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Center for Accommodation and Access

Policies and Procedures

Students Policies and Procedures

Academic Appeals

There are generally three types of academic appeals. Forms appropriate for each type of appeal can be found at the respective link.

1. Academic Grievance - This process is intended to resolve academic or related differences concerning academic fairness which may arise between a student and a faculty member within a particular course during a single semester/term.

2. Medical Withdrawal - The process allows a student to request an administrative withdrawal during the current term if documented medical conditions make it impossible to continue in the courses for which he/she has registered.

3. Academic Standards - The Academic Standards Committee (ASC) reviews four types of appeals, all of which involve factors external to the contents of a particular course.

Academic Coaching


The Academic Coaching program is mainly designed to help students who struggle with organization and time management skills but can also be used to help the student deal with test anxiety, identify their learning style, and communicate more effectively with their professors and peers.
Students interested in academic coaching will meet anywhere from once a week to once a month with the Program Coordinator for 20-30 minutes to: organize course material, schedule due dates in a planner, develop weekly homework schedules, create study plans, and work on any other academic issues they may want to focus on. The majority of students who benefit from academic coaching have diagnoses of ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and/or Specific Learning Disorders.
Accommodations to Academic Programs/Academic Courses
The student should make requests for specific accommodations in programs to the Center for Accommodation and Access. The ODS will then work with the student to identify appropriate and reasonable accommodations based on the student's deficit and program requirements.

 Academic Misconduct
All ODS students must be prepared to show picture ID to ODS exam staff when checking in to take an exam. CSU-IDs and driver's licenses are acceptable.
Scrap paper, if allowed by the instructor, will be provided by ODS. Any unauthorized notes used during the exam will be copied and returned with the exam to the instructor.
A staff member may come into the exam room at any time to perform a random integrity check.
The Center for Accommodation and Access does not tolerate cheating on examinations. If there is suspicion of or if a student is caught cheating, the following procedure is followed:
The student is confronted with the allegation of cheating or the observation of actual cheating.
The student is asked to turn in any materials used on the test that were not permitted to use while taking the test.
The student is told that the allegation or cheating observation will be documented and the professor of the class informed.
The procedure for academic misconduct is the same for all students, per the Student Handbook.

ADA and 504 Statement on Syllabus

The following statement must appear on syllabi distributed by instructors teaching courses at CSU:

"If you have a documented disability as described by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, you may be eligible to receive accommodations to assist in programmatic and physical accessibility. We recommend that you contact the Center for Accommodation and Access located in Schuster 221, 706-507-8755, as soon as possible. The Center for Accommodation and Access can assist you in formulating a reasonable accommodation plan and in providing support in developing appropriate accommodations for your disability. Course requirements will not be waived but accommodations may be able to assist you to meet the requirements. Technical support may also be available to meet your specific need."

Please notify the Center for Accommodation and Access if a professor does not have this statement or a similare one in their syllabus.

Advanced Priority Registration

Due to the nature of certain disabilities, it is necessary for certain students with disabilities to register in advance for campus-wide early registration. This is usually the week before the campus-wide early registration. Not all students with disabilities are eligible for advanced priority registration. Students who have mobility difficulties, have to adhere to certain schedules because of treatment and other problems are examples of students receiving advanced priority registration. Students who are eligible for campus-wide registration are notified via email. Students who are eligible will need to meet with their advisors to complete a schedule. The Center for Accommodation and Access does not advise students in the selection of courses, but are willing to address any questions or concerns regarding their schedule.

Advocacy: One Key to Success in College

One of the keys to success in the university setting is the ability to self-advocate. The Office of Disability serves as an advocate for students with disabilities by verifying that students have disabilities and acting as a liaison between the student and campus faculty and staff. The student's best avenue for open communication is to be a self-advocate. Students with disabilities should be able to communicate the following to faculty, staff and fellow students when needed:

  • be able to state in your own words the nature of your disability, the functional limitations of your disability, how your disability affects the way you learn and how it affects your functioning in the university setting.
  • be familiar with your learning style and skills, the accommodations you may have received in the past, and whether these same accommodations will be allowed in the university setting. Attend workshops on learning styles so that you become familiar with your unique learning style. The Counseling Center offers workshops and assessments on discovering your learning style. The Acdemic Center for Excellence offers free tutoring for all students in core curriculum classes. Workshops on study skills, time management and other areas are also offered. The Math and Science lab offers free tutoring and students can receive assistance in writing through the Writing Center.
  • be aware of your strengths and problem areas and aware of strategies that may help you. Speak to the person who completes your assessment to help you identify these areas. Be able to communicate your needs. Visit the Counseling Center at the Schuster Student Success Center to assess your strengths and problem areas or if you have difficulty communicating your needs.

