Board of Regents recognizes that individuals with disabilities may need accommodations to have equally effective opportunities to participate in or benefit from the university’s programs, services and activities.

It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin System that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall be denied access to or participation in any program, service or activity offered by the universities. Individuals with disabilities have a right to request accommodations. Individuals will receive appropriate accommodations to their needs in order to fully participate in or benefit from the university’s programs, services and activities in a non-discriminatory, integrated setting.

The University of Wisconsin System and any of its agents shall not coerce, intimidate, retaliate against or discriminate against any individual for exercising a right under the ADA or Section 504, or for assisting or supporting another to exercise a right under the ADA or Section 504.

The University of Wisconsin System will not give significant assistance to any agency, organization, or person that discriminates on the basis of disability in providing any aid, benefit or service to beneficiaries of the university’s programs.

(2)   Accessibility and Equal Opportunity.  [Note: Portions of this section are modified from the University of California Guidelines Applying to Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Handicap, 1983.]

(a)   General.

Qualified persons may not be denied the benefits of, or be excluded from participation in, any University of Wisconsin Oshkosh program or activity because University facilities are inaccessible to, or unusable by, persons with disabilities.

(b)   Existing Facilities.

Each program or activity, when viewed in its entirety, shall be readily accessible to qualified persons with disabilities, or made accessible through such means as:

        1. Redesign equipment/facility after individual case review;
        2. Provide appropriate signage;
        3. Reassign classes, staff, or services to accessible buildings;
        4. Deliver health, advisory, and support services at accessible sites.
           

Providing one or two accessible entries to a building makes entrance to the building itself accessible; it is not required that every outside entry be accessible. Structural changes in existing facilities are not required where other methods provide program accessibility.

If sufficient relocation of classes, programs or activities is not possible using existing facilities, structural alterations to ensure program accessibility shall be made. Students may not be excluded from a specifically requested course offering, program or other activity because it is not offered in an accessible location. Not every section of a specifically requested course or program, however, need be made accessible.

Priority will be given to methods that offer programs and activities to persons with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate. Programs not wholly operated by the University that require student participation in educational activities or internships (e.g., student teaching assignments) will provide an equal opportunity for qualified persons with disabilities to participate.

Remodeling projects must be consistent with the State of Wisconsin's "Survey Guideline for Determining Building Accessibility" or the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards, whichever promotes greater accessibility, and with Federal and State codes.

(c)   New Construction.

Facilities, or parts of facilities, constructed for the use of the University will be designed and built so that they and their parts are readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. New construction must be planned in accordance with the State ofWisconsin's "Survey Guideline for Determining Building Accessibility" or the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards, whichever promotes greater accessibility.

(d)   Off-Campus Programming.

When any University of Wisconsin Oshkosh-related classes, programs or activities are held in private facilities, attempts shall be made to obtain facilities which are accessible. The program sponsor has responsibility for making recommendations which ensure access. In cases where an accessible facility is not chosen, documentation shall be kept on file reflecting efforts to obtain accessible facilities.

(e)   Support Services.

No qualified student or participant in a University program or activity may be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or be otherwise discriminated against because of the absence of, educational support services. Students with disabilities are encouraged to request support services by completing the form entitled "Disability Notification and Accommodation Request Form." Support services include academic and career advising, counseling, remedial and tutorial programs. Support Services also include auxiliary aids and academic adjustment provided to disabled students. The accommodations may include, but shall not be limited to:

      1. special parking;
      2. registration assistance;
      3. referral to appropriate on- or off-campus resources, services, or agencies;
      4. reader services;
      5. note taker services;
      6. assistance with exams (e.g., taking exams with extended time in a distraction reduced environment, using aides to write exams as directed by the student or to verify that the questions are understood clearly), as agreed upon in consultation with the instructor;
      7. interpreter services for the deaf;
      8. arrangements for specialized auxiliary aids, including tapes and Braille materials;
      9. assistance in finding needed attendants;
      10. supplemental orientation;
      11. mobility assistance referrals.

As long as no qualified person with a disability is excluded from a program because of the lack of an auxiliary aid, such support need not be on hand at all times. In order to ensure sufficient time to make provisions for accommodations and/or appropriate auxiliary aids, it is the responsibility of the individual to request the necessary accommodation and/or auxiliary aid at least 8 weeks before classes, programs, or activities begin. Requests may be submitted late and the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities will make an effort to honor appropriate requests.

The University shall not limit the number auxiliary aids requested by or provided to a disabled student. Arrangements may be made for auxiliary aids during the interim and summer sessions as well as the regular fall and spring semesters. All note takers, readers, etc. must be requested by using the Disability Notification and Accommodation Request Form available from the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities..

