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Appendix 3: Policy on Students with Disabilities and Steps for Academic Accommodation

Approved by Representative Assembly 4/26/94, Amended 2/27/01, 3/1/11

The following guidelines define procedures for obtaining academic accommodations for students at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).  These procedures are designed to be consistent with the requirements of Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the academic mission of UCSD.  Section 504 regulations state that:

No qualified handicapped student shall, on the basis of the handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subject to discrimination under any post-secondary education program or activity... 34 C.F.R. Section 84.43(a)
 [An institution] ... shall make such modifications to its academic requirements as are necessary to ensure that such requirements do not discriminate or have the effect of discriminating, on the basis of handicap, against a qualified handicapped applicant or student...  Modification may include changes in the length of time permitted for completion of degree requirements, substitution of specific courses required for the completion of degree requirements, and adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted 34 C.F.R. Section 84.44(a) .

Academic accommodations are defined as adjustments or modifications to coursework, course requirements (such as final examinations) and program requirements (such as comprehensive or qualifying examinations) that allow students with disabilities to accomplish the fundamental and essential components of the course of study.  The guidelines that follow refer only to academic accommodations.  The Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) is the source for assistance and guidance in using these procedures.  Access to facilities is addressed in the UCSD Disability Access Guidelines, Policy and Procedures Manual Section 200-9.  Other University policies, guidelines and procedures are available to students who wish to address issues regarding disabilities other than academic accommodation.  For example, complaints regarding discriminatory practices based upon disability should be addressed to the Office of Student Policies and Judicial Affairs, and the UCSD Policies and Procedures Applying to Student Activities and Student Conduct Code, Section 23.10.12 Student Grievance Procedures.  For assistance with locating appropriate offices and processes, contact the Director, Office for Students with Disabilities, Building 202 University Center.

  • Responsibilities of Students

    • 1)

      It is the responsibility of a student who has been diagnosed as having a disability, or who believes that he or she may have a disability, and who believes he or she will desire accommodation to register promptly with OSD.  It is the responsibility of OSD to provide certification if the student’s disability causes a significant functional limitation in the academic environment.  The student must cooperate with OSD in its evaluation of the disability for certification and accommodation needs that is based on the student’s limitations arising from a certified disability.  Information and documentation of disabilities are held in confidence.  The disability is not identified in the letter of certification/recommendation and information about the disability is not provided to other parties without the written consent of the student.

    • 2)
      A student must present an OSD letter of certification and OSD accommodation recommendation to the appropriate faculty member in order to initiate the request for accommodation in classes, examinations, or other academic program activities.  No accommodations can be implemented retroactively.
      • a)
        A student must acquire an OSD accommodation recommendation for each course or academic activity in which he or she wants accommodation.
      • b)
        With regard to a course accommodation request, the student should meet with the course instructor within the first two weeks of instruction.  If the student receives the OSD accommodation recommendation for a specific course or activity at any time after the first two weeks of instruction, becomes disabled during the quarter, or registers for classes late, the instructor should be contacted as early as possible within the quarter to allow reasonable time for implementation.
      • c)
        Prior to provision of any academic accommodation, a graduate student who is undertaking dissertation or thesis research, or preparing for written or oral qualifying exams must acquire OSD certification and accommodation.  It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements for accommodation approval with the faculty member responsible for organizing and conducting the activity reasonably in advance of the time that the accommodation is needed.
    • 3)
      The student is expected to complete all fundamental and essential academic requirements.  A student may do this by completing program or major course work or by completing substitutions authorized by the department, program, or college.
    • 4)

      If a student is not able to reach agreement on accommodations with the faculty members on an issue of immediate concern, the student may request that OSD schedule a joint meeting of OSD, the faculty member, and the department chair, program director or college provost as appropriate in order to expedite a review of the request.  If the faculty member involved is also the department chair the student should request participation at the next higher level by the appropriate dean (or the person designated by the dean).  The student may simultaneously initiate the formal appeals process.         

  • Responsibilities of Faculty Members

    • 1)

      When a student who has not been certified by OSD presents a course instructor, dissertation/thesis advisor, or examiner with a request for accommodation, the faculty member should immediately refer the student to the OSD.  The faculty member shall not diagnose or evaluate the disability and shall not request or require additional information regarding the actual diagnosis or confidential information regarding the nature of the disability.  Accommodations cannot be made retroactively.

    • 2)

      When presented with a request for accommodation by a student with OSD certification, the faculty member or advisor should provide accommodations recommended by OSD, unless in the faculty member’s judgment the accommodations are unreasonable because they will fundamentally alter an academic requirement.   In the event of questions or concerns related to the accommodation recommendations or student needs, or if assistance is needed to implement an accommodation, the faculty member should seek OSD assistance.  A faculty member who cannot meet the student’s request should seek to resolve the matter promptly in consultation with OSD and the department chair, program director, or college provost, as appropriate.

    • 3)

      Requests for substitution of a required course or any other modification of a program requirement should be approved by the appropriate academic authority (department chair or provost) only after consultation with OSD.

  • Appeals

    • Students who disagree with the response to their request for accommodation may appeal the faculty decision or action at any time during the quarter to the Educational Policy Committee.  This is a standing committee of the Academic Senate.  Appeals shall be submitted in writing, addressed to the Educational Policy Committee, c/o Academic Senate, Mail Code 0002, or delivered in person to the Academic Senate Office, Building 214/215 University Center, no later than 30 calendar days after the faculty decision or action.  A decision will be rendered within 30 days of the filing date of the appeal.  The ruling of the Committee may be appealed by either the student or the faculty member to the Senior Vice Chancellor-Academic Affairs, whose decision shall be rendered within 30 days and shall be final.  Appeals shall be submitted in writing to the Senior Vice Chancellor-Academic Affairs Office, Building 105 University Center, no later than 30 calendar days after the Committee’s decision.