- Reasonable Accommodation Syllabus Statement
- Frequently asked questions
- Grievance policy and procedures
- Terminology definitions
As an institution of higher education, we have a responsibility to inform students with disabilities about the process of accessing reasonable accommodations. As you prepare course materials for the upcoming semester, please include the following Reasonable Accommodation Syllabus Statement.
Students with Disabilities: Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please contact the Access Center at 360-546-9238 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Access Center is located in the Classroom Building, Room 160. Accommodations may take some time to implement so it is critical that you contact the Access Center as soon as possible.
All accommodations must be approved through the Access Center.
WSU Online Course Syllabus Statement
The following statement is included for online courses:
Reasonable accommodations are available with online classes for students with a documented disability. All accommodations must be approved through your WSU Disability Services office. If you have a disability and need accommodations, we recommend you begin the process as soon as possible.
For more information contact an Access Center Coordinator on your home campus:
A student says s/he needs accommodations for a disability. What should I tell the student?
Ask the student if s/he has an approved accommodation through the Access Center. If not, direct the student to the Access Center located in the Classroom Building, Room 160 or to the Access Center website at vancouver.wsu.edu/access. If the student has an approved accommodation, s/he should have a LOA for you to sign. Faculty are encouraged to work with the Access Center before providing accommodations to students.
I suspect a student in my class has a disability. What are my next steps?
Access Center staff are available to discuss how to best refer a student to the Access Center. However, it is important to note that it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to initiate contact with the Access Center. You are encouraged to set up a one-on-one meeting with the student and give him or her a list of campus resources to encourage his or her success, including the contact information for the Access Center.
What is my responsibility for maintaining confidentiality about a student’s disability?
Students are in no way obligated to share with you information about their disability or why they are receiving accommodations. If they do share any information with you about their disability, you must hold this information in confidence. Do not discuss accommodations with students in front of the class or allow LOAs to be left in places where others may see them.
Am I allowed to request documentation from the student for any reason?
You may not request documentation from the student. If you have questions or concerns regarding an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact the Access Center to speak directly with the Access Center Coordinator.
Can I provide accommodations for a student without using the Access Center?
Connect with the Access Center before providing your own accommodations to a student. Over accommodation can be as problematic as under accommodation, especially when the student interprets the accommodation as university-sanctioned.
What if a student notifies me of a needed accommodation late in the semester?
Students can request accommodations from the Access Center at any time, not just before or at the beginning of a semester. Once approved for accommodations, students must bring you a LOA to request your signature. Check the date on the LOA. Accommodations are not retroactive, so you are not expected to let the student retake previous tests. Students can sometimes expand their accommodations. Any changes to their accommodations will result in creation of a revised LOA that will require your signature.
Can I post materials and links to Blackboard/Canvas if they are not accessible?
A person with a disability should be able to obtain and have access to information as fully, equally and independently as a person without a disability. Materials should not be made available if all students will not have a fair and equal opportunity.
How can I acquire closed captioning for videos for a course?
By submitting a closed captioning request, no later than two weeks before the video is to be used in class. Especially long videos may require more than a two week notice. The closed captioning request form can be found under the forms section of the Access Center website.
A non-native English speaking student has asked to get a copy of the notes that are provided to a fellow student as coordinated by the Access Center. What should I do?
Inform the student that note taking services are provided exclusively to students who have a documented disability. Notes are not provided to other students through the Access Center.
A student recently failed an assignment or exam and now tells me s/he has a disability. Are accommodations retroactive?
Accommodations are not retroactive. However, if you wish to give the student a chance to do better on an exam, you may do so. After appropriate accommodations have been established through the Access Center, you can choose whether to allow the student to repeat the assignment or retake the exam with accommodations in place.
What is my responsibility if a student has testing accommodations?
Most students who are approved for testing accommodations chose to take their quizzes, exams or finals in the Access Center testing services classroom. Alternatively, faculty members may choose to proctor students within their department as long as they are able to provide the student with his/her accommodations.
Do testing accommodations also apply to quizzes, pop quizzes and clicker tests?
Yes, any graded evaluation. Options for pop quizzes may involve notifying the Access Center (and not the student) beforehand and informing the student they may be directed to check-in with the Access Center staff. Please contact the Access Center before the first quiz so alternative arrangements can be discussed. Note that students may opt out of using accommodations for testing.
What should I do if a student arrives in my class with a service animal?
There are two questions you can ask the student with a service animal:
- Is your service animal required because of a disability?
- What work or task has the service animal been trained to perform for you?
Please note: There is case law allowing an employer to ask what task that is, but no case law has approved or disapproved of this question under Title I or Title II or the ADA. However, guidance from the WA Human Rights Commission states that this question is permissible under WLAD.
Therefore, if the answer to the first question is yes and they are able to describe a task(s) in response to the second question, the animal is a service animal and must be allowed to accompany the student unless an exception discussed below applies. You may not ask for a demonstration of the task the animal performs or any further questions about the type of disability or require medical documentation. The university cannot require someone to register her/his service animals with any department on campus. Service animals must be under the control of their owner at all times.
Individuals are responsible for harnessing, leashing or tethering the service animal, unless an individual’s disability precludes the use of a restraint or if the restraint would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks. The owner is also expected to pick up after the service animal. If the behavior (such as barking or growling) of the service animal disrupts the class, the owner can be asked to remove the animal. A service animal can also be removed if it is not housebroken, if it fundamentally changes the nature of the classroom, course or activity, or if its presence poses a direct threat to another’s health, safety or property.
What are the procedures in the event of a medical emergency during class?
Use the classroom phone or a cell phone to call 911. The 911 operators will notify a Campus Security office. Be prepared to give your location and the nature of the emergency. Afterwards, you may be required to submit an Incident Report.
Is there someone who can help answer my questions or help troubleshoot an issue that has come up in my classroom concerning a student with a disability, such as required lab work or group work?
Yes, Access Center staff are available to address questions and assist with understanding reasonable accommodations and accessible services. Please contact the Access Center with any concerns. The Access Center is a resource to support you and the student.
What are some general modifications I might consider making to my curriculum to make my courses more accessible, and thus maximize the learning of all students?
The Access Center encourages instructors to always consider accessibility, regardless of if there is an identified student in your course with a disability. One way to do so is to shift to a universal design model.
Universal design is “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design." (Center for Universal Design, North Carolina State University). Examples of universal design include closed captioning for all assigned videos, assigned readings that are easily accessible as audio texts or PDFs that are compatible with screen readers (rather that scans, photocopies, or images of text), composing math assignments and exams in MathML in order to be accessible with screen readers, making syllabi available to students prior to the start of the semester, and many more. You are encouraged to research universal design and accessibility by starting with the following resources:
- Universal Design of Instruction in Postsecondary Education. (n.d.).
- Portland Community College: Distance Education and Instructional Support. (2016). Accessibility for Online Course Content: A Guide for Instructors.
Faculty members have the same right as students to raise questions and concerns with disability services/accommodations, especially when it is believed that the accommodations granted present a fundamental alteration to the academic integrity of the course. In these cases, faculty must speak directly to the Access Center Coordinator and NOT to the student in question. In addition, faculty members are still obligated to provide all accommodations as stated in the LOA until resolution is reached.
If a faculty member is still dissatisfied after the Access Center has considered the concern and provided rationale, the faculty should speak directly to the manager of the Access Center or his/her department chair. The department chair will confer with the Academic Leadership Team and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs as needed and will respond to the faculty member within two weeks. Accommodations may not be adjusted until resolution is reached.