Knowing the laws that govern the accessibility of disabilities in public settings is part of developing the self-advocacy process. Laws that governed accommodations in high school are different than those in the university setting. Below is a comparison of disability law and how it is applied in high school and college:

High School Post-secondary Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (See Subpart D) Americans with Disabilities Act
Americans with Disabilities Act Civil Rights Restoration Act
Civil Rights Restoration Act

In high school the school has responsibilities which include the following:
The post-secondary level institutional role changes as follows:

  • In high school the school has responsibilities to identify students with disabilities
    The post-secondary level institutional role changes to protect a student's right to privacy and confidentiality
  • In high school the school has responsibilities to provide assessment of learning disabilities
    The post-secondary level institutional role changes to provide access to programs and services
  • In high school the school has responsibilities to classify disabilities
    The post-secondary level institutional role changes to inform students of office location and procedures for requesting accommodations
  • In high school the school has responsibilities to involve parents or guardians in placement decisions
    The post-secondary level institutional role changes to accept and evaluate verifying documentation
  • In high school the school has responsibilities to provide certain non-academic services
    The post-secondary level institutional role changes to determine that a physical or mental impairment causes a substantial limitation of a major life activity based on documentation
  • In high school the school has responsibilities to place students in programs
    The post-secondary level institutional role changes to determine whether students are qualified for participation in the program or service, whether reasonable accommodation is possible
  • In high school the school has responsibilities to structure a large part of the student's schedule
    The post-secondary level institutional role changes to make reasonable accommodations for qualifying students
  • In high school the school has responsibilities to modify educational programs
    The post-secondary level institutional role changes to provide reasonable access to program and service choices equal to those available to the general public
  • In high school the school has responsibilities to prepare IEP's (Individualized Education Plans)
    The post-secondary level institutional role changes to make reasonable adjustments in teaching methods which do not alter the essential content of the course or program
  • In high school the school has responsibilities to provide a free and appropriate education
    The post-secondary level institutional role changes to assure that off-campus and contracted program facilities are accessible
  • In high school the school has responsibilities to provide appropriate health services by school nurse
    The post-secondary level institutional role changes to inform students of rights and responsibilities

In contrast to the responsibilities of high schools, at the university (post-secondary) level, student responsibilities change as follows:

Students have a responsibility to :

  • Self-identify or disclose their disability if they wish to receive accommodations to the Center for Accommodation and Access
  • Provide verifying, appropriate documentation to the Center for Accommodation and Access
  • Obtain assessments and tests for documentation purposes
  • Act as independent adults
  • Arrange their own weekly schedules
  • Contact their professors to activate and adopt accommodations for each class
  • Arrange for and obtain their own personal attendants, tutoring and individually fitted or designed assistive technology

Post-secondary institutions are not required to:

  • Reduce or waive any of the essential requirements of a course or program
  • Conduct testing and assessment of learning, psychological or medical disabilities
  • Provide personal attendants
  • Provide personal or private tutors if this is not offered to students without disabilities
  • Prepare Individualized Education Plans

Points to remember:

Privacy: Students in college and universities are considered adults with privacy and confidentiality protections. University staff cannot talk to parents and guardians about a student's academic activities as was typical in K-12.

Eligibility for special education services in high schools is diagnosis driven. Eligibility for reasonable accommodations in post-secondary institutions is driven by severity of impact on a major life activity (i.e., "a mental or physical impairment which significantly limits a major life activity").

College students must structure or plan their own study time.

Professors and classes may differ regarding attendance requirements, scheduling assignment due dates and exams. Students will need to carefully read over each professor's syllabus.

Students with disabilities must act to identify their disabilities; must take specific action to request those accommodations for their disabilities, if desiring to request accommodations. Students must provide verifying documentation such as psycho-educational test results, medical documents and doctor's statements. The documentation must be recent, verify the presence of a disability, describe the extent of the impairment and provide information which supports the need for specific accommodation.

