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Official Policy on Special Needs Services and Accommodations (Academic Adjustments)

 

Policy and Procedures for Accommodating Students and Applicants with Special Needs: Mobility-Based and Non-Mobility Based Disabilities (Revised as of July 2011)
 
Woodbury University is strongly committed to promoting and achieving equitable learning opportunities and participation for students with disabilities.  The University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and applicable state and local anti-discrimination laws.  Pursuant to these laws, no qualified individual with a disability shall unlawfully be denied access to participation in or benefits from any services, programs, or activities of the University.
 
The University recognizes physical and mental disabilities that include mobility, sensory, health, psychological, and learning disabilities, and provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities once the disability is adequately documented, as provided below.  It is the responsibility of the student to make his or her disability and needs known in a timely fashion and to provide appropriate documentation and evaluations to support the accommodations the student requests.  The University, however, is unable to make accommodations that are unduly burdensome or that fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program or activity.
 
Procedures for Registering for Reasonable Accommodation
Whenever possible, at least two weeks prior to the beginning of each semester, if not earlier, students seeking an accommodation for their disability should schedule an appointment with the Office of Student Development, fill out an “Accommodation Request Form,” and provide supporting documentation, as discussed below.  This will ensure adequate time to determine if the documentation is sufficient and to make any necessary advance arrangements for the accommodation(s).  Any documentation, or request for accommodation, that is received after the start of classes may delay the provision of accommodations.
 
The Office of Student Development is located in the Whitten Student Center and the phone number is 818.252.5254.  The accommodation request forms can either be found in the Whitten Student Center or you can download them from the Portal site at www.my.woodbury.edu. 
 
It is the student’s responsibility to identify the need for an accommodation and provide the appropriate documentation for the requested accommodation.  Accommodations will be arranged, once students have met with a staff member from the Office of Student Development, formally documented and registered their disability.  It is the student’s responsibility to keep all appointments related to the provision of accommodations.
 
 
General Documentation Guidelines
Students who wish to be considered for reasonable accommodations must submit current documentation (i.e., medical/educational/diagnostic reports) from licensed physicians, psychologists, or other qualified professionals as well as supporting historical records and materials.   
 
Evaluator Qualifications
·         The professional conducting the assessments and rendering diagnoses must have comprehensive training with regard to the specific disability being addressed.
·         All diagnosticians must be impartial individuals who are not family members of the student.
·         The name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator, including information about license or certification, the area of specialization, employment, and state in which the individual practices should be clearly stated in the documentation.
 
Current Documentation
The University requires that submitted documentation be within three years old; however, utilizes common sense and discretion in accepting older documentation of conditions that are permanent or non-varying.  Changing conditions and/or changes in how the condition impacts the individual brought on by growth and development may warrant more frequent updates in order to provide an accurate picture.  The University, therefore, reserves the right to request additional information in order to determine eligibility.
 
Comprehensive Documentation
·         State the specific disability, as diagnosed, and when appropriate, should relate the disability to the applicable professional standards, for example, DSM-IV-TR.
·         Provide relevant educational, developmental, and medical history.
·         Describe the comprehensive testing and techniques used to arrive at the diagnosis.  Include test results with subtest scores (standard or scaled scores) for all tests.
·         Describe the functional limitations.  Explain how the disability impacts the student’s daily functioning and abilities.
·         Offer suggestions for accommodations for the disability and the rationale for the accommodations.
·         An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan is not sufficient documentation of a disability.
·         The University may require additional documentation if it is determined that the existing documentation is incomplete or inadequate to ascertain the extent of the disability or the need for reasonable accommodation.  The cost of obtaining documentation is borne by the student.
·         Please consult with the Office of Student Development for specific documentation guidelines for particular disabilities.
Non-Mobility Based Reasonable Accommodations
Accommodations and services will be provided for qualified students with documented disabilities on a case-by-case basis.  Examples of the accommodations that may be provided when appropriate, include but are not limited to readers, interpreters, note takers, alternative textbook formats, course load modifications, exam accommodations, and flexibility on assignment deadlines.  The University will be ultimately responsible for determining appropriate accommodations in accordance with the law.  This decision will be made on the basis of the documentation provided and the requirements of the academic program.  Accommodations will not be considered reasonable if they would fundamentally alter the nature of the program or if they would be unduly burdensome for the University, either financially or administratively.
 
