Academic Accommodations Process - Law School

The University of Notre Dame Law School's Process for Students with Disabilities Requesting Reasonable Academic Accommodations

Table of Contents:

I. Requesting Academic Accommodations

II. Implementing Accommodations

A. Testing Accommodations

B. Non-Testing Accommodations – Auxiliary Aids & Services

C. Non-Testing Accommodations – Academic Adjustments

III. Grievance Process

This process concerning the requesting and implementation of reasonable academic accommodations applies to all students of the University of Notre Dame Law School. All other students utilize a different process for requesting accommodations, and those disabled students may request reasonable academic accommodations in accordance with that process.

I. Requesting Academic Accommodations

The University is required to provide reasonable accommodations for only the known limitations of otherwise qualified students with disabilities. Thus, students with disabilities must register with Sara Bea Disability Services (“Disability Services”) to qualify for reasonable academic accommodations. Students with questions about this process should consult with their facilitator or the Coordinator of Disability Services:

Coordinator of Disability Services

Sara Bea Center for Students with Disabilities

Phone: 574-631-7157

Fax: 574-631-2133

sarabeadisabilityservices.nd.edu

1. Self-identification. Prior to any consideration of accommodations, a student must first register with Disability Services and provide appropriate documentation of the disability.

2. Determination of Disability. The Coordinator of Disability Services (the “Coordinator”) reviews the documentation to determine if the student is a “qualified individual with a disability” under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Within five (5) class days after providing appropriate and complete documentation of the disability, the student shall be notified in writing of the Coordinator’s determination, which is final. As used throughout this Process, “class days” refers to all class days (Monday-Friday) from the first class day to the last class day, as reflected on the Registrar’s calendar, and does not include reading days or final examination days.

3. Initiation of Interactive Process / Intake Appointment. If the Coordinator of Disability Services determines that a student is a qualified individual with a disability, the student must meet with the Coordinator to discuss and request the reasonable accommodation(s) that the student may need. Because approved accommodations apply only to a student’s current courses, qualified students must request accommodations with Disability Services each semester. The University will not grant accommodations to students retroactively (i.e., for any academic work prior to this intake appointment). At this intake meeting, the student will be assigned a facilitator who will serve as a resource for the student as the student navigates the interactive process.

4. Revising Accommodations. A qualified student who finds that approved accommodations do not adequately address all of the impacts of the student’s disability, or who encounters new or unanticipated challenges not addressed by the originally approved accommodations, should make an appointment with the Coordinator or the student’s facilitator to explore whether additional or different accommodations may be needed.

5. The Coordinator may share information about a student’s disability with the Law School’s Director of Student Services (“Director of Student Services”), if necessary for the student’s support. A student also may voluntarily elect to discuss with the Director of Student Services the nature of the student’s disability, the particular limitations posed by the disability, supplemental accommodations or learning aids, or other related issues.

II. Implementing Accommodations

The determination as to whether requested or necessary academic accommodations are reasonable generally results from an interactive process involving the student, the Coordinator of Disability Services, the Director of Student Services and, when appropriate, the instructor, the affected Dean(s) (or designee) or program director, officials from Student Affairs and the Provost’s designee. These officials are responsible for determining whether the requested accommodations are reasonable within the context of the student’s academic program.

A. TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS

Testing accommodations are changes made in the administration of a test so as to remove obstacles to the test-taking process that are imposed by the student’s disability. Testing accommodations may include, but are not limited to, flexibility in the setting where the test is to be taken, or flexibility in the scheduling of or time allotted for completing the test. In certain cases, a representative of the Law School may be designated as the student’s facilitator for purposes of providing testing accommodations.

1. Request for Testing Accommodations. Qualified students with disabilities are expected to meet with Disability Services to request testing accommodations as soon as possible at the start of each semester and, in any event, at least 20 class days prior to the implementation of the requested testing accommodation(s). Exceptions to this deadline, and any of the other deadlines applicable to students requesting testing accommodations, may be made only by the Coordinator of Disability Services and only under exceptional circumstances. The Coordinator shall discuss the accommodations requested by the student with the Director of Student Services. The Director of Student Services shall not provide additional accommodations beyond those described by Disability Services without first consulting with Disability Services.