Web sites providing information about disability law:

http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/Policy/IDEA/the_law.html(IDEA)

http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html (Office of Civil Rights)

(Adapted from the Oklahoma Community College, Center for Accommodation and Access Handbook)

Books in Alternate Format

Students in need of books and/or course materials in alternate format must submit requests through the AMAC website. An ODS representative will create an account for the student and will review and approve requests as they are submitted. Students requesting materials in alternate format must provide ODS with textbook/course material purchase receipts before submitting their requests online. Upon identification (if applicable), ODS personnel will provide students with an AMAC Book Request Guide (See Appendix C) which will inform them and walk them through the request process.

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Full-time Status and Reduced Course Load

Full-time Status and Reduced Course Load

Students enrolled in 12 semester hours or more are considered full-time; however, most courses count as three semester hours of credit. The normal course load for full-time students is five courses or 15 semester hours.

A reduced load can be requested if a student with a disability has written, current documentation from an appropriate professional that evaluates the impact of the disability on their ability to handle a full-time load. The documentation should be submitted to the Coordinator of the Center for Accommodation and Access. The documentation will be submitted to the Dean of Enrollment Services and the Director of Financial Aid for approval upon signed release of the student.

Students approved for a reduced course load are responsible for setting up an appointment with the Director of Financial Aid and the Dean of Enrollment Services to discuss the consequences of the reduced course load on progress towards graduation, billing, and financial aid. Charges other than tuition (activity fees, room and board) are not affected by this accommodation. Students should be aware that financial aid requirements are subject to federal and state regulations. Accommodations for a reduced course load are made within these limits.

Qualified students (those with appropriate documentation) may request that the Registrar's Office write a letter to their insurance company notifying the company that the student requires a reduced course load because of a disability and ask if it is currently used as an accommodation. The Registrar's Office only notifies the insurance company of this accommodation. The insurance company is the entity who will approve or disapprove the request.

Math Substitution Procedure

Section One: Procedure for Identification of Persons Eligible

Students who are unable to meet the core requirement for math due to a disability may request a substitution for math through the Center for Accommodation and Access. Students may also be referred to the Center for Accommodation and Access for a math substitution by Columbus State University faculty or staff.

Following the Board of Regents’ policy for the University System of Georgia, Columbus State University’s Center for Accommodation and Access will submit math substitution requests from students who self-identify to the Regent’s Center for Learning Disorders (RCLD). According to Academic and Student Affairs Handbook, the decision for a course substitution consideration will be determined by the RCLD based on the documentation provided by the student. Math course substitutions do not apply to any Learning Support math that a student is required to complete. Students who change their major may have to submit a separate petition if math is a requirement for that specific major/program.

The Center for Accommodation and Access will assist the student with the process for submitting documentation to the Regent’s Center for Learning Disorders.

If the Center for Accommodation and Access believes documentation may be insufficient, the Center for Accommodation and Access will advise the student on the need for a more comprehensive evaluation. If the RCLD request additional documentation to support a math substitution, the Center for Accommodation and Access will inform the student.

The Columbus State University math substitution policy is available on the website of the Center for Accommodation and Access.

Section Two: Procedure for Identifying Reasonable Substitution Criteria

If the student’s major/program of study does not consider math to be an essential component, the Academic Standards Committee (ASC), which includes deans and/or department chairs from the university, will decide on which course will substitute for the core math course. ASC will determine whether or not the substitution presents a fundamental alteration of the degree program.

  • Each decision will be made on an individual basis, taking into consideration the student’s degree program. For some degrees math courses beyond the core math course is an essential part of the program and a substitution may not be acceptable.
  • The confidentiality and privacy of the student will be protected. Information will be shared only with a signed consent form by the student and based on an educational-need-to-know.
  • The Center for Accommodation and Access will be present during the discussion/meeting to represent the interests of the student.

Section Three: Procedure for Making Designated Substitution Known to Student with the Request

Students shall be notified of the course/s approved for substitution of the core math course by a letter from the Academic Standards Committee. A copy of the letter will be sent to the Registrar’s office, the Dean of Students office, members of the ACS, and the Center for Accommodation and Access.

Any student not satisfied with the decision made by the ASC may appeal the decision through the university’s appeals process. The Center for Accommodation and Access will advise the student on this process if needed.

Medical Withdrawals

At times it may be necessary for students with disabilities to withdraw from the university due to extended illnesses and/or treatment. The director for Center for Accommodation and Access is available to provide assistance and information to the student. The decision to withdraw medically from this standpoint is one that is ultimately that of the student; however there are circumstances where this judgment can made by top administrators of the university.

A student with a disability seeking a medical withdrawal should follow the procedure in the Columbus State University Academic Advising Handbook

Release of Information

Students who wish to get a personal copy of their records from the Center for Accommodation and Access must make the request in writing. The records will be ready for the student to pick up within three to five business days from the time the written request is received by the Center for Accommodation and Access.