Prohibitions against the use of tape recorders (inconsistent with those stated in Regent Resolution 1556) or braillers in classrooms, or guide dogs in campus buildings, or other rules that have the effect of limiting the participation of qualified students in education programs or activities, may not be imposed.

(f)    Physical Education, Athletics, and Similar Activities.

TheUniversityofWisconsin Oshkoshwill not discriminate on the basis of disability in physical education, athletics and similar programs and activities. Qualified disabled students or participants in University programs or activities will be provided with an equal opportunity to participate in physical education courses, intercollegiate and intramural athletics or other similar activities. For example, a student in a wheelchair could not be denied the opportunity to enroll in a regular archery course, nor could a deaf student be excluded from participating in a wrestling course.

(g)   Housing.

        1. On-Campus Housing.
        2. Comparable, convenient, and accessible on-campus housing/food service will be provided at the same cost to qualified students with disabilities as are afforded to nondisabled students.
        3. Off-Campus Housing.
           

Listings of off-campus housing provided by any University office, shall identify units that are accessible.

(h)   Financial Aid.

The University shall not provide less financial assistance to disabled students based solely on disabilities, limit their eligibility for assistance, or otherwise discriminate against them. Financial aid awards will recognize the special needs of students with disabilities, including additional costs related to the disability, the possible need for reducing credit loads or extending the time allowed to complete graduation requirements. These accommodations will be made within the limits prescribed by state and federal programs. The University will not assist any entity or person that provides financial assistance to any students in a manner that discriminates against qualified students on the basis of disability.

The University may administer financial aids which are established under wills or other legal instruments that require awards to be made on the basis of factors that discriminate only if the overall effect of the award of the financial assistance is not to discriminate on the basis of disability.

(i)     Student Employment.

University programs which employ students may not discriminate on the basis of disability.

(j)     Advising, Counseling and Placement Services.

Personal, academic, or career counseling, guidance, and placement services shall be provided in an accessible setting without discrimination on the basis of disability. Qualified students with disabilities shall not be counseled/advised toward more restrictive career objectives than are non-disabled students with similar interests and abilities. This does not preclude providing factual information about licensing and certification requirements that may present obstacles to disabled persons in their pursuit of particular careers.

(k)   Student Health.

The Student Health Center will provide the same types and levels of service for all students, nondisabled and disabled. In addition, the Health Center will inform students with disabilities about specialized health services if the services are not provided at the Center. No student health plan offered by the University shall discriminate on the basis of disability.

(l)     Social Organizations.

Before official recognition or significant assistance is given to fraternities, sororities, or other campus organizations, the organization must provide assurance that it does not permit actions prohibited by these guidelines.

(3)   Coordination of Programs and Services for Students With Disabilities.

(a)   The Dean of Students Office is responsible for the coordination of programs and services for qualified applicants for admission and enrolled students with disabilities. Such coordination will relate solely to students' disabilities. The Dean of Students shall appoint a coordinator to assume these responsibilities.

(b)   The ADA Advisory Committee is charged with providing information and recommendations relating to the needs and concerns of persons with disabilities. The Committee will examine and evaluate existing programs annually and investigate unmet needs.  The committee will include the following:

        1. Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities (chairperson);
        2. Director of Equity and Affirmative Action;
        3. One representative from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation;
        4. Two faculty representatives (appointed by Faculty Senate);
        5. Two academic staff representatives (appointed by Senate of Academic Staff);
        6. Two students (appointed by Oshkosh Student Association).

(c)   Duties of the Coordinator.

        1. Provide a "Disability Notification and Accommodation Request Form" to those applicants and enrolled students who seek assistance. The Coordinator may require verification of the disability as presented. When necessary, the Coordinator will discuss the requests with the student to determine appropriate accommodations and consult with the faculty and other offices regarding the request. S/he will then assess the appropriateness of the requested accommodations or auxiliary aids and inform the requestor of the decisions in writing within ten working days.
           
        2. Make arrangements for necessary and appropriate accommodations or auxiliary aids. The Coordinator shall consult with, and act as a liaison to, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, if appropriate.
           
        3. Make regular efforts to provide current information to faculty, staff, and students regarding disabilities and the available programs and services relating to them.

          As determined by the ADA Advisory Committee, the Coordinator will arrange regular in-service training for faculty and staff to develop fuller awareness and understanding of the needs of students with disabilities.
           
        4. Establish such record-keeping procedures as are necessary to document institutional responses to requests for accommodation and provide required data to UW System and the Board of Regents.
           
