Academic Accommodations Process - Law School
Academic Accommodations Process - Law School
Academic Accommodations Process
THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME LAW SCHOOL’S PROCESS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES REQUESTING REASONABLE ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATIONS
Table of Contents
- Requesting Academic Accommodations
- Implementing Accommodations
- Grievance Process
This process concerning the requesting and implementation of reasonable academic accommodations applies to all students of the University of Notre Dame Law School. All other students utilize a different process for requesting accommodations, and those other students may request reasonable academic accommodations in accordance with that process.
- REQUESTING ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATIONS
The University of Notre Dame is committed to providing equal educational opportunities for qualified students with disabilities. Accordingly, the University complies with federal and state laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (the “ADA”), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in the administration of its education-related programs and activities.
The University is required to provide reasonable accommodations for only the known limitations of otherwise qualified students with disabilities. Thus, students with disabilities must register with the Sara Bea Student Accessibility Services Office (“Accessibility Services”) to qualify for reasonable academic accommodations. Upon receipt of a request for an academic accommodation, Accessibility Services will communicate as needed with the affected student, and not with family members or other third parties, about the request. Students with questions about this process should consult with the Sara Bea Student Accessibility Services.
Sara Bea Student Accessibility Services
- Self-identification. Prior to any consideration of accommodations, a student must first register with Accessibility Services and provide appropriate documentation of the disability.
- Determination of Disability. The Sara Bea Accessibility Services staff (the “Sara Bea Staff”) reviews the documentation to determine if the student is a “qualified individual with a disability” under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Within ten (10) class days after providing appropriate and complete documentation of the disability, the student shall be notified in writing of the Sara Bea Staff’s determination, which is final. As used throughout this Process, “class days” refers to all class days (Monday-Friday) from the first class day to the last class day, as reflected on the Registrar’s calendar, and does not include reading days or final examination days.
- Initiation of Interactive Process / Intake Appointment. If the Sara Bea Student Accessibility Services office determines that a student is a qualified individual with a disability, the student must meet with the Sara Bea Staff to discuss and request the reasonable accommodation(s) that the student may need. Because approved accommodations apply only to a student’s current courses, qualified students must request accommodations with Accessibility Services each semester. The University will not grant accommodations to students retroactively (i.e., for any academic work prior to this intake appointment).
Students may not request accommodations directly from individuals other than the Sara
Bea Accessibility Services Office (such as an instructor, or Dean), and the University is not required to honor any accommodations that a student pursues without the approval of the Accessibility Services Office if it is later determined that the unauthorized accommodation would be unreasonable or inappropriate.
- Revising Accommodations. A qualified student who finds that approved accommodations do not adequately address all of the impacts of the student’s disability, or who encounters new or unanticipated challenges not addressed by the originally approved accommodations, should make an appointment with Accessibility Services to explore whether additional or different accommodations may be needed.
- Confidentiality. Accessibility Services may share information about a student’s disability with the designee of the Law School’s Dean, which may include the Director of Student Services (the “Designee”), if necessary, for the student’s support. A student also may voluntarily elect to discuss with the Designee the nature of the student’s disability, the particular limitations posed by the disability, supplemental accommodations or learning aids, or other related issues.
- IMPLEMENTING ACCOMMODATIONS
The determination as to whether requested or necessary academic accommodations are reasonable generally results from an interactive process that may involve the student, Accessibility Services, the Designee and, when appropriate, the instructor, the Dean or program director, the Provost’s designee and/or officials from Student Affairs. These officials are responsible for determining whether the requested accommodations are reasonable within the context of the student’s academic program.
A. Testing Accommodations
Testing accommodations are changes made in the administration of a test so as to remove obstacles to the test-taking process that are imposed by the student’s disability. Testing accommodations may include, but are not limited to, flexibility in the setting where the test is to be taken, or flexibility in the scheduling of or time allotted for completing the test. In order to preserve the anonymity of the student requesting accommodations, a designee (the “Designee”) from the Law School will coordinate the implementation of these testing accommodations with Law School faculty.
