Determining Reasonable Accommodations

I.  Statement of Philosophy

It is the policy of Carleton College to create and maintain an environment in which all students can learn and work to their fullest potential.  The College is committed to providing equal access and reasonable accommodation to qualified students.

II. Background

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities at institutions of higher education that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education.  Section 504 applies to qualified students determined to: 1) have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or 2) have a record of such an impairment; or 3) be regarded as having such an impairment.  A “qualified student with a disability” is a student with a disability who meets the academic and technical standards for admission to or participation in the educational program or activity.

A qualified student with a disability is entitled to appropriate modifications, academic adjustments, and auxiliary aids and services necessary to afford the student with an equal opportunity to participate in a school’s program.  The College is not required to make modifications, adjustments, or provide aids or services that would fundamentally alter its program or impose an undue burden.

Academic adjustments, reasonable modifications, and auxiliary aids and services are determined on an individual basis.  Examples of academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services are:  additional time for exams, providing a room for exams with reduced distractions, providing breaks during exams, providing written course materials in an audio or other alternative format, and providing a note-taker or sign language interpreter.

A.  How To Apply For An Accommodation.

A student requests an accommodation by submitting an online request. If this is the first time the student has requested accommodations at Carleton (including housing/meal requests), they should submit a First Time Accommodation Request. If this is not the first accommodation request, the student should submit a Supplemental Accommodation Request.  The request should be supported by documentation from a licensed and appropriate medical or healthcare professional identifying the disability and stating why an accommodation is needed. This documentation may be uploaded within the online request and must be current.  Students and their medical/healthcare professionals are also encouraged to submit suggestions regarding specific accommodations desired.

The Office of Disability Services will review the application and medical documentation and advise the student if the documentation is not sufficient.  The College may request updated medical documentation.

If the documentation is sufficient, the Office of Disability Services will meet with the student to discuss available modifications, adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services.  The student will have the opportunity to make suggestions about appropriate accommodations and to comment on a proposed plan of accommodation. 

Based on the documentation provided and the interactive process between the Office of Disability Services and the student, Disability Services staff will advise the student by letter of the accommodation(s) that will be provided (the “Accommodation Letter”).  The Accommodation Letter will be used to notify faculty and other College personnel of the approved accommodations, as may be required.

This process requires time to complete.  Consequently, students are advised to submit their request and supporting documentation as early as possible.  Some accommodations require significant time to implement, such as requesting course materials in a different format.

A student must complete a trimester request form to renew accommodations for an upcoming term. Once an accommodation is approved, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the Office of Disability Services of courses in which the student requests accommodation, using the Trimester Request. A student can submit a trimester request after registering for courses for an upcoming term. Any changes in course schedule need to be communicated with the Disability Services staff in writing so that accommodations can be communicated with the appropriate instructors.  Students who need to have their course materials in an alternative format should advise the Office of Disability Services at least 30 days before the course begins.

B.  Appeals

A student may appeal the determination of the Office of Disability Services regarding accommodations to the Dean of Students.  The appeal must be made in writing within 30 days of the student’s receipt of the Accommodation Letter.

C.  Failure to Receive Approved Accommodations

If a student does not receive an accommodation approved in the Accommodation Letter, the student should immediately notify the Director of the Office of Disability Services.  However, it is essential that students advise the Office of Disability Services of the courses in which they have enrolled so that the Office of Disability Services can advise the faculty teaching the course of approved accommodations.  Students should also advise the Office of Disability Services of non-academic personnel, such as staff involved in housing or extra-curricular activities, who should be advised of approved accommodations.

D. Retaliation Prohibited

Carleton College prohibits any form of retaliation against a student for requesting or receiving an academic adjustment or auxiliary aid or service.  Any employee or student who commits such retaliation will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment or expulsion.  A student who suffers retaliation in violation of this policy should promptly report the violation as provided in the College Statement of Nondiscrimination.