Seattle University is committed to providing students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in its classes and activities. This goal is fundamental to its belief in social justice. To achieve this goal, faculty and staff work to remove barriers in physical access, communication, attitudes, and policies that can prevent students from taking part in programs. In addition, the University provides supplemental support services through the Disability Services office.
Students with disabilities have physical or psychological conditions that significantly interfere with their basic functioning. Although these conditions usually are unrelated to the ability to learn or master material, they can affect the manner in which these students perform academic tasks. Many of the conditions, such as chronic mental or physical illnesses, learning disabilities, and moderate/severe hearing loss, are "invisible", and therefore are not readily apparent to others.
In order to receive services for disabilities, a student must provide medical, psychological, or psycho-educational information (documentation) that conforms to the guidelines stated in Requirements for Documentation of Disabilities.
After receiving documentation and consulting with the student, Disability Services staff determines adjustments that the student requires in order to access University programs. All such decisions are specific to the type and severity of the student's needs and the classes or activities involved. The documentation must clearly support the need for these adjustments. The roles and responsibilities for determining and providing accommodations are described in Procedures for the Implementation of Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities.
Decisions regarding accommodations can become complex, and challenge the knowledge and wisdom of all involved. This occurs most frequently in atypical classroom situations, on field trips and in internships. In such situations, Disability Services staff can work with faculty, staff and the student to devise approaches that will open opportunity to the student as much as possible.
There are, of course, limits to the accommodations that the University can guarantee for students. The goal in providing accommodations is to ensure access to the educational opportunities of the University. Adjustments cannot be made that limit or fundamentally alter those educational opportunities by changing the amount or quality of the learning required. For more information, see Determining Essential Requirements and Standards. The University also cannot allow situations that are unduly burdensome or that are dangerous to students, faculty or staff.
It is important to note that all students are admitted to the University under the same admissions criteria. The University neither lowers admissions standards nor waives requirements for applicants with disabilities. Students with disabilities must earn their grades based on criteria applicable to all students.