2. Initial Response to Request for Testing Accommodations. Within five (5) class days after receiving the student’s request for testing accommodations, the Coordinator (in consultation with the Director of Student Services) must inform the student of the status of the requested accommodation(s). If the Coordinator informs the student that the requested testing accommodations have been approved, then the student must discuss and coordinate the implementation of the accommodation(s) with the Director of Student Services at least 10 class days prior to test(s) in question. If the Coordinator informs the student that the accommodations have not yet been approved and are still under review, then the student will receive the reasonable accommodations identified by the Coordinator if the following two conditions are met: (1) the student discusses and coordinates implementation of the accommodations with the Director at least 10 class days prior to the test(s) in question; and (2) the Law School does not issue a final determination by the 5th class day prior to the test(s) in question.

3. Instructor’s Objection to Requested Testing Accommodations. Because of the Law School’s anonymous grading policy, the Director of Student Services, without divulging the identity of the student, may consult with the instructor about whether one or more of the requested testing accommodations will fundamentally alter the nature of the course. If the instructor believes any requested testing accommodation will fundamentally alter the nature of the course, the instructor should discuss those concerns with the Coordinator of Disability Services. If the situation remains unresolved and the instructor wishes to deny the accommodation, the instructor must provide reasons for denying the request, in writing, to the instructor’s Dean (or Dean’s designee) within five (5) class days of the instructor’s receipt of the request for testing accommodations from the Director of Student Services.

4. Dean’s Review of Requested Testing Accommodations. After reviewing the accommodation request and the instructor’s written reasons for denying the request, the Dean (or Dean’s designee) must consult with the Coordinator, and may also consult with the instructor and the Director of Student Services. If the Dean (or Dean’s designee) concludes that the student’s request is reasonable and will not fundamentally alter the nature of the course, then the Dean shall inform the Director of Student Services, the Disability Services office and the student that the requested accommodation has been granted. If the Dean (or Dean’s designee) agrees with the instructor, then the student and Coordinator will be informed in writing that the request is being denied and of the reasons for the denial. Consistent with Paragraph II.A.2, if the Dean’s (or designee’s) final decision is not communicated to the student at least five (5) class days prior to the implementation of the testing accommodation(s), then the student may be eligible to receive the testing accommodations identified by the Coordinator.

B. NON-TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS - AUXILIARY AIDS&SERVICES

“Auxiliary aids and services” may include, but are not limited to, note-takers, sign language interpreters, and the provision of assistive software (e.g., text-to-speech software), Braille or large print materials. While the University regularly provides a wide variety of auxiliary aids and services to its qualified students with disabilities, it is not required to provide devices or services of a personal nature, such as personal attendants or readers for personal use.

1. Determination of Necessary Aids and Services. After meeting with qualified students and taking into account their needs and limitations, the Coordinator of Disability Services will determine each semester necessary auxiliary aids and services for qualified students on a case-by-case basis. A final or interim decision concerning whether to grant the requested auxiliary aids or services will be rendered within ten (10) class days of the Coordinator’s receipt of the request for accommodation.

2. Coordinator as Facilitator. The Coordinator of Disability Services will usually approve and facilitate the provision of auxiliary aids and services for qualified students without consulting or involving the student’s instructor or others at the Law School. In such cases, the student will be informed that the Coordinator will serve as the student’s facilitator for purposes of providing auxiliary aids and services.

3. Involvement of Instructor and Local Facilitator. There may be occasions where the Coordinator or the Director of Student Services must consult a student’s instructor to determine whether certain requested auxiliary aids and services are reasonable in the context of the essential standards of a course, academic program or related activity. In these cases, the Director of Student Services may be designated as the student’s facilitator for purposes of providing auxiliary aids and services. In such cases, and because of the Law School’s anonymous grading policy, the Director of Student Services will consult the student’s instructor, without divulging the identity of the student, within five (5) class days of the Director of Disability Services’ receipt from Disability Services of the accommodation request concerning any auxiliary aids or services requested by the student. If the instructor wishes to deny the requested auxiliary aids or services, the instructor must provide the reasons for denying the request, in writing, to the instructor’s Dean (or Dean’s designee) within five (5) class days of the instructor’s receipt of notice of the need for accommodations.