- Request for Testing Accommodations. Qualified students with disabilities are expected to meet with Accessibility Services to request testing accommodations as soon as possible at the start of each semester and, in any event, at least 20 class days prior to the implementation of the requested testing accommodation(s). Exceptions to this deadline, and any of the other deadlines applicable to students requesting testing accommodations, may be made only by Sara Bea Staff and only under exceptional circumstances. Sara Bea Staff shall discuss the accommodations requested by the student with the Designee. The Designee shall not provide additional accommodations beyond those described by Accessibility Services without first consulting with Accessibility Services.
- Initial Response to Request for Testing Accommodations. Within five (5) class days after receiving the student’s request for testing accommodations, the Sara Bea staff (in consultation with the Designee) must inform the student of the status of the requested accommodation(s). If Accessibility Services informs the student that the requested testing accommodations have been approved, then the student must discuss and coordinate the implementation of the accommodation(s) with the Designee at least 10 class days prior to test(s) in question. If Accessibility Services informs the student that the accommodations have not yet been approved and are still under review, then the student will receive the reasonable accommodations identified by Accessibility Services if the following two conditions are met: (1) the student discusses and coordinates implementation of the accommodations with the Designee at least 10 class days prior to the test(s) in question; and (2) the Law School does not issue a final determination by the 5th class day prior to the test(s) in question.
- Instructor’s Objection to Requested Testing Accommodations. Because of the Law School’s anonymous grading policy, the Designee, without divulging the identity of the student, may consult with the instructor about whether one or more of the requested testing accommodations will fundamentally alter the nature of the course. If the instructor believes any requested testing accommodation will fundamentally alter the nature of the course, the instructor should discuss those concerns with the Sara Bea Staff. If the situation remains unresolved and the instructor wishes to deny the accommodation, the instructor must provide reasons for denying the request, in writing, to the instructor’s Dean (or Dean’s designee) within five (5) class days of the instructor’s receipt of the request for testing accommodations from the Designee.
- Dean’s Review of Requested Testing Accommodations. After reviewing the accommodation request and the instructor’s written reasons for denying the request, the Dean (or another designee of the Dean) must consult with Accessibility Services, and may also consult with the instructor and the Designee. If the Dean (or Dean’s designee) concludes that the student’s request is reasonable and will not fundamentally alter the nature of the course, then the Dean shall inform the Designee, the Accessibility Services office and the student that the requested accommodation has been granted. If the Dean (or Dean’s designee) agrees with the instructor, then the student and Accessibility Services will be informed in writing that the request is being denied and of the reasons for the denial. Consistent with Paragraph II.A.2, if the Dean’s (or designee’s) final decision is not communicated to the student at least five (5) class days prior to the implementation of the testing accommodation(s), then the student may be eligible to receive the testing accommodations identified by Accessibility Services.
B. Non-testing Accommodations - Auxiliary Aids & Services
“Auxiliary aids and services” may include, but are not limited to, note-takers, sign language interpreters, and the provision of assistive software (e.g., text-to-speech software), Braille or large print materials. While the University regularly provides a wide variety of auxiliary aids and services to its qualified students with disabilities, it is not required to provide devices or services of a personal nature, such as personal attendants or readers for personal use.
- Determination of Necessary Aids and Services. After meeting with qualified students and taking into account their needs and limitations, Accessibility Services will determine each semester necessary auxiliary aids and services for qualified students on a case-by-case basis. A final or interim decision concerning whether to grant the requested auxiliary aids or services will be rendered within ten (10) class days of Accessibility Services receipt of the request for accommodation.