No confidential information will be released to a third party unless by written consent of the student. This may be accomplished by the signing of a release form by the student.

Copies of academic records can be requested through the Registrar's Office.

Procedures for Verifying Disability-Related Absence

The following procedure is used to verify disability-related absences. The Center for Accommodation and Access does not excuse absences for students with disabilities nor does it establish attendance policies. Verification of disability-related absences notifies the instructors of legitimate absences due to a student's disability. The verification of disability-related absences does not usually apply to routine appointments to a health-care provider. Disability-related absences apply to hospitalizations, illness-related to a disability, and lengthy treatment processes (such as chemotherapy). This is determined on a case-by-case basis.

A disability does not supersede classroom requirements. The Center for Accommodation and Access will negotiate a modified attendance agreement between the student and professor.

The student will need to make-up work or other assignments in accordance with the student's Accommodation Plan.

Faculty is ultimately responsible for determining the weight and importance of class attendance and participation. Faculty determines if attendance and participation are integral components to the learning process and should determine whether the terms of the modified attendance agreement would fundamentally alter their course curriculum.


Voter Registration

As of January 1, 1995, the Georgia legislature passed legislation to implement the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). This law allows persons with disabilities the opportunity to register in any office that offers services for persons with disabilities. Upon initial contact with the Office of Center for Accommodation and Access at Columbus State University will provide students with the necessary paperwork if students indicate that they would like to register.

Faculty & Staff Policies and Procedures

ADA and 504 Statement on Syllabus

The following statement must appear on syllabi distributed by instructors teaching courses at CSU:

"Columbus State University provides reasonable accommodations for all qualified persons under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504. You may be eligible to receive accommodations to assist in programmatic and/or physical accessibility. We recommend that you contact the Center for Accommodation and Access located in Schuster Student Success Center, Room 221, 706-507-8755 as soon as possible if you think you are eligible for accommodations. The Center for Accommodation and Access can assist you in formulating a reasonable accommodation plan, in identifying additional resources, and in providing support. Accommodations may be able to assist you to meet the requirements. Technical support may also be available to meet your specific need. Please contact Lauren Jones if you have questions. She can be reached at 706-507-8755 or at jones_lauren3@columbusstate.edu."

Advocacy and Mediation

Should a student who has a disability encounter any problems with a class, faculty member, etc., such student is urged to contact the Center for Accommodation and Access. Students should always communicate with the Center for Accommodation and Access if they are having disability-related issues with a class, faculty member or staff person. In regards to other issues, which may be outside the purview of Center for Accommodation and Access, we will be glad to counsel with the student and make any appropriate referrals.


Faculty and staff members should not publicly refer to or single out a student's disability in written or oral form without prior consent of the student. However, it is appropriate for faculty to communicate with the Center for Accommodation and Access whenever there is a question or concern regarding a student. Inquiries of how a student should be accommodated should be made in private, i.e., not in front of the class or other students. Faculty members can inquire about the effectiveness of an accommodation and may initiate discussion with the student and appropriate faculty members about accommodation procedures.

Attendance and Students with Disabilities

What faculty should know about students with disabilities:

The Center for Accommodation and Access may have a role in determining course attendance policies. Because attendance may be integral to the pedagogic process, faculty at the university, departmental, and individual level, sets these policies. In most cases attendance is fundamental to course objectives.

Faculty is ultimately responsible for determining the weight and importance of class attendance and participation. If a student is unable to attend classes for an extended period of time, then he/she is ultimately responsible for informing the instructor(s) of the reasons why he/she is not attending class. The faculty member determines if the attendance and participation are considered to be integral components to the learning process; and if the student is not meeting those requirements, then he or she may not be otherwise qualified to attend classes at that point in time.

For example, students may be required to interact with others in the class in order to demonstrate the ability to think and argue critically or to participate in group projects. In other instances faculty may determine that students can master content despite some or many absences. Rarely does faculty decide that students do not need to attend classes at all. Similarly, faculty also determines policies regarding make-up work and misses quizzes and exams. Faculty is not required to lower or effect substantial modifications of standards for accommodation purposes.

What the Center for Accommodation and Access can do for students:
The Center for Accommodation and Access can work with students when their disabilities cause disability-related absences, based on appropriate medical and/or psychological documentation.

