A. Requesting Reasonable Accommodation
1. Qualified individuals with a disability must provide timely notice
to the institution regarding the need for accommodation and/or services.
Individuals with disabilities may choose to self-disclose their disability
at any time, but students with disabilities are encouraged to do so before
the beginning of their first semester at the College. Individuals with
disabilities are encouraged to voluntarily submit disability documentation
to the Disability Resource Center as early as possible in anticipation
of utilizing services.
2. Requests for accommodation must be initiated by a qualified individual who needs an accommodation any time during the year. The responsibility for requesting or initiating the request lies with the individual. Students with off-campus program requirements such as an internship or student teaching placement are encouraged to request accommodations before the semester's commencement.
3. Requests for accommodations will not be processed until the disability documentation is received and reviewed by the Disability Resource Center. Disability documentation must state that a disability exists, functional limitations, and the need for accommodation, and be signed by a certified/licensed professional or doctor. Specific guidelines for documentation pertaining to a particular disability, such a psychological or specific learning disability, can be obtained from the Disability Resource Center.
4. Every effort will be made to provide accommodations in a timely manner, but last-minute requests for accommodations may not be feasible.
5. Once a qualified individual with a disability has requested an accommodation in a timely manner, the college will take steps to determine an appropriate accommodation based on the disability documentation. The appropriate, reasonable accommodations are best determined through a flexible, interactive process that involves both the individual with the disability and the faculty member/administrator/ supervisor to whom the request is directed, and include the designated campus contact. Early consultation with the Director of the Disability Resource Center is essential whenever questions of compliance or funding for an accommodation are involved. The interactive process to determine a reasonable accommodation involves the following steps:
Step 1: Analyze the course or program involved to determine it's purpose and essential functions or requirements;
Step 2: Talk with the individual with a disability to identify the precise education-related limitation imposed by the person's disability and how these limitations could be overcome with a reasonable accommodation;
Step 3: Involve the individual with a disability in identifying a range of potential accommodations and assessing the effectiveness each would have in enabling the individual to perform the essential requirements or to meet the essential program or course requirements; and
Step 4: Considering the accommodation needs of the individual with the disability and the requirements of the program or course, the Director will select and implement an effective accommodation that is most appropriate for the individual and the college.
Step 5: The Director of the Disability Resource Center will verify the request for accommodation and document the accommodation on letterhead paper. A copy of the letter will be placed on file in the individual with a disability's confidential file folder. The responsibility to document the granting or denial of accommodation requests rests with the designated campus contact. The original copy of the accommodation letter addressed to the faculty member/ administrator/supervisor will be given to the student, who will in turn hand deliver it directly to the faculty member/administrator/ supervisor.
Step 6: The individual with a disability has the responsibility for notifying his or her faculty member/ administrator/supervisor of the need for accommodation. The individual with a disability will deliver the letter to the faculty member/administrator/supervisor and disclose the need for accommodations.
Step 7: The faculty member/administrator/supervisor and individual with a disability agree to the accommodations, and negotiate how and when the accommodation will be carried out. A faculty member/administrator/supervisor can make the determination to provide accommodations above and beyond those requested, but he or she is not obligated to do so under the law. If the accommodation needs change during the course of the semester, the student should discuss this with the faculty member/ administrator/supervisor immediately. Another accommodation letter from the Disability Resource Center may be requested by the faculty member/ administrator/supervisor.
Step 8: If individuals with a disability choose not to inform their instructors that they have a disability needing accommodation, but subsequently change their minds during the course of a semester, then such changes in accommodations should be made at least two weeks in advance of an exam or assignment due date.
6. Individuals with disabilities requesting physical accommodations should contact the Director of the Disability Resource Center in a timely manner. Reasonable physical accommodations include both the removal of architectural, communication, and transportation barriers, and the arrangements for classes/furniture in accessible campus buildings. If an unexpected situation or emergency arises pertaining to need for physical accommodation when the Disability Resource Center is closed, the next appropriate campus contact is the University Police.
Final responsibility for selection of most appropriate accommodation rests with the college. The ADA compliance Officer has the final approval in determining accommodation.
B. Appeal of Accommodation Determination
If a mutually acceptable accommodation cannot be found, the following multi-tier conflict resolution process should e followed. Many grievances can be handled with the assistance of the Director of the Disability Resource Center. If a dispute cannot be remedied at this level, the following procedure is in place to resolve disputes, and must be followed sequentially:
- Director - Student
- Director - Student - Faculty Member
- Director - Student - Faculty Member - Department Chair/Dean
- Director - Student - Faculty Member - Department Chair - ADA Compliance Officer
Step 1: The faculty or staff member should consult with his or her department chair and must contact the Director of the Disability Resource Center. The department chair or dean and Director of the Disability Resource Center will discuss the accommodation request; the department chair or dean will make a decision.
Step 2: If a mutually acceptable accommodation cannot be found, the ADA Compliance Officer will determine whether the requested accommodation is reasonable based on relevant laws and regulations. If additional information is required, the individual with a disability will be contacted for a release of information. The college reserves the right to require a second medical opinion if additional information is needed to evaluate the requested accommodation.
Step 3: The individual with a disability will be notified about the response as soon as possible. If the request is approved, the accommodation will be provided as promptly as possible. If the decision is that the request is denied, the reason(s) will be noted in a letter and sent to the individual with a disability. A copy of the letter will be placed on file in the Affirmative Action office.
C. Event/Program Accessibility
1. Institutional departments that offer programs or events which are open to the public must publish information available to participants with disabilities informing them to request in advance any accommodations needed to allow them to attend or fully participate. Public events and programs include, for example, non-credit courses, public lectures and cultural events, graduation ceremonies, and athletic competitions. Brochures, registration forms, press releases, and posters announcing public programs and events should include the following statement:
Please indicate if you need any special services,
Assistance, or accommodations to participate in this
Program by contacting [name of your department] at
[Phone number of department or program] by [date].
A reasonable advance notice of at least ten days should be given by
any qualified individual with a disability needing accommodations. However,
any reasonable requests, regardless of the time frame, will be responded
to with the goal of providing access to, and participation in, SUNY New
Paltz programs, services, and activities.
2. The host department or office must designate a person(s) to be responsible for handling requests for accommodations as the designated campus contact for the program or event.
3. The institutional department or office sponsoring the event must take into account the need to pay for reasonable accommodations that may be requested by the public.
D. Grievance Procedure
The intent of the institution is to comply with all federal regulations and meet its obligations to provide equal access to programs and services for qualified individuals with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities who have complaints of an accommodation determination must take the appropriate steps to appeal an accommodation determination as outlined under "B. Appeal Process". If an issue of accommodation determination is still unresolved, or an issue arises outside of the accommodation determination that could be construed as anti-discriminatory, the individual can take additional action. Individuals with a disability at SUNY New Paltz who consider themselves victims of discrimination based on a disability may file a grievance with the Affirmative Action Officer within forty-five calendar days of the alleged discriminatory act. Complaints can also be filed with the federal Office of Civil Rights.
E. Disability Accommodation Resources
Please contact the office listed below if you have questions or concerns about services for an individual with a disability, means of accommodating, verification of a disability, or your responsibility for responding to the needs of individuals with disabilities:
Portia Lillo, Director
Disability Resource Center
Student Union Building 205
257-3020 (Voice) 257-3014 (TTY)