4. Final Determination Authority. After reviewing the request for auxiliary aids and services and the instructor’s written reasons for denying the requests, the Dean (or Dean’s designee) must consult with the Coordinator, and may also consult with the instructor and Director of Student Services. If the Dean (or Dean’s designee) concludes that the request is reasonable and will not fundamentally alter the nature of the course, then the Dean (or Dean’s designee) shall inform the student and Coordinator that the request is being approved. If the Dean agrees with the instructor, then the student and Coordinator will be informed in writing that the request is being denied and of the reasons for the denial.

C. NON-TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS - ACADEMIC ADJUSTMENTS

“Academic Adjustments” are modifications to how students participate in courses. These modifications do not change academic standards; rather, they allow students to meet course requirements by giving qualified students equal access to the educational opportunities of the University. Academic adjustments may include (but are not limited to) course substitutions or alternative means of completing assignments (e.g., oral presentation versus a written paper, or extending a deadline). These adjustments to courses, programs, or educational requirements shall be provided as necessary and appropriate to enable a qualified student with a disability to enjoy equal opportunity and access. However, adjustments will not be granted where they fundamentally alter the essential nature of a course or academic program, or result in an undue financial or administrative burden.

1. Requesting Academic Adjustments. Reasonable or appropriate academic adjustments will be implemented only with the approval of the appropriate academic officials, including but not limited to, the student’s instructor and, in appropriate circumstances, the affected Dean(s) (or designee(s)) and/or the Director of Student Services, and the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee). Accordingly, after meeting with a qualified student and taking into account the student’s needs and limitations, the Coordinator of Disability Services will consult within five (5) class days with the appropriate official(s) concerning any academic adjustments requested by the student. Because of the Law School’s anonymous grading policy, the student’s identity will not be divulged during any such meeting. In these cases, a representative of the Law School may be designated as the student’s facilitator for purposes of consulting with the student’s instructor(s).

2. Initial Evaluation of Requested Academic Adjustments. If the Coordinator of Disability Services and other appropriate officials each agree that a requested academic adjustment is reasonable in the context of the essential standards of the student’s course, academic program or related activity, the student will be informed that the requested adjustment is granted. If the Coordinator or any of the other appropriate officials have concerns about whether the requested academic adjustment would fundamentally alter the essential standards of the student’s course, academic program or related activity, the student’s request for an adjustment shall be evaluated by a committee consisting of the Coordinator, the instructor, the affected Dean(s) (or designee(s)) and/or the Director of Student Services, and the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee).

3. Final Evaluation of Requested Academic Adjustments. The Coordinator shall convene this committee within ten (10) class days of the appropriate official’s receipt of the request from Disability Services for academic adjustment. If a temporary resolution is needed prior to the committee’s evaluation of the request, the Provost’s designee will make an interim decision. In any event, a final or interim decision must be rendered within ten (10) class days of the appropriate official’s receipt of the request for academic adjustment. If each committee member agrees that the requested academic adjustment is reasonable in the context of the essential standards of the student’s course, academic program or related activity, the committee will inform the student that the requested adjustment is granted. If a committee member has concerns about whether the requested academic adjustment would fundamentally alter the essential standards of the student’s course, academic program or related activity, the committee members shall evaluate the reasonableness of the requested adjustment and provide their recommendations to the Provost’s designee, who shall make the final decision. The committee shall then inform the student of the final decision.

III. Grievance Process

1. Right to Grieve. A student who disagrees with the Coordinator’s eligibility determination, the University’s final accommodation decision, or any other disability-related issues may file a grievance regarding those issues as outlined in the “Student Grievance Procedures Relating to Complaints Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973” found in du Lac.