        5. All materials relating to individual cases, including completed forms (“Disability Notification and Accommodation Request Form”), action or correspondence relating to those forms, and records relating to any formal complaints or appeals shall be held and maintained in confidence. These records shall be destroyed six (6) years after the student’s last date of enrollment unless the Disability Coordinator determines unusual circumstances necessitate a longer period of retention.
           

(4)   Recruitment, Admissions, and Registration.

(a)   General.

The University seeks a diversity in its student body which reflects our pluralistic society. Qualified persons may not, on the basis of disability, be denied admission to, enrollment in, or participation in University programs or activities, or be discriminated against in admissions or recruitment.

(b)   Admissions or Enrollment.

        1. The number or proportion of persons admitted or enrolled will not be limited solely on the basis of disability.
           
        2. Before admissions/placement tests are selected and administered, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will ensure the following:

          1. Tests are selected and administered so that the test results reflect the applicant's aptitude or achievement level, or whatever other factor the test purports to measure, rather than the applicant's disability (except where that is what the test purports to measure).
          2. Those tests designed for persons with a disability are available as regularly and in as timely a manner as are other admissions tests. It is the responsibility of the individual taking the test to make special needs known before the specified test registration deadline.
          3. Tests are administered in facilities that are accessible to persons with disabilities.
             
        3. All registration forms, including those for off-campus programs, shall provide a place for the applicant to identify special needs (e.g., physical accessibility, interpreter, large print), so that notification takes place before the enrollment deadline and facilitates the needed accommodations.
           

(5)   Responsibilities of Students With Disabilities.

(a)   All students seeking assistance must disclose the presence of a handicapping condition. Accommodations or auxiliary aids are requested by completion of the form entitled "Disability Notification and Accommodation Request Form." The student is encouraged to make timely and appropriate disclosures and requests (at least 8 weeks in advance of a course, workshop, program, or activity for which accommodation is requested; exceptions to the eight-week notification requirement are allowed if the faculty members involved and the CCSD have approved), and to engage in appropriate and responsible levels of self-help in obtaining and arranging for accommodations or auxiliary aids, including applying for funding for specialized support services from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Requests may be submitted late and the coordinator will make every effort to accommodate these requests. Untimely requests may result in delay, substitution, or denial of accommodation. Because each disability presents unique needs, each student must discuss requested accommodations with instructors each semester.

(b)   Before receiving requested accommodations, the student may be required to submit medical or other diagnostic documentation of disability and limitations and may be required to participate in such additional evaluation of limitations as may be appropriate.

(c)   Students or participants in University programs or activities may be required to sign an agreement that they will not release tape recordings or transcriptions of lectures, or otherwise hinder the ability of a professor to obtain a copyright (Regent Resolution 1556). The form "Taping Agreement for Students with Disabilities" may be obtained from the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities.

(d)   For those auxiliary services that are likely to be funded by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the University may require that the student apply to that agency. The coordinator may provide assistance with this request.

(6)   Academic Adjustment.

(a)   Academic Requirements.

Academic requirements will be modified, as necessary, to ensure that they do not discriminate against qualified applicants or currently enrolled students with disabilities. After consultation with the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities, an academic adviser or instructor can recommend such modifications according to established processes. The Coordinator may recommend modification in compliance with state and federal mandates. Because of the diversity of individual needs relating to disabilities and the uniqueness of each class, students must discuss their request for modification with their instructors each semester. These modifications shall not affect the substance of the educational programs or compromise educational standards, nor shall they intrude upon legitimate academic freedom. Modifications may include changes in the length of time permitted for the completion of degree requirements (including credit load), substitution of specific courses required for the completion of degrees, and adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted. For example, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh may permit an otherwise qualified student who is deaf a program change that would substitute an appropriate history, international education, literature in translation, or cultural studies class for a foreign language requirement. If accommodation is not possible in a required course, a procedure for obtaining a substitution will be available. Each college shall adopt procedures for course substitution requests. These procedures may be recommended by the ADA Advisory Committee in conjunction with each College.

Academic requirements that are essential to programs of instruction (e.g. a French major or minor) or to any directly related licensing requirement (e.g., licensing for nursing) are not regarded as discriminatory.

(b)   Program Examinations and Evaluations.