What faculty can do for students: Faculty should meet with the student at the beginning of the semester and discuss the method the instructor would like to be notified regarding disability-related absences. The instructor and student may want to discuss the number of absences the student anticipates.

Faculty should make their policies clear so that students can make informed choices about which courses to take. Faculty should also apply attendance policies consistently among classes. Faculty can choose to announce attendance/make-up policies on the first day of class and reinforce this information on the class syllabus.

If faculty intend to disallow or restrict absences, they may choose to use wording similar to this: "Your presence is fundamental to meeting the objectives of this course. Consequently there will be ____(number of absences) and ____(number of makeup quizzes and exams)".
In a legal decision by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), Case no. 09-96-2150 (OCR Region IX, 1996), attendance policies and classroom participation were addressed. OCR noted that it accords significant deference to a college's determination that attendance is essential in a particular course. Several factors where presented that OCR would consider in a given challenge to determine that attendance was essential:

  • Is there classroom interaction between the instructors and student and among students?
  • Do student contributions constitute a significant component of learning?
  • Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon student participation as essential to the learning method?
  • To what degree does a student's failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience?
  • Is there a course syllabus and description?
  • Does the syllabus contain the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?
    (Adapted from "Recent Legal Decisions" Jeanne Kincaid, Esq. and Southern University-Carbondale, Disability Support Services)

Of Note: In a session of the Learning Disabilities Association of America, Feb. 1999, ADA attorneys advised staff members of the Center for Accommodation and Access to have faculty members document in writing why they would not allow accommodations of classroom attendance and/or make-up work. The above questions derived from the OCR judgment can be used as a guide for documentation.

Attendance and Students with Disabilities
What students with disabilities need to know about attendance.

The Center for Accommodation and Access does not determine class attendance policies. Because attendance may be integral to the learning process, the faculty of the college, at the departmental or individual level, sets these policies. In most cases attendance is fundamental to course objectives. For example, students may be required to think and argue critically or to participate in group projects. In other instances faculty may determine that students can master course content despite some or many absences. Rarely, faculty may decide that students do not need to attend class at all. Similarly, faculty also determines policies regarding make-up work and missed quizzes and exams.

Faculty is not required to lower or effect modifications of standards for accommodation purposes.

What are the responsibility of the students:
Students are required to submit appropriate medical and/or psychological documentation at the beginning of the semester to the Center for Accommodation and Access. Letters from the Center for Accommodation and Access verifying the documentation has been submitted and meets the ADA qualifications are distributed by the students to professors to initiate discussions concerning polices of attendance and make-up of course work. Students who are absent from class due to a disability related absence, should contact the Center for Accommodation and Access and their professors. It is the responsibility of the student to notify professors of prolonged absences (i.e., hospitalization, prolonged treatment, etc.). Students are required to submit appropriate documentation for the period of absence.

Listen closely to faculty announcements about attendance and make-up policies and procedures. Also, refer to your syllabus frequently throughout the semester for information about these issues.

Procedures for Verifying Disability-Related Absence
The following procedure is used to verify disability-related absences. The Center for Accommodation and Access does not excuse students with disabilities nor does it establish attendance policies. Verification of disability-related absences notifies the instructors of legitimate absences due to a student's disability. The verification of disability-related absences does not usually apply to routine appointments to a health-care provider. Disability-related absences apply to hospitalizations, illness-related to a disability, and lengthy treatment processes (such as chemotherapy). This is determined on a case-by-case basis.
If the student is absent from class because of a disability-related circumstance such as those mentioned above, the student will need to provide verification of the absence from their health care provider to the professor or to the Center for Accommodation and Access, per the arrangements made previously with the professor. The documentation should establish the reason for the absence and its relation to the disability.

If the student encounters an unexpected disability-related circumstance, such as an emergency hospitalization or illness, he/she should notify the Center for Accommodation and Access and his/her professors. The student will need to notify the instructors to arrange make-up work or other assignments.

The student may wish to medically withdraw if the student's health care provider, Dean of Students and/or Counseling Center psychologist advises the student to do so. See "Medical Withdrawals."

Faculty is ultimately responsible for determining the weight and importance of class attendance and participation. Faculty determines if attendance and participation are integral components to the learning process. If the student is not meeting these requirements, then the student may not be "otherwise qualified" to attend school at this point in time.

