II. Policy for the Provision of Accommodations and Support Services to Students with Disabilities
A. General Policy Statement
The California State University (CSU) Policy for the Provision of Accommodations and Support Services to Students with Disabilities (see Appendix A) prohibits unlawful discrimination against students on the basis of disability in CSU Programs, services, and activities in accordance with, but not limited to, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA); Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1998, and applicable California state laws. The CSU Policy is consistent with current applicable federal and state laws concerning the non-discrimination of students on the basis of disability.
The Office for Equity and Diversity (323) 343-3040 coordinates the California State University, Los Angeles compliance with the ADA. The campus does not discriminate against students with disabilities in recruitment, admission, or treatment after admission. In addition, the campus must make reasonable accommodations to permit students with disabilities to fulfill academic requirements. The campus also must provide auxiliary aids to ensure that students are not excluded from programs because of their disabilities. If a disability precludes any student from receiving assistance the student may contact the Office for Student with Disabilities (OSD).
California State University, Los Angeles is committed to providing an inclusive environment that is responsive to the needs of all students. To ensure this inclusion, appropriate accommodations are provided to students and prospective students who have self-identified with verified disabilities and who require these accommodations in order to access the University programs, services, or activities for which the individuals are otherwise qualified. Accommodations will not be provided if they fundamentally alter or impact the nature of the program, inappropriately impede access for others, or cause harm to the health and safety of the student with a disability or others. The University goal is to provide an equivalent academic experience and learning opportunity, not a guarantee of academic success or graduation.
It is a policy of the University to ensure that students, faculty, staff and visitors have access to all facilities on campus. Those persons unable to access University facilities, including, but not limited to, classrooms, performance venues, retail establishments, housing facilities, athletic facilities, and/or events should contact the OSD. The OSD will coordinate the provision of reasonable accommodations and access to all facilities on campus, including any reassignments of classes to more accessible classrooms.
Accommodations may include architectural access changes; closed-in or adapted parking; preferential seating; library assistance; interpreters; real time captioning; note takers; extended time and/or alternative format for exams; text books or classroom handouts in accessible formats; auxiliary aids; and academic adjustments or other accommodations necessary for a particular individual’s needs in order to provide equivalent access to the programs and services of the university.
Students with disabilities unable to access the University ceramics lab in the Fine Arts building must request a reasonable accommodation from the OSD and notify the ceramics lab coordinator ideally two weeks in advance of the class start date. The OSD will coordinate with other University units to provide reasonable accommodations for students who require assistance, including, but not limited to, accessing the kilns, throwing wheels, sinks and providing any other equipment or assistance needed to participate in the class.
B. Responsibilities of the Office for Students with Disabilities
The University has designated the OSD as the office responsible for receiving, reviewing, and verifying disability documentation for students, authorizing and providing specialized auxiliary aids and services, and assisting faculty, staff, and administrators in providing equal access to programs and services with reasonable and appropriate accommodations in a timely manner.
Among other responsibilities, OSD is to do the following:
1. Verify the existence of a disability(ies) and the need for academic accommodations based on documentation provided from an appropriately qualified professional, as specified by standards established by the California State University as set forth in the California State University Policy for the Provision of Services to Students with Disabilities (Appendix A) and relevant state and federal guidelines.
2. Assess requests for accommodations by students and make recommendations and/or authorize reasonable access methods or services, based on the functional limitations associated with the student’s disability that are clearly documented in the student’s psycho educational assessments and/or medical records. Specific accommodations and supportive services will be provided, taking into consideration the nature and severity of the functional limitations verified by an appropriate professional.
3. Initiate contact with faculty regarding a student with a disability only when authorized by the student and if deemed professionally necessary to do so.
4. Work cooperatively with departments in the interactive process of examining requests for accommodations to ensure that eligible students are provided appropriate access to the educational process.
5. Provide training for faculty, staff and managers in the provision of services, including teaching strategies, for working with students with disabilities.
6. Provide outreach to the campus community regarding disability awareness, services available, procedures for acquiring and providing accommodations, and resolving disputes.7. Work with campus administration to analyze trends, identify problems with campus-wide provision of access, and advise corrective actions to optimize access to campus programs.
