Faculty & Staff Guide
Flagler College is strongly committed to ensuring our academic and campus facilities and programs are accessible to all members of the college community. In partnership with faculty and staff, disability services provides academic accommodations for students with disabilities. If at any time you have questions or concerns about the rights of students with disabilities or your rights as a faculty member please do not hesitate to contact Phillip A. Pownall, Director of the Disability Resource Center at 904-819-6460 or PPownall@flagler.edu.
There are two federal laws that ensure equality of opportunity to all aspects of college life and provide protection to students with disabilities from discrimination. These laws are:
- Title 11 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 requires non-discrimination in all programs, services, and activities for qualified individuals with disabilities.
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that federal funds recipients not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability.
These are federal antidiscrimination statutes designed to remove barriers which prevent qualified individuals with disabilities from enjoying the same opportunities that are available to persons without disabilities. While the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits any consideration of personal characteristics such as race or national origin, the ADA seeks to ensure access to equal opportunities based on merit. When an individual’s disability creates a barrier to opportunities, the ADA requires consideration on whether reasonable accommodations could remove the barrier.
A disability is a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of the individual in question. An individual with a disability is entitled to reasonable accommodations to ensure equal opportunity free from discrimination on the basis of disability alone.
Major Life Activities
Major life activities are basic activities the average person can perform with little or no difficulty, such as walking, breathing, seeing, hearing, performing manual tasks, caring for one’s self, learning, and working. This list is illustrative, not exhaustive.
The term “substantially limits” shall be interpreted consistently with the findings and purposes of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. An impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit other major life activities in order to be considered a disability. The determination of whether the impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures.
A qualified student is a student with a disability who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids and services, meets the academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in the educational program or activity in question.
When is an accommodation request unreasonable?
Reasonable accommodations are intended to allow students with disabilities an equal educational opportunity and ensure nondiscrimination on the basis of disability. Students who cannot meet essential program requirements and achievement standards, with or without reasonable accommodations, are not considered qualified individuals with disabilities and in that limited regard are not protected from discrimination on the basis of disability. An accommodation request is unreasonable if it would:
- fundamentally alter the nature or purpose of the program
- fail to prepare the student for licensure
- create undue financial or administrative burdens on the college
- pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others or to the student making the request
It is a multistep process that begins by establishing that the student is an individual with a disability. When students are registered with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (OSSD) at Flagler College, they are given a letter that identifies them as a qualified student with a disability. Faculty can expect that the student will present that letter before any accommodations are considered.
The letter will note the accommodations that are supported in the disability documentation. Students must present that documentation to the professor in advance of the requested accommodation. When students request accommodations without the proper documentation and authorization from OSSD, the faculty is under no obligation to accommodate. Students should be referred to OSSD for proper registration and documentation.
When proper registration is complete the student will receive the appropriate reasonable accommodation. If testing accommodations are required, the student is responsible for filling out the exam request form, taking it to the professor to fill out his/her section, and returning it to the OSSD three business days in advance of the exam. If the student has not followed our procedure and notified us three business days in advance, we will still attempt to accommodate that student.
Instructors have the right to expect students to meet with them, deliver the accommodation letter, and follow procedures for implementing reasonable accommodations. Reasonable accommodations are not intended to allow the student undue advantage or to fall unduly behind course requirements.
Students with disabilities are entitled to privacy of the medical and psychological records they submit to OSSD. Students do not have to tell you the nature of their disability. However, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) along with the student’s permission permits the director of disability services to impart to university officials (including course instructors) information about the student’s disability that those officials have a legitimate educational interest in knowing.
Guide Points for Instructors
- Accommodations should be provided for students with disabilities by collaborating with the student and OSSD. Good communication and collaboration will help everyone follow through on commitments in a timely fashion.
- Include a statement that has been agreed upon by Flagler College regarding disability services in your syllabi.
- When meeting with students with disabilities, it is important to be sensitive regarding their disability and always maintain confidentiality. Privacy is essential.
- Do not feel obligated to provide an accommodation if a student with a disability has not requested one. You are not asked to guess or predetermine what a student may need. Students have the right to choose not to use accommodations.
- Not all students with disabilities will register with OSSD.
- Please make sure web-enhanced instruction is accessible to all students.
- Students must have access to all classes. If you feel that your room is inaccessible please contact the OSSD office. A room change or some minor adjustments may need to be made.
- A service animal is a working animal. If a student has a service animal it must be allowed in the classroom. Please do not feed or pet a service animal unless you are given permission by the student to do so.
- Interpreters are in the classroom to facilitate communication for the student that they are assigned to. When you have an interpreter in the classroom please speak to the student who is deaf and not to the interpreter. The interpreter will voice student questions.
- If a student is eligible for note taking services, it will be noted on the instructor’s copy of the accommodation letter.
- Contact OSSD if you are uncertain what is appropriate. Feel free to call 904.819.6460 to discuss specific situations or a need for clarification about any questions. Or you may email PPownall@flagler.edu.