 Determining Reasonable Accommodations

A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a course, program, service activity or facility. It enables a qualified student with a disability an opportunity to attain the same level of performance or enjoy equal benefits and privileges as are available to similarly situated students without disabilities. The university is obligated to provide accommodations only to the known limitations of an otherwise qualified student with a disability. Reasonable accommodations are made on a case by case basis. To assist in determining reasonable accommodations, The Center for Accommodation and Access may seek information from appropriate university personnel regarding essential standards for courses, programs, services, activities and facilities. Reasonable accommodations are determined by examining:

  • the barriers resulting from interaction between the documented disability and the campus environment
  • the possible accommodations that might remove barriers
  • whether or not the student has access to the course, program, service, activity, or facility without accommodation
  • whether or not essential elements of the course, program, service, activity or facility are compromised by accommodations.

The following analysis is used to evaluate accommodation requests:

  • Does the student have a disability and is the disability documented by a qualified professional? The amount of required documentation will be based upon the nature of the disability and the nature and duration of the accommodation.
  • Is the student "otherwise qualified"?
  • Did the student request the accommodation and is it appropriate to the needs of a student or prospective student with that type of disability and for the situation?
  • Was the request submitted in a manner consistent with established policy and procedures?
  • Is the request reasonable and/or readily achievable?
  • Is the nature of the program or activity fundamentally altered by the provision of the accommodation?
  • Does the provision of the accommodation present an undue financial burden or administrative burden on the university?

Educational institutions are not required to provide the requested or preferred accommodation. They are required to provide reasonable, appropriate, and effective accommodations for disabilities that have been adequately documented and for which the accommodation has been requested.

Faculty members have the liberty to inquire about the effectiveness of any accommodation. They may privately initiate discussion with appropriate faculty members (without revealing the identity of the student) and the individual student about accommodation procedures. Once faculty members receive notification of a student's accommodations and verification of disability, he/she may choose to alter the modification only with mutual consent of the student. Faculty should also contact the Office of Center for Accommodation and Access as to the feasibility of such alterations.

(Information compiled from the disability services guidelines of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Clemson University, Georgia Technical Institute, Oklahoma Community College, Augusta State University and the Title II Technical Assistance Manual, Department of Justice.)

Faculty and Student Policies and Procedures

Accommodations to Academic Programs/Academic Courses

The student should make requests for specific accommodations in programs to the Center for Accommodation and Access and to the professor of the course. The student is responsible for initiating the request for a course substitution or waiver by contacting the Center for Accommodation and Access about the appropriate procedure to follow. The Center for Accommodation and Access will contact the appropriate university personnel concerning course substitutions or waivers. Waivers of academic courses and/or requirements are approved only where it is demonstrated that the accommodations will not alter the program/course objectives or undermine the academic integrity of the program/course. Appropriate university personnel (e.g., provost, department heads, deans and professors) in collaboration with the Center for Accommodation and Access will issue decisions concerning concerning waiver of and/or substitution of course work to the student, department and/or instructor.

Physical Accommodations
Columbus State University in conjunction with Plant Operations works to comply with the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). Students, faculty or staff should report any inaccessible areas on campus to the Center for Accommodation and Access. The Center for Accommodation and Access will forward the complaint to the Director of Plant Operations and the Vice-President overseeing the Department of Plant Operations.

Personal Accommodations
According to the ADA Technical Assistance Manual, Section II-3.6200, Columbus State University (a public entity) is not required to provide individuals with disabilities with personal or individually prescribed devices such as wheelchairs, prescription eyeglasses, or hearing aids; or to provide readers for personal use or study or a Personal Aide in such areas as eating, toileting, or dressing,  per Section 504 of the Rehab Act of 1973, Subpart E (34 CFR Part 104.44).

Confidentiality

The Center for Accommodation and Access is committed to ensuring that all information regarding a student remains confidential as permitted by law. This information may include grades, biographical history, disability information and case notes. No one has immediate access to the student files in the Center for Accommodation and Access except authorized staff. University faculty and staff do not have the right nor need to access diagnostic or other information regarding a student's disability-related needs. Information may be released with a signed consent from student for educational purposes or in emergency cases, such as a direct threat to self or others.

Should a student who has a disability encounter any problems with a class, faculty member, etc., such student is urged to contact the Center for Accommodation and Access. Under federal privacy laws, the Center for Accommodation and Access may only communicate, with the student and cannot respond to parents, spouses, children, or state appointed guardians. In order to ensure compliance with this policy, communication by phone, email, or in person with anyone other than the student is restricted. However, students are welcome to bring relatives and guardians to meetings.