- Involvement of Instructor. There may be occasions where the Sara Bea Staff or the Designee must consult a student’s instructor to determine whether certain requested auxiliary aids and services are reasonable in the context of the essential standards of a course, academic program or related activity. . In such cases, because of the Law School’s anonymous grading policy, the Designee will consult the student’s instructor, without divulging the identity of the student, within five (5) class days of the Designee’s receipt from Accessibility Services of the accommodation request concerning any auxiliary aids or services requested by the student. If the instructor wishes to deny the requested auxiliary aids or services, the instructor must provide the reasons for denying the request, in writing, to the instructor’s Dean (or Dean’s designee) within five (5) class days of the instructor’s receipt of notice of the need for accommodations.
- Final Determination Authority. After reviewing the request for auxiliary aids and services and the instructor’s written reasons for denying the requests, the Dean (or Dean’s designee) must consult with Accessibility Services, and may also consult with the instructor and Designee. If the Dean (or Dean’s designee) concludes that the request is reasonable and will not fundamentally alter the nature of the course, then the Dean (or Dean’s designee) shall inform the student and Accessibility Services that the request is being approved. If the Dean agrees with the instructor, then the student and Accessibility Services will be informed in writing that the request is being denied and of the reasons for the denial.
C. Non-testing Accommodations - Academic Adjustments
“Academic Adjustments” are modifications to how students participate in courses. These modifications do not change academic standards; rather, they allow students to meet course requirements by giving qualified students equal access to the educational opportunities of the University. Academic adjustments may include (but are not limited to) course substitutions or alternative means of completing assignments (e.g., oral presentation versus a written paper, or extending a deadline). These adjustments to courses, programs, or educational requirements shall be provided as necessary and appropriate to enable a qualified student with a disability to enjoy equal opportunity and access. However, adjustments will not be granted where they fundamentally alter the essential nature of a course or academic program, or result in an undue financial or administrative burden.
- Requesting Academic Adjustments. Reasonable or appropriate academic adjustments will be implemented only with the approval of the appropriate academic officials, including but not limited to, the student’s instructor and, in appropriate circumstances, the affected Dean(s) (or designee(s)) and/or the Designee, and the Director of the Center for Student Support and Care. Accordingly, after meeting with a qualified student and taking into account the student’s needs and limitations, Sara Bea Staff will consult within five (5) class days with the appropriate official(s) concerning any academic adjustments requested by the student. Because of the Law School’s anonymous grading policy, the student’s identity will not be divulged during any such meeting. In these cases, a representative of the Law School may be designated for purposes of consulting with the student’s instructor(s).
- Initial Evaluation of Requested Academic Adjustments. If Accessibility Services and other appropriate officials each agree that a requested academic adjustment is reasonable in the context of the essential standards of the student’s course, academic program or related activity, the student will be informed that the requested adjustment is granted. If the Accessibility Services Office or any of the other appropriate officials have concerns about whether the requested academic adjustment would fundamentally alter the essential standards of the student’s course, academic program or related activity, the student’s request for an adjustment shall be evaluated by a committee consisting of Sara Bea staff, the instructor, the affected Dean(s) (or designee(s)) and/or the Designee and, if needed, the Director of the Center for Student Support and Care.
- Final Evaluation of Requested Academic Adjustments. The Sara Bea staff shall convene this committee within ten (10) class days of the appropriate official’s receipt of the request from Accessibility Services for academic adjustment. If a temporary resolution is needed prior to the committee’s evaluation of the request, the Provost’s designee will make an interim decision. In any event, a final or interim decision must be rendered within ten (10) class days of the appropriate official’s receipt of the request for academic adjustment. If the committee agrees that the requested academic adjustment is reasonable in the context of the essential standards of the student’s course, academic program or related activity, the committee will inform the student that the requested adjustment is granted. If the committee determines that the requested academic adjustment would fundamentally alter the essential standards of the student’s course, academic program or related activity, or would otherwise be inappropriate, the committee members shall then inform the student of their final decision denying the request, and of the reasons for the denial.
III. Grievance Process
- Right to Grieve. A student who disagrees with the Accessibility Services Office’s eligibility determination, the University’s final accommodation decision, or any other disability-related issues may file a grievance regarding those issues as outlined in the “Student Grievance Procedures Relating to Complaints Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973” found in du Lac.