General Accommodations Overview
Saint Louis University recognizes its responsibility to help facilitate a campus-wide climate that does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of a disability. An individual with a disability is defined as anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, working, or learning. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) further defines disability as broadly covering people in three categories:
(1) people who currently have a disability;
(2) people who have a history of a disability; and
(3) those who are perceived by others as having a disability whether or not they actually have a disability.
Any student who believes that they meet one of the above criteria is encouraged to contact the Student Success Center (Suite 331; 314-977-3484; email@example.com). Saint Louis University refers to guidelines of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a starting point for maintaining a nondiscriminatory environment.
Part of what has evolved from the above guidelines is the provision of reasonable accommodations. Academic accommodations are provided when an individual has a diagnosed disability that causes current and significant functional difficulty in some aspect of the academic experience. Students with disabilities should consider inquiring about receiving reasonable accommodations, which are available to those qualified, in order to assure nondiscrimination. Examples of accommodations include physical modifications to a residence hall room, extended time testing, books on tape, etc. The purpose of accommodations is to ensure equal opportunity to be successful, but accommodations do NOT guarantee success.
For students, the process of being considered for accommodations begins when the student makes the decision to speak with the Disability Services staff. What is deemed a reasonable accommodation will vary on a case-by-case basis based on how having a disability specifically impacts some aspect(s) of the student's college experience. How accommodations are carried out differs from one situation to another.
Disability Services staff will explain how the accommodation process works in greater details during registration. After registration, each student will be expected to work with faculty and staff as necessary to arrange accommodations. The responsibility of upholding a climate that allows for equal access to all campus opportunities is shared equally among all faculty, staff, and students.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 guarantee protection from discrimination and equal access to opportunity for people with disabilities. Students with disabilities are entitled to accommodations so that they may receive an education in a nondiscriminatory fashion. The purpose of providing college academic accommodations to students with diagnosed disabilities is to ensure that a student has equal access and is not discriminated against because of the presence of a learning or medical disability.
With respect to academics, the student utilizes accommodations in order to have the same opportunity for success as all other students. It is important to note that accommodations foster equal access, which does not equate to a guarantee of success. For example, extended time testing is a common accommodation given to many students with various disabilities. By utilizing extended time testing, students are able to finish roughly the same amount of the test as the majority of all students in the class, which may not be the case without extra test time. This additional time does not mean that the student will automatically earn an 'A' on the test. Rather, because the student finished an equivalent amount of the test compared to others, his or her knowledge of the material can now be equally assessed in the same manner as all other students.
Whereas without extended test time, the student may finish only 70% of the test, the student may finish 95-100% of the test (like the vast majority of students) with extra test time. As a result, the student can now be graded in the same manner as all other students. By using extra test time, the student is not discriminated against because of a specific learning disability that would prevent average test completion otherwise.
For some students, accommodations and supports ensure equal opportunity to participate in college activities, such as club meeting, attending a sporting event, socializing at a popular campus location, etc. Such accommodations include accessible entrances and restrooms, accessible locations of activities, provision of an interpreter in certain situations, etc. These accommodations and supports prevent the student from being discriminated against by not being able to participate in a certain activity.
When students register for academic accommodations through Disability Services, questions asked of them regarding their situation are done for the purpose of determining where the student struggles within the academic process. When these struggles are directly linked to a specific diagnosed disability, the student is offered accommodations. The goal of the accommodation is to minimize the impact of the disability so that the student can be given the opportunity to demonstrate course knowledge (tests, papers, and projects, etc.) and be evaluated (graded) in a nondiscriminatory way. Accommodations are only provided in those specific academic areas where a student notices effects directly related to the diagnosed disability.
An "accommodation" has become general disabilities services shorthand terminology for a modification to policy, procedure, practice, or physical space. Use of aids, such as hearing devices, interpreters, computer software, tape recorders, etc. also fall within the realm of "accommodation." The purpose of any accommodation is to give a student an equal opportunity to participate in both an academic and general university environment. (Information comes in part from "From Legal Principle to Informed Practice," which is offered through the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)).
A reasonable accommodation is an accommodation that provides the student with an equal opportunity to succeed in the class or to experience other aspects of the university without discrimination. A reasonable accommodation is implemented in a timely fashion by Saint Louis University personnel, but the degree of timeliness may vary based on the specific accommodation needs of an individual.
Every effort will be made to provide the student with his or her preferred accommodation request provided that the accommodation meets the factors outlined below. However, in some instances, Saint Louis University may provide an accommodation that is deemed to be reasonable and fair to the student but not be first choice for the student. Or, Saint Louis University may decide that no accommodation is necessary even though the student requested one. The student may choose to accept the accommodation provided (or lack there of) or the student may choose to appeal the decision made by the Disability Services.
Saint Louis University uses the common higher education guidelines listed below when making decisions on accommodations, which are as follows:
A reasonable accommodation does not negate requirements for successful completion of a program, course, service and/or activity, adherence to generally acceptable standards of behavior, rights, and responsibilities, and adherence to administrative and faculty/staff directions and instructions.
In determining SLU's ability to offer reasonable accommodation to an otherwise qualified student with a disability, each request for an accommodation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by Disability Services. Factors to be examined include, among others:
- the academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in an education program or service;
- the purpose and nature of the program, course, and/or service;
- the precise education-related abilities and functional limitations of the student and how those limitations could be overcome with reasonable accommodation;
- the nature and cost of the accommodation required in relation to the college's financial resources;
- the consequences of such an accommodation upon the operation and educational mission of the college, course, program, service and/or activity;
- other federal, state and local regulatory requirements.
An otherwise qualified student who requires attendant care services must make arrangements to provide for his/her own attendant care service. Saint Louis University does not assume coordination or financial responsibilities for attendant care services. Saint Louis University is not required to offer or provide an accommodation to admit or to continue to admit an individual with a disability to any particular program, course, service, and/or activity or to provide educational opportunities and other services when:
- the educational standards or mission of Saint Louis University would be substantially altered;
- the nature of the program, course, service and/or activity would be fundamentally altered;
- the student is not otherwise qualified (with or without accommodations) to meet the academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in an education program, course, service and/or activity;
- the effects of the disability cannot be overcome even with reasonable accommodations;
- the individual would not be able to complete a program, course, service and/or activity; even with reasonable accommodations;
- an undue financial or administrative hardship (college-wide) would be caused by the accommodation;
- if the individual would still pose a direct threat to the health or safety of himself/herself or others.
- Extended time testing;
- Quiet testing in a room outside of the classroom;
- Use of computer to take essay exams;
- Student volunteer note-taking services;
- Use of a scribe or reader for testing;
- Attendance accommodation;
- Possible early course registration;
- Use of equipment such as a tape recorder, FM Loop, Dragon Naturally Speaking, talking calculator, etc. ;
- Books provided in audio or alternate format.