Students should always communicate with the Center for Accommodation and Access if they are having disability-related issues with a class, faculty member or staff person. In regards to other issues, which may be outside the purview of Center for Accommodation and Access, we will be glad to counsel with the student and make any appropriate referrals.

Faculty and staff members should not publicly refer to or single out a student's disability in written or oral form without prior consent of the student. Inquiries of how a student should be accommodated should be made in private. Faculty members can inquire about the effectiveness of an accommodation and may initiate discussion with the student and appropriate faculty members about accommodation procedures.

Continuing Education/ Internet Courses

All Continuing Education courses and Internet courses offered through Columbus State University should adhere to the accessibility standards mandated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended by the Amendments Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-325). The sponsor of the course has the responsibility of insuring that the course is accessible to different types of disabilities. See Web Accessibility for information and resources regarding computer accessibility.

Students are responsible for providing their own adaptive equipment off-campus and in Residence Life for use with Internet courses.

Course Substitution

Math Substitution
Section One: Procedure for Identification of Persons Eligible
Students who are unable to meet the core requirement for math due to a disability may request a substitution for math through the Center for Accommodation and Access. Students may also be referred to the Center for Accommodation and Access for a math substitution by Columbus State University faculty or staff.

Following the Board of Regents' policy for the University System of Georgia, Columbus State University's Center for Accommodation and Access will submit math substitution requests from students who self-identify to the Regent's Center for Learning Disorders (RCLD). According to Academic and Student Affairs Handbook, the decision for a course substitution consideration will be determined by the RCLD based on the documentation provided by the student. Math course substitutions do not apply to any Learning Support math that a student is required to complete. Students who change their major may have to submit a separate petition if math is a requirement for that specific major/program.
The Center for Accommodation and Access will assist the student with the process for submitting documentation to the Regent's Center for Learning Disorders.

If the Center for Accommodation and Access believes documentation may be insufficient, the Center for Accommodation and Access will advise the student on the need for a more comprehensive evaluation. If the RCLD request additional documentation to support a math substitution, the Center for Accommodation and Access will inform the student.
The Columbus State University math substitution policy is available on the website of the Center for Accommodation and Access.
Section Two: Procedure for Identifying Reasonable Substitution Criteria
If the student's major/program of study does not consider math to be an essential component, the Academic Standards Committee (ASC), which includes deans and/or department chairs from the university, will decide on which course will substitute for the core math course. ASC will determine whether or not the substitution presents a fundamental alteration of the degree program.
Each decision will be made on an individual basis, taking into consideration the student's degree program. For some degrees math courses beyond the core math course is an essential part of the program and a substitution may not be acceptable.
The confidentiality and privacy of the student will be protected. Information will be shared only with a signed consent form by the student and based on an educational-need-to-know.
The Center for Accommodation and Access will be present during the discussion/meeting to represent the interests of the student.
Section Three: Procedure for Making Designated Substitution Known to Student with the Request
Students shall be notified of the course/s approved for substitution of the core math course by a letter from the Academic Standards Committee. A copy of the letter will be sent to the Registrar's office, the Dean of Students office, members of the ACS, and the Center for Accommodation and Access.
Any student not satisfied with the decision made by the ASC may appeal the decision through the university's appeals process. The Center for Accommodation and Access will advise the student on this process if needed.

All Other Courses
The student is responsible for initiating the request for a course substitution or waiver by contacting the Center for Accommodation and Access about the appropriate procedure to follow. The Center for Accommodation and Access will contact the appropriate university personnel concerning course substitutions or waivers. Waivers of academic courses and/or requirements are approved only where it is demonstrated that the accommodations will not alter the program/course objectives or undermine the academic integrity of the program/course. Appropriate university personnel (e.g., provost, department heads, deans and professors) in collaboration with the Center for Accommodation and Access will issue decisions concerning concerning waiver of and/or substitution of coursework to the student, department and/or instructor.

Definition of Disability

The definition of disability in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, P.L. 101-336 (July 26, 1990), as amended by P.L. 110–325 (September 25, 2008) draws substantially from existing legislation, namely Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988. The ADA defines disability with respect to an individual, as:

  • a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such an individual
  • a record of such an impairment; or
  • being regarded as having such impairment.

"Major life activities" is defined as an individual being limited in his or her ability to perform such functions as self-care, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning or working.