C. Responsibilities of College Information Technology (IT) Staff, Open Access Lab (OAL) Coordinators, and Other Campus Staff
1. College IT, OAL and Helpdesk tech staff will provide support to faculty and students with disabilities in the classroom and lab environments.
2. All college, OAL, and technology staff will participate in accessible technology training to assist students with disabilities in their respective areas of work.
3. Staff will promptly facilitate requests made by students or faculty regarding accommodations as appropriate. If unable to respond in a timely manner, staff will immediately consult with OSD for assistance.
4. Staff will treat all matters related to students with disabilities as confidential, in accordance with law and university policy.
5. All campus personnel should consult with the OSD when questions arise concerning provision of reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities.
D. Responsibilities of Faculty
Academic departments are responsible for developing educational practices that provide equal educational access to qualified students with disabilities and to utilize teaching and evaluation methods that measure knowledge of course content and skills during tests or examinations, rather than measuring the presence of a disability.
Some typical responsibilities include the following:
1. The faculty member determine learning goals and objectives for each course and academic program, the essential elements of the course and curriculum, and determine how learning outcomes will be assessed for all students. Different modalities may be determined appropriate for diverse disabilities. The faculty member is neither required nor expected to lower academic standards nor fundamentally alter the essential elements of the course or program to accommodate students.
2. The faculty member is encouraged to include a statement in the course syllabus that advises students with disabilities to register with OSD if they think they may require academic accommodations. The faculty member is not required to provide accommodations retroactively when a student fails to request the accommodations in advance.
3. Faculty should refer a student who self-discloses as an individual with a disability to the OSD office to verify the disability and functional limitations so that appropriate accommodations are authorized. The faculty member must maintain the student’s confidentiality. Once the student has self-identified to the OSD, the faculty member must continue to maintain confidentiality.
4. The faculty member should work with the student and the OSD Disability Specialist to review alternative formats if needed for educational materials in advance of the need for such materials or see the Center for Effective Teaching and Learning (CETL) formally the eLearning Programs and Support (eLPS). Early adoption of required textbooks and other course materials facilitates the efforts of OSD to provide appropriately formatted materials in a timely manner.
5. Faculty are required to respond to the OSD-approved requests for accommodation promptly. If unable to provide the authorized accommodation, the faculty member must consult with the OSD Disability Specialist, who will work with the student to determine an alternative reasonable accommodation in order to provide the student equivalent access to learning materials and the learning environment. The faculty member is responsible for resolving any issues in consultation with the student and the OSD.
6. If a faculty member disagrees with the recommended and approved accommodation for access to programs or implementing course objectives, s/he must participate in a timely interactive documented process of review in an attempt to find a successful resolution. Such interactive process should include the student with a disability in addition to OSD staff. The faculty member should bring such matters to the attention of the program chair, and include the college dean and the OSD Director to seek assistance in providing access or academic program adjustment (see Academic Program Adjustment below).
7. Faculty should participate in training sessions and educational activities provided by the campus in order to learn and maintain awareness of access/accommodation issues in order to include them when designing new or redesigning existing curriculum and programs.
8. The Faculty member should work with appropriate campus personnel to ensure that electronic and all other instructional information for their courses is in an accessible and usable format for students with disabilities or contact eLearning Programs and Support (eLPS) formally the Faculty Instructional Support Center. Selection of course text book titles and online course materials must be provided to OSD upon request through the department chair. This insures compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 for alternative media/e-text services for eligible students.
9. The Faculty is responsible for promptly reporting equipment or furniture malfunctions, along with any other situations or conditions that would affect student access. Problems should be reported to departmental or other university staff charged with the responsibility to repair or replace such items, and/or to remediate any other conditions that deny or limit access. Problems related to technical and/or technical support equipment should be reported to the college of ITC or the ITS Help Desk so a trouble ticket can be generated to repair or replace broken equipment or furniture.
