University Procedures for Students with Disabilities
Requests for Accommodations. Students are encouraged to make requests well in advance, in accordance with time lines established by each school. The process for receiving accommodations begins with self-identification. When a student chooses to self-identify a disability, documentation should be forwarded to the Local Disability Resource Coordinator.
For SON requests, contact Robin Stacy at Robin_Stacy@urmc.rochester.edu or (585) 275-5912. The Local Disability Resource Coordinator will work with the UDRC and, when appropriate, with the Eligibility Assessment Team and any Technical Standards Committees, to verify eligibility.
Arrangements for Accommodations
Once verification of eligibility is determined, the Local Disability Resource Coordinator, with the student's written permission, notifies faculty and University service units of the need to provide an accommodation. The Local Disability Resource Coordinator will take into account any accommodations that have been implemented previously by other schools within the University. It is the student's responsibility to discuss details about any specific classroom needs directly with the instructor.
Disclosure of a Disability
Deciding to Disclose. Whether to disclose of the existence of a disability is a topic some students may wish to discuss informally with a Local Disability Resource Coordinator or the UDRC. Both the UDRC and the Local Disability Resource Coordinators will treat such conversations confidentially. A student will not be considered to have self-identified a disability until the student has expressed a desire to do so by submitting written documentation.
To receive accommodations, students must forward appropriate medical documentation to the Local Disability Resource Coordinator. Disability documentation must be certified by a licensed physician, psychologist, audiologist, speech pathologist, rehabilitation counselor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, or other professional health care provider. Documentation must reflect the student's present level of functioning with respect to the major life activity affected by the disability.
The diagnostic report should include, where appropriate, specific recommendations for accommodations as well as an explanation as to why each accommodation is recommended. In some circumstances, the University may request a student to provide additional documentation to further support specific test results or clinical observations. In documenting a learning disability, individuals should follow the guidelines for documentation as set forth by the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD). These guidelines are readily available at the University Disability Resource Office, at all Local Disability Resource Offices, and may be accessed online at www.ahead.org (see Appendix A).
The cost of obtaining professional documentation is borne by the student. If the initial assessment provided by the student is deemed incomplete or inadequate, the University has the discretion of requiring a supplemental assessment. The cost of the supplemental assessment is also borne by the student. In the event of the need for a second professional opinion other than the supplemental assessment described above, the University will bear any cost not covered by a third party payer. In circumstances in which the cost of providing documentation of a disability increases the student's cost of obtaining an education, the University will consider such expenses in the student's financial aid package.
Documentation about the existence and nature of a student's disability is private. Disclosure of such information is made to establish a student's eligibility for reasonable accommodations and to identify those accommodations. Because such information is often sensitive, the University is committed to the principle that information about a student's disability be maintained confidentially.
Without written consent from the student and except as stipulated below, information contained in the disability file is considered confidential. Under no circumstances will such detailed disability information become part of a student's academic record. Information about the existence and the relevant limitations of a disability and the accommodations for which a student is eligible should be disclosed only with the student's written permission. Such written permission should be provided at the beginning of each semester to secure academic/course-related services and support services (e.g., housing, parking, library usage).
Access to a student's disability file is limited to the Local Disability Resource Coordinator, the UDRC, and other University officials when essential to their jobs, or to protect the health or safety of the student or others. Whenever possible, detailed disability information when it is presented to members of the Eligibility Assessment Team and to any Local Technical Standards Committees will protect the identity of the student. When this is not possible, the identity will be kept confidential. Only the UDRC will retain meeting records or minutes that contain names or other identifying information.
Requests for Further Review
If a student is dissatisfied with a decision concerning accommodations, both informal and formal processes are available for further review. The initial review consists of an informal review of all relevant materials by the Local Disability Resource Coordinator, in consultation with appropriate committees. The purpose of this local review is to mediate and resolve differences.
If a student is dissatisfied with the decision made at the informal level, the student may formally request that the decision be reviewed by the Dean or Director of the school or by his or her designee. The Dean or Director may request a report and recommendations from the University Disability Resource Coordinator and, when appropriate, the Eligibility Assessment Team. An initial appeal may be made to the Senior Vice Provost and Vice President for Health Affairs who may accept or reject the appeal or, at his or her discretion, assign it to a designee. A final appeal may be made to the Provost who may accept or reject the appeal or, at his or her discretion, assign it to a designee.