PUC has an institutional commitment to provide equal educational opportunities for qualified disabled students in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It is the policy that no qualified person be excluded from participating in any college program, be denied the benefits of any college program, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination with regard to any college program.
The efforts to accommodate people with disabilities must be measured against the goal of full participation and integration. Services and programs to promote these benefits for people with disabilities shall complement and support, but not duplicate, the regular services and programs.
Accessibility: The Key to Equal Opportunity
Assurance of equal educational opportunity rests upon legal foundations established by federal law, specifically the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 including Section 504, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. By federal law, a person with a disability is any person who: 1) has a physical or mental impairment; 2) has a record of such impairment; or 3) is regarded as having such an impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities such as self-care, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, or learning.
Student Rights and Responsibilities
A qualified disabled student is a disabled person who meets the academic and technical standards required for admission and participation in the educational program or activity.
Every qualified student with a documented disability has the following rights:
- Equal access to courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities available through the college.
- Reasonable and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids determined on a case-by-case basis.
- Appropriate confidentiality of all information pertaining to his/her disability with the choice of to whom to disclose their disability except as required by law.
- Information reasonably available in accessible formats.
Every student with a documented disability has the responsibility to:
- Identify themselves in a timely manner to the disabilities coordinator or the instructor as an individual with a disability.
- Meet the college's qualifications and essential technical, academic and institutional standards.
- Provide documentation from an appropriate professional source that verifies the extent of the disability, functional limitations, and the need for specific accommodations.
- Follow specific procedures for obtaining reasonable and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids.
- Assume personal responsibility for taking any medications.
- Comply with the Student Code of Conduct as written in the college catalog.
Institutional Rights and Responsibilities
Pacific Union College has the right to:
- Maintain the college's academic standards.
- Request current documentation from a student completed by an appropriate professional source to verify the need for reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids.
- Discuss a student's need for reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids with the professional source of his/her documentation with the student's signed consent authorizing such discussion.
- Select among equally effective and appropriate accommodations, adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids in consultation with students with disabilities.
- Deny a request for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids if the documentation does not identify a specific disability, fails to verify the need for the requested services, or is not provided in a timely manner.
- Refuse to provide an accommodation, adjustment, and/or auxiliary aid that is inappropriate or unreasonable including any that:
- pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others;
- constitute a substantial change or alteration to an essential element of a course or program; or
- pose undue financial or administrative burdens on the college.
Pacific Union College has the responsibility to:
- Provide information regarding policies and procedures to students with disabilities and assure its availability in accessible formats upon request.
- Evaluate students on their abilities, not their disabilities.
- Provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids for students with disabilities upon a timely request by a student.
- Maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communication concerning students with disabilities except where disclosure is required by law or authorized by the student.
The TLC is charged with the responsibility of collecting and holding disability documentation. This information is treated as medical documentation and handled under the same strict rules of confidentiality as other medical information. It is kept in a secure file with limited access. Information will be shared only on a limited basis within the institutional community and only when there is a compelling reason. Unless there is a threat to an individual's safety and/or emergency situation, consent of the student will be requested prior to releasing medical/psychological documentation to a third party. Confidentiality is not maintained in the case of child abuse, suicidal or homicidal intent. Information may also be released with the student's permission on a need-to-know basis.
Circumstances that may warrant such disclosure may include:
- Requests for a course substitution
- Concerns for the student's health
- Special circumstances in housing
- Grievance procedures
- Special financial aid considerations
Maintenance of Records:
A confidential file is maintained on each student that includes demographics, documentation of the disability, a record of each contact and action taken. Student records will be shredded five years after the last attendance.
Responsibilities of the disabilities coordinator Include:
- Determining eligibility for participation of students with disabilities in the academic accommodations process based upon a review of appropriate documentation.
- Determining the appropriate accommodation for each student based on the individual's need.
- Assuring the student receives the appropriate accommodation.
- Interacting with faculty when appropriate.
- Informing students with disabilities of college policies and procedures for filing a formal grievance through the Grievance Committee as described in the Student Handbook (Grievances must be filed no later than two weeks after the end of the quarter).
Responsibilities of the Student Include:
- Contacting the disabilities coordinator at the beginning of each quarter so that appropriate accommodations can be made in a timely manner. Students are strongly encouraged to make this contact within the first two weeks of each quarter.
- Providing the disabilities coordinator with appropriate medical, psychological, psychoeducational, or neuropsychological documentation indicating the student's disability and suggested accommodations.
