Case Scenarios

Here are some examples of circumstances that may arise and cause confusion for faculty and/or students. Please contact us with any questions or to discuss a particular situation.

Registering with OAS

Students with disabilities are not required to seek academic accommodations. Participation is voluntary. Once a referral is made, it is student's responsibility to continue in the course and participate with guidance from the instructor. The faculty member should not provide accommodations without receiving an OAS accommodation notification letter from the student.

A student can register with OAS at any time. It is ideal for the student to register prior to the beginning of classes; however, each student has certain experiences (i.e. stigma, negative attitudes from faculty, feelings of inadequacy, misconceptions regarding accommodations, etc.) that may prevent them from registering with OAS. Students sometimes contact OAS in crisis and seek accommodations as a solution.

If the student chooses to register, the process can take about 3-5 days depending on the time of the semester.

If a student is eligible for OAS and receives accommodations, these provisions are in place for the remainder of the course; accommodations cannot be used retroactively. Since accommodations cannot be used for past due work, faculty have to determine how to grade late work. How many assignments are past due? If only one or two, faculty can apply the same leniency (if any) as for any student who may experience sickness, technical issues, or an emergency. If two or more assignments are past due, contact OAS to discuss some potential options for this student.

Faculty-Student Communications

Students are responsible for contacting OAS each term to submit their accommodation letters.

Since faculty make announcements throughout the semester, the office recommends adding one along these lines during the first or second week of class to remind students of this process:

If you are a student that is currently registered with the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) and have not received a copy of your accommodation notification letter within the first week of class, please notify OAS immediately. Students who have accommodations in place are encouraged to coordinate sometime with your professor, during the first week of the semester, to discuss your specific needs for the course as it relates to your approved accommodations. All discussions with OAS and faculty concerning the nature of your disability remain confidential.

The student has a right to confidentiality and can decide whether and what he or she wants to disclose. If the disability is not disclosed to the faculty member, any conversation related to accommodations can focus on the academic challenges experienced by that student.
The faculty member should not ask the student if he or she has a disability. Approach the situation as with any other student having difficulty and inquire what might be impacting their performance. If the presence of a disability is disclosed, refer the student to OAS.
Faculty should not provide an accommodation without official notification from OAS. If a student discloses a disability but does not want to register with OAS, faculty can provide the same support as they would for any student experiencing academic challenges.

During the Semester

Students are responsible for notifying faculty when an accommodation is needed.

A student does not have to use the approved accommodations. If a student decides to not follow through with an arranged accommodation, the instructor can grade the student accordingly. For example, if a student receives "flexibility with deadlines" and has arranged a new deadline to submit an assignment with the professor but fails to turn it in, the instructor can grade that assignment accordingly. The student has been provided the accommodation.

Faculty may refer the student to OAS, which will review the student's documentation to assess whether that student is eligible for additional accommodations.
The same general expectations of behavior apply to all students, including those with disabilities. Students registered with OAS must adhere to the policies and guidelines stated in the Student Code of Conduct. Profanity, aggression (verbal or physical), threats, inappropriate comments, and failing to adhere to academic integrity policies are considered unacceptable due to the disruption of other students and staff in providing services and academic accommodations.
The faculty member may contact OAS with any questions or concerns. If there is a notetaker assigned to the student, the instructor can contact the notetaker to verify notes were submitted and received by the student. OAS maintains records of textbook requests for each student.
If the faculty member not have an accommodation letter for this student, refer him or her to OAS. If the instructor does have an accommodation letter for the student, provide a reminder that accommodations cannot be used retroactively.

If the student does not meet the course requirements, then failing a student is proper and lawful.

When a faculty member has provided reasonable academic accommodations, all that is required to comply with the law (ADA). Here are some considerations for faculty to ensure compliance:

  • Provide verbal (face-to-face courses) and/or written notice to your students of your willingness to accommodate. For example, provide a syllabus statement referring students to OAS and post an announcement during your first or second week of class.
  • Communicate clear and concise expectations for performance to your students. Distinguish between essential and non-essential components of the course.
  • Respect requests for reasonable accommodations once you receive notification from OAS.
  • Assure that any course materials that you add, whether printed or electronic, are accessible and available in alternative formats (OAS can assist in obtaining these formats).
  • Consult OAS if you have any questions regarding a student's approved accommodations.
  • Keep student disability-related information strictly confidential.

The faculty member should consult with OAS. If the student states they have documentation, encourage him or her to forward it to OAS. We will verify the documentation and provide any updates to the faculty.

Depending on when the incident occurs or the length of hospitalization, recommendations could include:

  • Using an accommodation if assignment can be completed within the parameters indicated on the accommodation letter (maximum 7 days).
  • Medical withdrawal: If the student cannot complete the course work due to a medically related emergency, the student could apply for an appeal.
  • Incomplete: If the student meets the criteria for an incomplete, the faculty member can provide this and negotiate a new time frame for completion.