Faculty and Staff Guidelines for Students with Disabilities
Oregon State University is committed to providing equal opportunity to higher education for academically qualified students without regard to a disability. Students and Faculty at Oregon State University are encouraged to become familiar with their rights and responsibilities.
The Faculty of OSU is committed to the retention of students while promoting academic success. Students are recruited to the university with the understanding that the Faculty is responsive to their needs and will provide reasonable accommodations. Providing reasonable accommodations is a cooperative effort between OSU Faculty and Disability Access Services (DAS).
Table of Contents
- Student Responsibilities
- Documentation of Disability
- What Faculty Need to Know About Attendance and Students with Disabilities
- When is it Appropriate to Have Flexibility with Attendance?
- Determining if Attendance is Essential to the Course
- Accommodation Disputes
- Contact Information
Disability Access Services (DAS):
Disability Access Services (DAS) has the responsibility for administering, reviewing, maintaining, and supervising a variety of support procedures and services for students in accordance with state and federal laws. When appropriate, DAS provides oral and sign language interpreters, note takers, taped textbooks, assistance in working with instructors, or equipment loans. Instruction in the OSU physical activity program, reading rooms for students with visual disabilities, and keys for elevator operation are available to students as needed. Faculty and DAS staff work cooperatively to decide when adjustments to academic requirements, testing formats and substitution of classes may be necessary.
Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. For a copy of university policy and guidelines, contact the Office of Equity and Inclusion (7-3556). It is the intent of the University Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities (UACPD) that Faculty of OSU go beyond legal requirements in fostering an atmosphere of enhanced learning. The President established the UACPD as an advisory committee to recommend policy and procedures on disability issues.
Please be sure that your syllabus contains this statement: "Accommodations are collaborative efforts between students, faculty and Disability Access Services (DAS). Students with accommodations approved through DAS are responsible for contacting the faculty member in charge of the course prior to or during the first week of the term to discuss accommodations. Students who believe they are eligible for accommodations but who have not yet obtained approval through DAS should contact DAS immediately at (541) 737-4098."Notification Email from DAS
Faculty will receive an email from DAS identifying appropriate accommodations for the student. Please review the email and consider the impact of the accommodations in the context of your class. Discuss any questions or concerns you have with DAS staff.
Please bring the DAS syllabus statement to the attention your students at the first class meeting.Timing for Alternative Testing Requests
Requests for alternative testing formats made too close to the exam time may impose undue administrative burden. DAS generally requires one week's notice to arrange alternative testing unless there are exceptional circumstances beyond the control of the student. If a student approaches you for accommodations, please inquire if they have registered with DAS and refer them if they have not. You may wish to indicate that you need to receive a letter for alternative testing from DAS to assist in determining appropriate accommodations.
Information concerning a student's disability should be disclosed only to those with a legitimate "need to know." Sharing of information with other faculty and staff needs to be balanced with the student's interest while maintaining their privacy. Further disclosure should only be made with the express permission of the student or in consultation with appropriate DAS staff. Please do not discuss a student's disability or need for accommodations in front of other students.
From their initial contact with OSU, students with disabilities who need accommodations should contact the DAS office. It is the student's responsibility to acquire information concerning technological accommodations, resources on campus for parking, housing services and Student Health Services. Students are responsible for providing documentation, making timely requests for services and communicating with their professors regarding accommodations specific to the course.
Assistance is available to students whose disabilities have been documented by the appropriate professional and in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Disability verification is solely the responsibility of the DAS office. The student is responsible for providing appropriate documentation. Faculty should not be involved in the process of documenting a disability. As a faculty member, you can assist students by directing them to DAS's resources, thereby easing the student's adjustment and assuring a more positive early university experience. If you do receive a letter from DAS, the student's disability has been documented.
The determination that an accommodation is unreasonable is an institutional decision that must meet legal and educational requirements. Though the academic judgments involved in such decisions are typically the prerogative of the academic unit involved, those judgments must be made within legal parameters. Therefore, such determinations require collaboration between administration and academic units. Faculty members should not unilaterally render and attempt to implement a judgment that an accommodation is unreasonable. Faculty members who believe that a requested accommodation is unreasonable should consult with DAS. You may also contact the Office of Equity and Inclusion, A526 Kerr Administration, at 7-3556 for assistance in analyzing a request for accommodations.
These guidelines are abbreviated and not intended to be comprehensive. For more information, please visit the Office of Equity and Inclusion webpage or contact the appropriate support service. We have a commitment to meeting student and faculty needs in a collaborative fashion for an enhanced OSU learning environment.
Class attendance policies are not determined by the office of Disability Access Services. The number of allowable absences depends on the interactive or participatory nature of a course, or is based on department, college or accrediting agency rules. Therefore, attendance policies are set by faculty at the college or departmental level.
