No. Student with disabilities meet the same requirements and are admitted through the same university processes, like all other students.
A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment made to the academic environment and/or to a policy that ensures students with disabilities have equal access to course material, information, activities, programs, housing, and other university facilities and resources.
Disability Services (DS) handles student requests for accommodations. Faculty should direct any student who discloses a disability and/or requests an accommodation to DS. To receive accommodations, students must complete a confidential registration process using the myDS portal on the Disability Services website and submit appropriate documentation. This is followed by a meeting between DS staff and the student to discuss whether the proposed accommodation is reasonable and make an accommodation plan. The steps for students are outlined below:
No, it is likely that many students with disabilities have chosen not to register with DS. Some do not need services or accommodations. If a student chooses not to register with DS, faculty do not need to provide an accommodation. If students wish to receive accommodations, they must register and follow the process for accommodations through DS.
A student can notify a faculty member of the need for accommodations by having Disability Services (DS) send a faculty notification letter at any time during the quarter. Faculty should provide accommodations from that point forward in the quarter. Accommodations are not expected to be applied retroactively.
Students who are registered with DS are strongly encouraged to meet with individual professors during office hours at the beginning of the quarter in order to discuss how their disability may impact the specific course. Some students choose not to identify themselves as students with disabilities. They may be in a stage of their disability identity development where disclosure is uncomfortable, or they may simply be in the process with Disability Services of applying for accommodations and may find they are eligible for accommodations in the middle, or even at the end, of the quarter. As noted above, any student requesting classroom accommodations must make timely requests for appropriate accommodations and accommodations are not retroactive.
Disability Services is the designated office for determining reasonable accommodations through an interactive process with the student. The determination of whether an accommodation is reasonable involves three primary elements:
Disability Services also considers the experiences and perspective of the student and the nature of the course or degree program. All requests for accommodation are considered on a case-by-case basis. Disability Services staff will consult with the course instructor when an accommodation is exceptional, or if it is apparent that an accommodation might constitute a fundamental alteration of the course or degree program.
No. A faculty member generally does not have a need to know what the disability is, only that the disability has been appropriately verified by the office assigned this responsibility on behalf of the institution (at Seattle University, this is the DS office). Upon approval of a student's request for a reasonable accommodation, the university and the professor must accommodate the student.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act are federal laws designed to protect the rights of students with disabilities in educational programs and activities. As a federal funds recipient, Seattle University must comply with these laws and Department of Education regulations regarding students with disabilities.
No. While the process of providing reasonable accommodations begins when the student makes a request to Disability Services, it is an instructor’s responsibility to ensure that the learning environment is equitable and accessible.
No. The standards should be the same for all students. But students with disabilities may exhibit their knowledge, production, and other course expectations differently than their non-disabled peers. For example, a student with a learning disability in writing may produce an essay exam using a computer or scribe rather than writing out an answer. The standard for the final work product would not change in response to this reasonable accommodation.
If you have received a faculty notification letter from Disability Services and believe that the accommodation may cause a fundamental alteration to your course or would cause an undue administrative burden, call DS immediately at (206) 296-5740.
No. Students with disabilities should be held to the same standards as their non-disabled peers. Accommodations should not alter the course or program in any substantive manner.
If the student makes a request and the request is not something you would do for any other student in your course, please refer the student back to the DS office for a consultation. It is not always possible to predict the specific interaction between a student's disability and a specific course requirement; as a result, it may be necessary to amend the accommodations. In consultation with instructor and student, DS will be able to advise you as to the best academic adaptation. As a matter of best practice and guidance from the federal government, faculty should not provide any accommodation that has not been approved by DS.
You should not assume a student has a disability nor should you ask if the student has a disability. You should encourage a student who you think is challenged or struggling in your class to utilize all campus resources including Learning Assistance Programs (LAP), DS, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), etc.
Yes. Equal access must be provided to all components of a class or program even if it is not a required element. This would include labs, field trips, transportation provided by Seattle University, clinical placements, and internships. Please consult with Disability Services as soon as possible if you have questions or concerns about this requirement.
Yes. Students may request adjustments based on general pregnancy needs or accommodations based on a pregnancy-related complication by following the same procedures as any other student requesting an accommodation. Common accommodations for pregnancy include a larger desk, elevator access, ability to make frequent trips to the restroom, attendance consideration for medical appointments, or student leave of absence.
No, not if Disability Services has approved the recording as an accommodation to provide meaningful access to the educational experience. According to the Department of Education regulations interpreting Section 504:
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights FAQs further clarify that a faculty member may not object to an approved accommodation of recording lectures on copyright or privacy grounds. Disability Services strives to ensure that an instructor’s concern for privacy and/or protection of copyright is respected and addressed while still assuring the availability of accommodation for the student.
At Seattle University this is done through the adoption of an agreement between the Student and DS that limits the use of recordings. In the agreement, the student agrees to not share any course recordings and acknowledges that the recordings are solely for their personal educational use.
In some courses, portions of class sessions may involve self-disclosure of sensitive information from students. These portions of a class session may not be appropriate for recording as the use of a recording device may inhibit students from freely sharing. If these open discussions are not appropriate subject matter for any student to be taking notes, it would be appropriate to issue a general announcement to the class to request that students who are using a recording device turn it off and that other students stop taking notes (as the use of a recording device is to replace the student’s note-taking ability).
An example would be to say “The note-taking portion of this class is over. Please turn off recorders/recording apps, and refrain from taking written or typed notes.”
There are multiple ways for a student with disabilities to record course material. DS loans smart-pens, digital recorders, and tablet/computer applications to students for the purpose of providing access. Typically, students for whom this accommodation is granted are those who have print disabilities, learning disabilities, or difficulties attending to the lecture content and making cogently written notes at the same time. The audio recording allows the student to “fill in the gaps” after the lecture or clarify meaning in their written notes.
There are instances when a student with a disability will need to use various technologies during a class. These will be outlined in the Faculty Notification Letter. This may include, but is not limited to, a laptop to take notes, digital recording devices, and other types of technology as needed. Students sometimes use a software called Sonocent. To use this specific software students may use their phone, tablet, or laptop to record the lecture. Providing PowerPoints in advance is recommended to help the student best utilize the software.
If a laptop or course recording is an approved accommodation, a policy modification for the student with a disability is reasonable and necessary. In order not to publicly identify the student with a disability, instructors are encouraged to state on the syllabus something like the following:
"Exceptions for the use of a laptop may be granted for compelling reasons at the discretion of the instructor."
DS recommends that you always include a statement in your syllabus that states: "Please be aware that this class may be audio recorded at times and all uses of said audio recording are limited to academic purposes for this class only.” It is very important that you not identify the DS student and the approved accommodation to other students.