Union admits students regardless of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, national or ethnic origin, gender identities and expressions or disability to all the rights, privileges and programs generally accorded or made available to students at the seminary. It does not discriminate on the basis of any of these in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs or other programs administered by the seminary. Therefore, seminary policy ensures that no qualified student with a disability is subjected to discrimination. Students with disabilities are afforded full participation in the seminary’s programs and activities. In response to a request made by a qualified student with a documented disability, the seminary will provide health and disability-related services including reasonable academic accommodations in order to ensure students with disabilities have equal opportunity to attain the same quality of education and be assessed for course content and evaluated, in the same manner as students without disabilities.
The Assistant Dean of Students coordinates services for students with permanent and temporary disabilities, in accordance to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. These national civil rights laws are designed to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Eligibility requires that the disability be current and substantially limit a major life activity (e.g., walking, hearing, seeing, and learning). Impairment alone does not qualify as a disability that is protected under the ADA because not all impairment is substantially limiting to a major life activity. The seminary is responsible for determining the appropriate academic accommodation, adjustments or auxiliary aids. If a student disagrees with the Seminary’s decision, the student may refer to the Seminary’s grievance procedure for such disputes.
HOW DOES A STUDENT REQUEST HEALTH OR DISABILITY RELATED SERVICES INCLUDING REASONABLE ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATIONS?
If a student needs health or disability related services including reasonable academic accommodations, the student should do the following:
- Complete the intake form: If you are a student with a disability, you must self-identify to Accessibility Services as a student with a disability, by completing the Intake Form. Self-identifying as a student with a disability will allow an Accessibility Services team member to schedule a meeting to hear from the student about your experience with disability. The Disability Services Intake and Disability Release Form accessible here:
Students with disabilities who wish to request reasonable accommodations must submit the above form promptly, so there is time to complete the review process and discuss accommodations before the student begins the class or program for which the accommodation is being requested. If you have documentation from your medical provider, you may attach it to this form.
Note: We recognize that not every student is actively under the care of a medical provider. We encourage you to meet with our office regardless, and are committed to finding ways to support you.
- Make an appointment to meet with the Accessibility Services by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your unique barriers to access and to determine what accommodations could help eliminate these barriers. We may ask your medical provider to complete a form to help us determine appropriate accommodations.
- Within fourteen (14) calendar days of receipt of documentation and a meeting with you to discuss your individual accommodations, the Assistant Director for Accessibility Services confirms appropriate and reasonable accommodations.
- The Assistant Director for Accessibility Services outlines the approved accommodations in writing in an Accommodations Letter and provides a copy of this letter to you via email. One letter is crafted for the duration of the student’s degree.
- Once you approve the Letter of Accommodations complete the form below which will grant permission for us to share your accommodation letter with specific faculty members. Upon submission of this form, you should begin to receive accommodations outlined in your Letter of Accommodations.
GUIDELINES FOR MEDICAL DOCUMENTATION:
Documentation may be existing medical records or assessments created by an appropriate professional (e.g. medical doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker). It could be documentation from past educational records or letter of accommodations from previously attended institutions. If a student is under the care of a provider, the Disability Certification Form may also need to be completed by the provider prior to determination of services.
If it is determined that additional documentation is needed and if a student is not yet under the care of a provider, provisional accommodations can be secured in the interim. To obtain provisional accommodations, please set up a meeting with Assistant Director for Accessibility Services. Provisional accommodations can be granted with medical documentation follow-up expected within 45 days of the request.
- The clinician must be qualified to make a diagnosis in the area of specialization.
- The evaluation should be written on professional letterhead, be current, and it should contain the date of the last appointment with the student.
- The clinician must clearly indicate the disability claimed to be covered under the ADA.
- The documentation must clearly support the claimed disability with relevant medical and other history.
- The evaluation must include a description of current treatments and assistive devices and technologies (if any), with estimated effectiveness in ameliorating the impact of the disability.
- There must be a description of the functional limitations the student experiences as a result of the disability, which specifically addresses a post-secondary residential and educational setting.
- The documentation must clearly support the need for the requested accommodation(s).
The Assistant Dean of Students will review the documentation upon receipt and may consult with the student’s clinician (if clarification is needed) upon receiving written consent from the student (the consent form is included in the disability service request form). The Assistant Dean of Students will then meet with the student to determine what accommodations will be reasonable and/or appropriate. The Assistant Dean of students may also consult the student’s professors regarding particular course requirements. A professor does not have a legal right to demand access to the student’s actual documentation, including testing scores, dates, or names of professionals providing such documentation. The United States Department of Justice has indicated that a professor, generally, does not have a need to know what the disability is, only that it has been appropriately verified by the Assistant Dean of Students.
HOW DOES A STUDENT APPEAL AN ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATION IF IT IS DENIED?
Appeal for Academic Accommodations
If a student’s request for reasonable academic accommodations has been denied, a student may appeal the decision of the Dean of Students by petitioning the Academic Dean in writing within 15 days of being informed of the Dean of Students’ decision. The petition should include the original request, information about the accommodation offered by the Office of Student Affairs, if any, and the reason(s) that the student feels the accommodation offered does not adequately meet the student’s disability needs. The appeal will be reviewed by the Dean’s Advisory Committee which will render a decision within 10 days of the date of appeal. The Committee’s decision is not subject to appeal.
HOW DOES A STUDENT APPEAL NON-ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATIONS?
Appeal for non-academic accommodations
If a student believes the Seminary is in violation of Section 504 and ADA regulations, a student may appeal. If a student wishes to file a complaint, the student should contact the Dean of Students. The appeal will be reviewed by the Dean’s Advisory Committee tasked with conduct the investigation of the complaint. All complaints will be investigated promptly.
The Seminary prohibits retaliation against any student who exercises their rights under the statutes, or because they have filed a complaint or taken part in the complaint resolution process.
For more information about services to students with disabilities, or to file a complaint about disability access, please contact the Assistant Director for Accessibility Services or the Assistant Dean of Students.
The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) regulates disclosure of disability documentation and records maintained by the Office of Student Life, which is not a part of the student’s permanent academic record. Under this Federal law, prior written consent by the student is required before the Office of Student Affairs may release disability documentation or records.
FERPA provides numerous exceptions to the general requirement to seek student consent prior to releasing personally identifiable information from educational records. One of the exceptions authorizes the Office of Student Affairs to release information to any school official who has a “legitimate educational interest.” Another exception is for health and safety emergencies.
Professors or other Seminary officials may request information about the impact of a student’s disability on her/his ability to learn. The Office of Student Affairs will only share information with other Seminary officials when appropriate and will carefully balance a student’s request for confidentiality and the request for additional, relevant information about the student. The Office of Student Life seeks to preserve the student’s wish to keep her/his disability information and status confidential. The Office of Student Affairs is extremely sensitive to this issue.
Under FERPA, students are also allowed to inspect and review their files maintained by the Office of Student Affairs. Students have the right to challenge any information contained in the files that is incorrect, misleading, or not accurate and request an amendment to this misinformation.