If attendance is determined to be essential, then students need to work with the faculty to determine the maximum time that can be missed before compromising the integrity of the course/program. In most cases, faculty will require a minimum of 70% class attendance. However, depending on the nature of the class (labs, graduate level, group projects, etc.) faculty may require 80% to 90% class attendance.
Similarly, faculty also determine policies regarding make-up work and missed quizzes and exams. Faculty is not required to lower or substantially modify essential course elements in order to provide an accommodation. DAS can provide faculty information regarding the legitimacy of the absences which are based on appropriate medical and/or psychological documentation.
Listen closely to faculty announcements about attendance and make-up policies and procedures. Also, check your course syllabus for information about these issues.
When a student has a chronic condition with random or cyclical acute episodes, accommodations to attendance policies may be appropriate.
Attendance accommodations should be established in advance, not retroactively. Syllabi with detailed attendance, lateness or participation policies should be a cue to students to discuss this topic with the instructor.
Please note that unexpected illness or injury, a recent diagnosis, onset, or change in condition rarely warrants accommodations in attendance policy. Rather, these conditions often warrant a withdrawal. See Academic Regulations 12 and 13 in the Online Catalog for Oregon State University's withdrawal policies.
A 1996 Office of Civil Rights case gave the following factors to be considered when determining if attendance is essential to the course:
- What does the course description and syllabus say about attendance?
- Is attendance factored in as part of the final course grade?
- What are classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?
- Is the attendance policy consistently applied?
- Have exceptions been made for extenuating circumstances other than disability?
- Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students or is group work required for the class?
- Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
- Does the course rely on student participation as a method for learning?
- What is the impact on the educational experience of other students in the class?
Policies identifying the number of allowable absences before they impact grades may be designed to motivate attendance; reflect the interactive or participatory nature of a course or be based on department, college or accrediting agency rules. Like any other policy these are subject to modification (rarely elimination) based on their nature and purpose in the design and delivery of the course."Late Work", "Make Up", and "Pop Quiz" Policies
These policies all tie into attendance and should be included when you discuss attendance. Like "Time in Seat" policies, accommodations may be appropriate depending on the nature of the assignment and its relationship to the pacing and progression of instruction.Flexibility with Attendance
If attendance is determined to be essential, then working with the faculty to determine the maximum time that can be missed before compromising the integrity of the program is required. In most cases faculty will require a minimum of 70% class attendance. However, depending on the nature of the class (labs, graduate level, group projects, etc.) faculty may require 80% to 90% class attendance.Flexibility with Assignments
If the student needs special consideration in meeting deadlines for assignments and tests, the student will notify the faculty of any period of illness or inability to complete deadlines before the due date. The student will make arrangements with the faculty regarding completing the required course work. The student understands that he/she will need to work with the faculty to determine the new due date and that the request for an extension must be made in advance of the due date.Statement for Notification Letter when Attendance is Essential
If the student is eligible for this accommodation, the faculty notification letter will contain the following:
"Student's disability might impact class attendance. It is estimated that this will not exceed 30% of the term. The Student-Instructor Agreement should be completed and noted if more than 70% attendance is required due to the structure of the class. It is student's responsibility to inform you (the instructor) of his/her absence in a timely manner (i.e., before class), and to clarify with you the methods and timelines for making up assignments missed due to the absence from class (i.e., make up tests and quizzes, timeline for handing in work that was to have been handed in during the class period, etc.)."
If a faculty member is concerned that an accommodation will lower standards, compromise an essential component of or fundamentally alter a course or program, such concern should be raised at the earliest opportunity but no later than the first business day following the first day of the class section in which the student is enrolled, or receipt of notification of the accommodation, whichever is later. DAS shall immediately attempt informal resolution of the matter. In the event informal resolution efforts by DAS are unsuccessful, DAS shall notify the student of his/her right to file a grievance with OEI, no later than 30 days prior to the end of the current academic term, if time permits. When the student has filed a grievance with OEI or DAS has requested OEI's assistance in addressing the dispute, and OEI's attempts at informal resolution have been unsuccessful, OEI will convene and seek the advice of a deliberation committee of, at least, five faculty: two from the department where the concern was raised, two teaching faculty from the University Advisory Committee on Persons With Disabilities, and at least one from a related discipline selected by OEI with input from the chair of the UACPD. In rendering its advice to the OEI, the committee shall thoroughly consider such information and input, as it deems appropriate to address the issue. Every effort will be made to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible and within the term in which the issue was raised. OEI will decide how the matter should be resolved. Unless there is an appreciable threat to the safety of the student with a disability or others, the student should be allowed to proceed under the proposed accommodation until the matter is resolved. OEI will comply with the time limits prescribed by OSU's Discrimination Complaint Procedures.
Download and print the Accommodation Dispute Form.
Disability Access Services (DAS)
A200 Kerr Administration Building
Office of Equity and Inclusion
Kerr Administration A526
This publication will be made available in an accessible format upon request to:
Tracy Bentley-Townlin, DAS, 737-3669.