- Providing signed consent authorizing the disabilities coordinator to discuss his/her need for reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids with the professional source of his/her documentation.
- Informing the faculty member or professor at the beginning of each quarter about his/her disability, how performance may be affected, and necessary and reasonable accommodation(s).
- Meeting the timelines and procedural requirements established by the disabilities coordinator for scheduling exams, requesting assistance, and arranging with a faculty member and/or the disabilities coordinator for getting the exam to the location of testing. If the student fails to provide adequate notice of the need for space and/or assistance, he/she is still entitled to the accommodation, but there is no guarantee that it can be provided in the fullest measure.
Responsibilities of the Faculty Members Include:
- Discussing with the disabilities coordinator any concerns related to the accommodation(s) or arrangements that have been requested by the student during their initial contacts.
- Determining the conditions under which the exam is to be administered (e.g., open book, use of notes, computer with word processing including spell check, formula sheet, calculator, scrap paper, dictionary).
- Providing appropriate accommodations, either personally or by making arrangements with the Disabilities Coordinator.
- Assuring the timely delivery of the exam, along with all necessary instructions and materials for proper administration, if a student's exam is to be administered outside of class. The faculty member may also make arrangements with the student for the delivery and return of the exam.
- Assuring the confidentiality of information regarding students with disabilities.
Recognizing that the nature and severity of the documented specific learning disability may preclude learning in the quantitative or foreign language area even with reasonable accommodations, the college may permit the substitution of specific courses as an accommodation. Because these requirements are often important parts of a program, each case must be carefully considered on an individual basis before a decision is made by the appropriate department chair on the academic dean in consultation with the disabilities coordinator.
- The following procedures must be followed if a student with a documented learning disability is seeking a modification of either the college's mathematics or foreign language requirement:
- The petition process should begin as soon as there is strong objective evidence (e.g., previous documented difficulties) that the student will be unable to fulfill the requirement.
- The student must provide the college disabilities coordinator with current, relevant, and comprehensive documentation and assessment data from certified professionals. Detailed guidelines for acceptable documentation are available from the TLC. They can also be found under Guidelines for Documentation of a Specific Learning Disability. This documentation must substantiate a severe learning disability and its specific impact upon the student's ability in the area of mathematics or foreign language learning.
- A complete case history is required to document the student's history of problems in quantitative or foreign language learning from high school until the date of the petition. This case history should include:
- a personal statement by the student indicating the reasons for the request, including prior experiences with the subject matter; and
- the names of courses and grades, as well as letters from high school personnel and/or college faculty attesting to the student's efforts and diligence in attempting to master the subject matter.
Upon completion of these steps, the documentation and the supporting evidence from the case history are reviewed by the Disability Coordinator. If there is evidence that a substitution is warranted, the disabilities coordinator will forward the petition packet to the academic dean with a copy sent to the student. The student will be notified in a timely manner of the final decision rendered by the academic dean.
Process for Receiving Accommodations
- Students meet with the coordinator of the Disabilities Support Services (DSS) to begin the interactive process and share information.
- Students either present "current" documentation or explore resources for an education assessment or diagnosis.
- The coordinator of the DSS evaluates documentation and either requests more more information or further testing, or gives approval. The DSS coordinator must assure that the documentation provided establishes the individual as a person with a disability and provides a rationale for reasonable accommodations.
- Once the documentation has been received, a student must request services and accommodations by meeting with the DSS coordinator. This will NOT be done automatically and must be initiated by the student.
- If the student qualifies to receive disability services they schedule an appointment with the coordinator early each quarter to discuss the student's learning needs and accommodations for the quarter. The DSS coordinator will not give accommodations without having the opportunity for discussion with the student. To process request the DSS needs at least one week although it can take up to two weeks. So the earlier the student schedules an appointment with the coordinator, the earlier services will begin. (Therefore, if a student requests accommodations for the first time in a quarter a few days before a test, it is unlikely that their needs will be met on time.)
- At the individual appointment with the DSS coordinator the student completes the necessary request forms indicating the services requested for each class. The DSS coordinator makes arrangements for all approved accommodations (i.e., note-taker, books on tape/CD, tutor, test proctoring) and completing the Disability Accommodation Notice.
- It is the student's responsibility to present the Disability Accommodations Notice and communicate their needs with their professor.
- The student is responsible for discussing with their professor if an accommodation for a particular class is not working. If a problem cannot be resolved by talking with the professor, the student should contact the DSS coordinator.
- It is the student's responsibility to contact the DSS coordinator if he or she has any questions or concerns regarding academic accommodations.