10. The Faculty member should email the course exam to OSD two working days in advanced or seven days where Braille/tactile graphics are required for students needing Braille/tactile accommodations or alternative formats. Faculty also have the option of uploading the exam to the online system or delivering the exam to the OSD office. Osd does not pick up exams, however OSD does return exams once they are completed by the student.
E. Responsibilities of Administrators and Department Chairs
1. Ensure that the faculty and staff of their programs adhere to the guidelines set forth in this Policy and respond to requests for accommodation in a timely, effective and appropriate manner.
2. In the absence or inability of faculty to choose course materials in a timely manner, the department chair or designee shall choose course materials by the fifth week of the preceding quarter in which the materials are to be used, and identify said materials to the OSD when requested.
3. Provide support to employees in their units at a level sufficient to assure appropriate accommodation of disability.
4. Work with appropriate campus personnel to provide access/accommodation to new or redesigned programs or facilities, accessible communications/information, and maintenance of accessible/adaptive features on equipment.
5. Work cooperatively with the OSD in the interactive process of examining requests for accommodation within their units.
6. In conjunction with OSD staff, ensure that employees within their units are informed of and offered opportunities for training in disability awareness, access and accommodations.
F. Responsibilities of Students
1. Identify him/herself to OSD and provide professional verification of disability. Verification shall include existing functional limitations due to disability and any functional limitations experienced because of treatment and/or medication for a medical condition or disability.
2. Consult in advance with OSD staff to request and determine appropriate academic accommodations needed while enrolled at CSU Los Angeles.
3. Students must submit a request to take an exam through the online service system no later than 5 business days prior to exams, mid-terms and quizzes and no later than ten days prior to the first day of final examinations. Students who are unable to request to take an exam through the online service system may contact the OSD office for assistance. The request will generate an email to faculty outlining options the faculty member may use to supply the exam to OSD, with preference given to emailing the exam as an attachment. OSD will also notify faculty that the student is authorized for an alternate format for examinations.
4. Meet with instructors, preferably before classes begin, or as soon as possible after classes begin, to discuss implementation of the accommodations authorized by OSD in the Notification of Academic Support Services (NASS) emailed to instructors. Untimely requests may result in a delay, substitution or denial of an accommodation.
5. Adhere to the policy and procedures for requesting accommodations and notify OSD staff if there are problems with the accommodations.
6. Request test accommodations reasonably in advance and no later than one week for mid term examinations and quizzes and two weeks in advance of final examination dates.
7. Requests to OSD for required course materials in alternative text should be submitted after early registration and six weeks in advance of the following quarter. Late registration and requests should be submitted reasonably in advance to the start of quarter.
8. Abide by departmental, college, University and CSU policies and academic regulations, as all students are expected to do.
G. Responsibilities of President’s Advisory Committee
A campus President’s Advisory Committee on Services for Student with Disabilities is mandated by the CSU and the president appoints committee members. This committee assists in the evaluation of current campus policies and procedures relating to campus accessibility, architectural access priorities, and academic accommodation of students with disabilities. The committee advises on programs, strategies, and timelines for providing access to the university. See OSD web page for committee charge and membership.
H. Verification of Disability
Verification of disability must be provided by an appropriate professional qualified to assess the nature and severity of the disability, and the functional limitations of the individual with the disability as indicated in the CSU Policy for the Provision of Accommodations and Support Services with Disabilities. The professional who verifies the disability should not be related to or have a close personal relationship with the individual with the disability. When documentation is required, the student shall provide the information on the Medical Assessment Form, which can be obtained from the OSD. Students with disabilities of a cognitive nature may provide a psycho-educational assessment as specified in Section V. C. Written verification must be received in the OSD before accommodations may be authorized. The OSD Director or designee has the authority to determine disability status based on the documentation provided.
In the case of disabilities that are evident upon observation, the OSD Director has the authority to verify the disability. The OSD Director may also determine disability status of students who transfer from a California Community College, the University of California or any other accredited postsecondary institution who received services while enrolled at that institution.
All determination of disability status is subject to established appeal procedures specified in Section VI.
