The Office for Students with Disabilities
What is the Office for Students with
The Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) ensures equal access for
students with disabilities by determining what accommodations are reasonable and
appropriate. The OSD also teaches students with disabilities about their
rights and responsibilities, encourages self-advocacy, and promotes empowerment.
Furthermore, the OSD teaches students strategies for academic success,
including test taking strategies, study skills, notetaking strategies, anxiety
reducing techniques, etc.
What is "504"?
The Rehabilitation Act (1973), Section 504, Subpart E - Post-secondary Education, states that qualified
persons with disabilities may not be denied, on the basis of their disability,
access to any program or activity offered by an institution of higher education
that receives federal financial assistance.
504 differ from ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (1990) Title III extended this mandate to include
private institutions. Under ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act an
individual with a disability is a person who: (1) has a physical or mental
impairment which substantially limits a major life activity; (2) has a record or
history of such an impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment
(Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1991).
What does 504 require at postsecondary
Section 504 and ADA require that colleges and universities make reasonable
accommodations to provide equal access to programs and eliminate discrimination
on the basis of disability. For example, it may be necessary to remove
classroom prohibitions against animals for students who are blind. It may be
necessary to allow a student with a learning disability to have extended time on
an exam or to allow lectures to be tape recorded when a disability impairs a
student's ability to keep up with the instructor. Classes enrolling students
with mobility impairments may have to be rescheduled to buildings that are more
accessible. Thus, the adaptation is specific to the individual student. The
ADA and 504 are not designed to ensure success but are designed to ensure equal
Does 504 mean lower academic standards?
No. Section 504 does not inhibit or infringe on institutions of higher
education to establish academic requirements and standards.
What constitutes a disability and how does the
OSD know whether a student is disabled?
The law states that students are responsible to
make their limitations known and provide the designated compliance officer or
disability services department (OSD) with the necessary documentation from an appropriate expert that
the disability exists before any classroom accommodation need be provided.
As a faculty member, you are responsible for
providing the requested accommodations in the classroom.
the students' responsibilities?
The student is responsible for declaring his/her disability with the OSD; for
providing you with the OSD Accommodation Form, which provides information
regarding the necessary accommodations; for requesting that tests be scheduled
at the Testing Center or with OSD; for making an appointment to take the test;
and for attending class regularly (unless there is a disability that interferes
with regular class attendance).
How will I know if there are students with
disabilities needing accommodations in my classroom?
The student will give you an Accommodation Form from the OSD. This form will
provide you with the necessary accommodation(s) for the student.
What do I do when I receive an Accommodation
Form from OSD?
Discuss the student's needs with the student in a confidential setting and
make the necessary academic adjustments.
How can I be sure I am doing what is necessary
to provide academic access?
As long as you provide the accommodations listed on the Accommodation Form,
you are doing what is necessary to provide academic access.
Suppose I don't agree the accommodation is
necessary? Can I contact the OSD Coordinator to find out more about a
You may contact the OSD Coordinator. The Coordinator will provide you with
information concerning the student's disability as it relates to the student's
Suppose my discipline requires some specific
competencies and technical abilities, which cannot be altered?
If specific requirements cannot be modified or waived, please immediately
speak with the OSD Coordinator. It may be useful to utilize a committee
How should I handle a student's disability
Please handle requests for accommodations with the utmost confidentiality.
Make every effort to preserve the student's privacy and treat the student with
the same dignity and respect you would any student. If you are soliciting a
class volunteer to take notes for a student, this should be done without
identifying the student with the disability. Also, maintain a file on the
student and take notes on your interactions with the student and the
accommodations made for the student.
Where do I go for assistance in providing
Feel free to come to the OSD if you have any
questions or concerns regarding an accommodation. You may also wish to consult
with your Department Chair.
What should I do if a student comes directly
to me to discuss her/his disability and requests accommodations?
Before providing any accommodation, please direct the student to the OSD.
The counselors will make the determination as to what accommodations are
appropriate and reasonable based on the documentation provided by the student.