2.2 Reasonable Accommodation

Overview

A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a class or program that allows qualified persons with a disability to participate or to enjoy the rights and privileges offered by the university. Modifications that impose an undue burden or pose a health or safely risk are not considered reasonable.

The University is required to make modifications only to known and validated disabilities. The student must give the university reasonable notice of the request for modifications. Whatever steps necessary to ensure that qualified individuals with disabilities are not excluded, treated differently or segregated because of the absence of auxiliary aids or services must be taken.

The provision of modifications is coordinated through OSWD. Disclosure of eligible disabilities is made to OSWD, which also receives medical records and other necessary documentation supporting the student's eligibility and the need for an accommodation.

Students should be able discuss accommodations in collaboration with faculty and OSWD staff. Arranging effective accommodations requires that faculty, students, and OSWD staff collaborate, communicate, and follow through in a timely fashion.

Extracurricular Activities

The law requires that organizations that receive significant assistance from the University are also governed by the provisions of the ADA and Section 504. Extracurricular activities that are a part of the University are covered by the provisions of the law and should be scheduled at accessible locations if at all possible.

Auxiliary Aids & Services

This term refers to equipment or service providers that augment communication. Examples are sign language interpreters, note takers, readers and scribes, laboratory and library aids, computer-aided transcription devices, assistive listening devices, telecommunications devices, texts in digital formats, and Braille, large-print, and raised-line materials. The University pays the cost of the auxiliary aid or service.

If provision of a particular auxiliary aid or service would result in a fundamental alteration of the program or otherwise create an undue burden, e.g., significant difficulty or expense, the University will attempt to provide an alternative auxiliary aid or service. The University is not obligated to provide personal-care attendants, individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study, or other devices or services of a personal nature.

Fundamental Program Alteration

An accommodation or modification that would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program is not permitted. For example, where a course requirement is essential to the program of instruction taken by the student, the University is not required to waive the requirement.

In evaluating whether requested program modifications would require substantial program alteration or would fundamentally alter academic standards or programs, the program administrator should consider the underlying academic reasons for the program components, the academic standards institutionalized in the program, how the challenged components are consistent with the program standards, and whether the requested accommodations would be inconsistent with the academic goals and standards of the program.

Undue Burden

The University need not make modifications or provide auxiliary aids or services if it constitutes an undue burden. In determining whether an undue burden would be created, the factors to be considered are the nature and cost of the action needed in the context of the overall financial resources of the University.

Direct Threat to Health or Safety

The University is not required to permit an individual to participate in or benefit from a University program or service when that individual poses a direct threat to health or safety. Direct threat means a significant risk to health or safety that cannot be eliminated by modification of policies, practices, or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services. In determining whether an individual poses a direct threat to health or safety, the University must make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or the best available objective evidence, to ascertain:

  • the nature, duration, and severity of the risk;
  • the probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and
  • whether reasonable modification of policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate the risk.

This standard should be applied to all individuals, and not just to disabled individuals.