Mobility-Based and Physical Disability Reasonable Accommodations
The University will insure that mobility-impaired/physically disabled students are scheduled into appropriate classrooms and provided with all necessary equipment and accommodations necessary for the student’s full participation in a course provided that it would not be unduly burdensome or fundamentally alter the nature of the goods or services provided by the University.
 
After a mobility-impaired/physically disabled student meets with the Office of Student Development, completes an “Accommodation Request Form,” and provides supporting documentation, as discussed above, the Office of Student Development will notify the student’s instructors.  Each instructor must determine in conjunction with the Office of Student Development if the classroom, lab or studio is physically accessible prior to requiring the student to attend class.
 
All classrooms, laboratories and locations for meetings or special events off campus will be evaluated for mobility-impaired access for wheelchair users or other mobility-impaired/physically disabled students prior to requiring students to attend any meetings or special events off-campus.
 
Classrooms
All classrooms, laboratories and study areas that will be readily accessible for mobility impaired students will be equipped in the following way:
 
a.    There will be accessible desks, tables, or workstations designed to provide the required wheelchair seating space with ISA priority signage to indicate that mobility-impaired/physically disabled students will have first priority use.
 
b.    Accessible desks, tables, or workstations will be fixed to the floor or otherwise permanently installed.
 
c.    The desks, tables, or workstations will be placed in such a manner as to enable the mobility-impaired/physically disabled student to interact with the class and the instructor, is not made to sit alone, facing a wall, or the other students. 
 
d.    The location of the desk, table, or workstation has to be near an accessible entrance and exit of the classroom.
 
Equipment
All equipment used in classrooms will be readily accessible to mobility-impaired/physically disabled students   By notifying the Office of Student Development at least two weeks prior to the semester, whenever possible, of their mobility based disability and filing out the “Accommodation Request Form,” students will not be required to ask for an accessible facility or readily accessible special equipment or tools.  This does not apply to students requiring non-mobility based and non-physical disability reasonable accommodations, such as special educational accommodations (e.g., note takers).
 
Field Trips and Off-Site Class Activities
All field trips and any off-site or on-site class activities scheduled outside of the regular classroom, laboratory, or studio will be accessible in the following way for mobility-impaired/physically disabled students:
 
a.    Instructors are required to uphold all policies, procedures, and practices for field trips and off-site activities to ensure that the location is accessible for a mobility-impaired/physically disabled student enrolled in their course.  After evaluating the location, if the instructor cannot ensure accessibility, the instructor must demonstrate that modifying the location would fundamentally alter the nature of the programs and services offered as a part of the course.
 
b.    If accessibility is legitimately denied to a special event or field trip, the instructor must provide written notice to the student and provide them with substitute materials or events to compensate for the inaccessible field trip or special event.
 
c.    The Hollywood Gallery may not be used for any student classes, student presentations, or student events.
 
Housing
The University’s North Hall student residence has rooms equipped for mobility-impaired/physically disabled students.  Students will need to indicate on the on-line housing application the need for an accessible room and medical documentation will be required to secure the room assignment.  After which, no additional documentation of the disability will be needed.  There will not be an additional fee for an accessible room.  A limited number of accessible spaces are available. 
 
Public Events
Public events, held on campus in which the general public and student population are invited, will be held in accessible locations on campus.  In circumstances in which changing a location for an event to make it accessible would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods or services provided such as to deny a mobility-impaired/physically disabled student access, the student will be provided with a written notice that the public event cannot be located in an accessible location.  The student will also be provided with substitute materials or events to compensate for the special event.
 
New Woody’s Café
The University will provide appropriate accommodations to ensure that New Woody’s Café will be accessible to mobility-impaired/physically disabled students at all times the Café is operational.
 
Disability Grievance Procedure
The University has an internal grievance procedure for resolution of complaints alleging violations of disability complaints.  Students may also use this grievance procedure to appeal the University’s decisions regarding requests for accommodation.  To file a grievance, students should contact the Dean of Students located in the Whitten Student Center.
 
If a student has any questions or concerns about disabilities, they should contact the Office of Student Development at 818.252.5252 or stop by the Whitten Student Center.