I. Criteria for Evaluating Requests for Accommodations
In evaluating requests for accommodation, OSD shall consider the following criteria as they apply to each request, in an interactive process with the student.
1. The disability documentation must meet established CSU guidelines for verification of disability.
2. The disability documentation must support the request for a specific accommodation.
3. The accommodation must be reasonable and effective, as mandated by the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
4. The accommodation must not be of a personal nature (i.e., personal care attendant assisting with restroom responsibilities). Note: the University is not required to provide personal services or devices.
5. The student must be assured of participation in the particular program without the accommodation.
6. The alternative or combination of alternative accommodations available must provide the student with the same or similar content and/or level of instruction for the particular course, degree requirements or other academic program.
7. The accommodation must not fundamentally alter the particular course, degree requirements or other academic program as determined by the appropriate faculty member, department chair, Dean and OSD Director.
J. Confidentiality and Disclosure of Information
All OSD student records, including student medical records shall be considered “education records” protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and its regulations. Although certain medical records are exempt from FERPA’s definition of “education records,” that exemption does not apply to students with disabilities. In accordance with FERPA regulations, confidential records will be protected with the purpose of providing appropriate academic accommodation or adaptation of curricula. All records shall be secured in a locked filing cabinet.
OSD will not release any information regarding an individual’s diagnosis documentation, or participation in OSD without the student’s written consent or under compulsion of legal process. Information will be released only on a “need to know” basis, except where otherwise required by law. Furthermore, to safeguard the confidentiality of individuals with psychiatric disabilities, evaluators may withhold or redact any portion of the documentation that is not directly relevant to criteria for establishing rationale for requested appropriate accommodations. Information about the student may be released with the student’s informed written consent in accordance with FERPA or other applicable legislation.
Disclosure of confidential medical information may be permitted for the purposes of emergency evacuations or as requested by the Department of Public Safety. In matters pertaining to the resolution of a discrimination complaint filed with the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, OSD may be required to provide information specific to the disability related needs of the student. Additionally, information related to law enforcement and University regulation may be disclosed as warranted by University Police and/or the Office of Judicial Affairs.
K. Academic Program Adjustment
California State University, Los Angeles, provides academic program adjustment to accommodate students with disabilities when the student’s disability prevents him/her from fulfilling the course or other degree requirement in the manner generally required. Academic adjustments include, but are not limited to, course substitutions and adjustment of time limitations to complete degree requirements.
Factors to be considered in determining the appropriateness of an academic program include the student’s functional limitations; the reasonableness of the accommodation requested; whether the request would fundamentally alter the program of instruction (the law does not require a fundamental alteration); conflict with a direct licensing requirement, or otherwise negate a requirement essential to the program. In addition, the health and safety of both the student with a disability and others may be taken into consideration. The process of consultation seeks to maintain the integrity of the academic program and assure successful implementation.
The proposed academic adjustment is generally initiated through means of a discussion between the student and his/her OSD Disability Specialist. If the OSD staff and Director believe the adjustment is necessary, an interactive process with faculty and academic administrators will occur. Unilateral denial of an academic adjustment by faculty or academic administrators before the interactive process occurs is not allowable, nor are untimely delays in the deliberative process. In cases where an academic adjustment is found to fundamentally alter the program of instruction or negate a direct licensing requirement, or negate a requirement essential to the program, faculty and the OSD will make every effort to work with the student to identify and implement alternate means of accommodation(s). See Section III.D for a description of the process for requesting academic adjustment.
L. Personal Care Attendants
Students with disabilities needing the assistance of a personal care attendant are allowed to bring such attendant into the classroom setting. The attendant may provide both personal and academic assistance, such as turning pages, taking notes, scribing, etc. However, the attendant is not permitted to interfere with other students in the class, nor participate in classroom discussions.
M. Service Animals
A service animal is defined as “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal certified and/or trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA defines a service animal as an animal that has been trained to perform function(s) that assist a person with a disability to access their environment. These functions exclude providing comfort. Only certified/trained service animals are allowed on campus. For any questions and/or difficulty related to the use of a service animal, please consult the OSD Disability Specialist.