Students requesting reasonable accommodations with respect to disabilities must obtain and provide to the College current (within three years prior to enrollment) documentation of their disability before the start of the session in which they are enrolling and requesting an academic adjustment or services. This documentation must support both that a student has a disability as well as the necessity of the requested academic adjustment or services. The primary purpose of this documentation is to determine a student's eligibility for accommodation and, if eligible, to help the College work interactively with a student to provide appropriate services. The College is not required, however, to provide accommodations that would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature of the program in which the student is enrolled or seeks to be enrolled, would create an undue financial burden on the College, or which would pose a threat to safety and security. General documentation requirements include, but are not limited to:
- Documentation is typically provided by a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional/medical specialist who has no personal relationship (i.e., family member or former school teacher or school counselor) with the individual but who is knowledgeable about the individual's disability and/or condition.
- Documentation must be typed or printed, dated, signed and legible with the name, title,
and professional credentials of the evaluator on official letterhead and define/explain:
- The clear description of the disability
- The description, name, and scores of the tests and assessments used, as appropriate
- How the condition was diagnosed
- The current existence of the disability and current need for an accommodation
- Functionality of the individual in an educational setting
- Expected progression or stability of the disability
- Rule-out statement that describes which academic and other functions the disability does not affect
- Recommended accommodations related to functional limitations and a rationale for how the requested accommodation remedies the functional limitation
- Date of observation
The above criteria are general guidelines only; the type of documentation will vary according to the disability. For students with learning differences, it is preferable that the student provide a full and recent psycho-educational evaluation. In addition, in some instances, a student may be requested to provide updated or augmented documentation in order to be reviewed more fully before being considered for services. It is possible that in reviewing a student's specific accommodation request or the recommendations of an evaluator, the College may find that while the recommendation is clinically supported, it is not the most appropriate accommodation given the requirements of a particular student's academic program. In addition, the College may also propose accommodations that would be appropriate and useful to the student, but which neither the student nor the evaluator have requested. The College appreciates that student disability records contain personal and confidential information. Such documentation is maintained in a confidential file in office of Academic Support Services and is considered part of a student's education record and will only be disclosed with a student's permission or as permitted by law (e.g., in the event of a health or safety risk). However, at times, in order to evaluate and/or provide requested or recommended services and accommodations, it may be necessary for the College to disclose disability information provided by a student or a student's healthcare provider to appropriate College personnel participating in the accommodation process and who have a legitimate need to know more and review the file.
If documentation provided by a student does not support the existence of a disability or the need for an accommodation, the student will be advised and will be provided an opportunity to supplement the initial documentation with further information from a physician, psychologist, or other appropriate specialist. In the event a student's accommodation request is denied, a student may appeal that decision by utilizing the appeal/grievance process found below.
Supporting Students with Disabilities
In its commitment to ensuring that no otherwise qualified student with a disability is subjected to unlawful discrimination in the context of his/her educational experience, the College makes certain that students with disabilities are provided equal access to educational and career development programs and/or student activities. Consequently, as noted above, the College will make, on behalf of qualified students with learning and physical disabilities of which the College is aware, reasonable accommodations that do not impose undue hardships on the College. Students and their families are strongly encouraged to disclose and discuss possible accommodations during the enrollment process.
If a student believes he/she requires a reasonable accommodation or has a question regarding educational services, activities, programs, or facilities that are accessible to or usable by students with disabilities, please contact the academic counselor in Academic Support Services who has responsibility for students with learning challenges. All information associated with a disclosure of this nature is confidential, and the College will communicate this information to others only on a need-to-know basis.
Scope and Application: This appeal/grievance process applies to any student allegedly aggrieved by a denial (in whole or in part) of his/her request for an accommodation/academic adjustment under the College’s Policy Regarding Students with Disabilities or who otherwise has an unresolved complaint regarding his/her disability. The College commits that no retaliation will occur at any stage of this process.
Initial Time Period for Filing an Appeal/Grievance: A student, alleging a disability and wishing to file an appeal/grievance hereunder, must initiate the procedure described below within thirty (30) calendar days of when the student knew or should have known of the action of which the student complains or is otherwise aggrieved by, including a denial (in whole or in part) of a request for accommodation/academic adjustment.
(A) The student or, any person(s) acting on behalf of the student, may file an appeal/grievance with the Office of Academic Support Services. An academic counselor (or his/her designee from Academic Support Services) will discuss the student’s complaint and attempt to resolve or adjust the dispute on an informal basis. The student may present any facts or circumstances he/she deems relevant to the complaint/dispute. The academic counselor may investigate the matter and gather any relevant facts and circumstances, including conducting interviews. The academic counselor shall render a determination within twenty (20) calendar days after being assigned to handle the student’s appeal/grievance. Within seven (7) calendar days from the date of the determination by the academic counselor that the complaint/dispute could not be resolved, the student (or the person acting on his/her behalf) must submit a written request for a further review by the Dean of Students to the Office of Academic Support Services and must document the student’s attempt to first resolve the appeal/grievance with the academic counselor. The written request must explain the nature of the student’s complaint/dispute and/or the accommodation/adjustment sought.
(B) The Dean of Students shall review all matters relating to the complaint/dispute as presented to the Office of Academic Support Services and may solicit additional facts and evidence as the Dean may deem necessary. The student may present any further facts or evidence he/she deems relevant. The Dean of Students shall complete the review and render a decision within twenty (20) calendar days after the appeal/grievance is submitted to the Dean of Students. If, after the Dean of Students has had an opportunity to render his/her decision, the student remains unsatisfied with the resolution of the appeal/grievance, the student, or person(s) acting on behalf of the student, may submit an appeal/grievance in writing, within seven (7) calendar days from the date of the decision by the Dean of Students, to the Provost. If no written request is submitted within the seven-day period, the decision of the Dean of Students shall be final.
(C) Upon the submission of the student’s written request for a review of his or her appeal/grievance, the Provost will consider all facts and circumstances, including the investigatory file as developed by Academic Support Services and any medical evidence presented. The Provost may also interview the student or such other witnesses as may be necessary. If, upon such inquiry, the Provost determines that a proper review of the matter was conducted, the decision of the Dean of Students shall be confirmed. The Provost may also amend, alter or revise the decision and, therefore, the Provost is responsible for the final decision. The Provost will render a decision within thirty (30) calendar days after the appeal/grievance has been submitted to the Provost as described above.
This page is part of the Juniata College Online Handbook