Examinations or other procedures for evaluating students' academic achievement shall be adapted, when necessary, to permit evaluating the achievement of students who have a disability; the results of the evaluation must represent the student's achievement in the program or activity, rather than reflecting the student's disability. These procedures must be consistent with state and federal guidelines. Questions regarding appropriate evaluations may be addressed to the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities. The 504 compliance officer (the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities) will be the final interpreter of these guidelines and the appropriateness of accommodations or evaluation. It is the student's responsibility to request test accommodation according to the procedures outlined by this policy. Exceptions to the 8 week notification time period are possible by obtaining approval of the faculty member and the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities. Testing accommodation may include but need not be limited to:

        1. enlarged materials;
        2. oral test;          
        3. taped test;
        4. extended time;
        5. reader;
        6. distraction reduced environment;
        7. preferential seating (front, etc.);
        8. alternate format (black/white copy);
        9. writer;
        10. computer assistance;
        11. Braille material.
           

(7)   Funding for Auxiliary Aids.

In addition to providing accommodations needed to ensure equal access to educational opportunities by disabled students, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is responsible, under 34 C.F.R. 104.44, for ensuring that no disabled student is denied benefits or excluded from participation in a program because of the absence of auxiliary aids. "Auxiliary aids" include such items as taped texts, interpreters, or other effective methods of making orally delivered materials available to students with hearing impairments; readers in libraries for students with visual impairments; classroom equipment adapted for use by students with manual impairments; and other similar services and actions.

Funding for accommodations to ensure equal access is provided by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh through the usual budget processes.

(8)   Grievance Procedure.

(a)   Introduction

        1. Definitions 

          Disability means, with respect to an individual:

              1. a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the person’s major life activities;
              2. a history of such an impairment; or
              3. being regarded as having an impairment.
                 

          A qualified Individual with a Disability is someone who (with or without accommodations) meets the essential eligibility requirements for participating in programs, services, and activities provided by the University.

          The University has an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation for an individual with a disability if that disability substantially limits access to facilities or service.  Reasonable accommodations include, but are not limited to adjustments to rules, policies, or practices; environmental adjustments such as removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers; or auxiliary aids and services.  Reasonable accommodations do not include changes that involve a significant alteration of admission or academic curriculum requirements, actions that create an “undue hardship” on the operation of the University, or services/aids considered to be personal in nature. 

        2. Accommodation Request Process

All requests for reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities should be directed to the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disability (CSSD). The student must request accommodation in writing and provide supporting medical documentation. Specific criteria for documentation(i.e. learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, medical conditions, etc.) can be obtained from the CSSD. Applications for accommodation can be submitted at any time.  The CSSD will issue a response to the written application and its accompanying documentation within 30 calendar days of receipt.  However, a thorough review of the request as well as implementation of reasonable accommodation usually takes approximately eight weeks.

(b)   Filing a Grievance

        1. Informal Process

          If the CSSD denies a student request for accommodation due to disability or a student has a complaint about an action that potentially violates the ADA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the student should first engage in new or continued contract with the CSSD (i.e. submission of additional documentation, meeting in person, exploration of alternative options) to identify a solution.  The CSSD will consult with faculty, staff, department chairs, or other University personnel involved in the dispute to understand their perspectives and solicit additional potential solutions.  Every effort will be made to reach a solution informally. 
           
        2. Formal Process
           

A student may file a formal grievance if the efforts to informally resolve the request for accommodation are not considered satisfactory by the student. The grievance should be submitted in writing to the ADA Advisory Committee.  The student must describe the nature of the grievance, the accommodation requested of the University and accompanying rationale, and supporting medical documentation related to her/his condition.  This information will be forwarded, along with relevant records from the CSSD, Dean of Students, and other involved University personnel, to an ad hoc Grievance Committee comprised of five individuals appointed from the University ADA Advisory Committee.  Minimum representation will include one faculty member, one staff member, and one student. A faculty or staff chairperson will be assigned for each Grievance Committee. Grievances relating directly to accommodations for course requirements or class assistance will have at least two faculty members on the committee.  The Grievance Committee will meet to review the matter within 30 calendar days of receipt of the grievance.  The Grievance Committee and student may mutually agree to postpone the proceedings to a specified date for further information gathering purposes (i.e. additional opinions or information).  The committee can request witnesses, materials, and opinions related to the case as it deems necessary and will protect the confidentiality of the student (disclosing the student’s identity only on a “need to know” basis) to the extent allowed under state and federal law. Within 14 calendar days after their first meeting to review the matter, the Grievance Committee will communicate the findings in writing to the student, CSSD, faculty or staff directly involved.  If the Grievance Committee’s decision is unacceptable for the student, faculty, or staff, an appeal may be filed with the Provost and Vice Chancellor within 10 calendar days from the notification date of the decision.  The Provost and Vice Chancellor will make a final decision and provide this response in writing to all involved parties. 

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