Those diseases, conditions or infections that would constitute physical or mental impairments include (but are not limited to):

  • orthopedic
  • cancer
  • visual
  • heart disease
  • speech
  • diabetes
  • hearing
  • spina bifida
  • psychiatric illness
  • HIV
  • cerebral palsy renal failure
  • epilepsy
  • learning disabilities
  • muscular dystrophy
  • traumatic brain injury
  • multiple sclerosis
  • spinal cord injury

Also protected are individuals with stigmatic conditions such as severe burn victims, who may be "regarded by others as having an impairment". (Listing from the Title II Technical Assistance Manual, Department of Justice).

Description of Services

The Office of Center for Accommodation and Access coordinates services offered to students with disabilities. The services are provided based on individual needs of the student. Determination of appropriate accommodations is based on assessment and documentation.
In order for services to be provided, the student must self-identify with the Office of Center for Accommodation and Access. Appropriate documentation must be provided that indicates the nature of the accommodation needed or that provides information adequate to determine a reasonable accommodation.

Services offered (based on individual need) include but are not limited to:

  • registration assistance
  • institutional standardized test modifications

classroom testing modifications, including:

  • extended time on exams
  • administration in a quiet, alternative location
  • modification of test format
  • readers
  • assistance in soliciting peer note takers
  • copying services/NCR paper
  • sign language interpreter
  • assistive listening devices
  • use of assistive technology
  • Ability to record class lectures
  • accessible classroom
  • letters of accommodations for professors
  • liaison between the student and community contacts such as Vocational Rehabilitation, psychologists, etc., as needed.

Policies and Procedures Pertaining to Interpreter and Captioning Services
Local and national shortages of sign language interpreters make providing their services a serious concern to the Office of Center for Accommodation and Access. Captioning is an area of service requiring sufficient lead-time to make arrangements with the company providing the services. Students are urged to pay close attention to the following procedures/policies when arranging services.

Students are responsible for notifying the Office of Center for Accommodation and Access for the need of an interpreter for classes or other activities related to their classes. Other entities on campus that are in need of interpreting services should contact The Office of Center for Accommodation and Access as soon as possible.

  1. Participate in priority registration. Early registration is your best assurance of receiving services promptly. Switching sections or making schedule changes may present problems in providing services. To prevent interruption in services or the possible loss of an interpreter/captionist because of scheduling problems, we urge you to stay as close to your original schedule as possible.

  2. Notify the Office of Center for Accommodation and Access if there is any change in your schedule once the semester has commenced.

  3. All requests for services for events require prior notification, two weeks is preferable, to allow time for finding an interpreter/captionist.

  4. Cancellation of any reservation to use services requires 24 hours notice before the particular class or event.

  5. If the student has not arrived by fifteen minutes after a class session or event is scheduled to begin the interpreter and/or captionist will leave. The Office of Center for Accommodation and Access will document the student's absence.

  6. If the student fails to inform the Office of Disabilities that services are not needed more than three times, services may be discontinued.

  7. To reinstate services, the student must meet with the Director of Center for Accommodation and Access and sign agreement of student responsibility.

Entities on campus who are in need of interpreter services must schedule with The Office of Center for Accommodation and Access at least two week in advance of the event.

Tutoring Services

Enrolled CSU students can receive free tutoring from the Academic Center for Tutoring (ACT). The ACT's primary mission is to contribute to CSU's vision, mission, and priorities by supporting students in their core courses (math, science, writing, and humanities) and in other professional and academic situations (personal statements, resumes). More information about what the ACT can do for students can be found by visiting online https://act.columbusstate.edu, by visiting Woodall 104, or by calling 706-568-2483. Appointments are made via MyCSU and EAB.

Adaptive Technology Laboratory

The Office of Center for Accommodation and Access has an adaptive technology laboratory for students who need specialized equipment in accessing hardware and software.

Students who wish to use the equipment may do so, but if possible it is best to schedule to use the room in advance.

The following equipment is available for students:

  • Dragon Dictate-Voice activated software
  • JAWS-Screen Reader with audible, audio output
  • Zoomtext - Enlarges the text on screen with audible, audio output
  • Kurzweil - Reads text with audible output; assists with reading
  • Inspiration-software that assists with organization of thoughts, writing skills
  • Texthelp - software which assists with reading, writing
  • Duxbury Brailler and Thomas embosser-Software and hardware which will convert text to braille
  • Headmaster-Mouse emulator for students with limited mobility
  • Intellikeys - alternate keyboard
  • CCTV-Equipment which enlarges text
  • Victor Reader

Documentation

Diagnosis and Severity of Disease

The first purpose of verifying documentation is to establish the existence of a disability as defined under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, P.L. 101-336 (July 26, 1990), as amended by P.L. 110–325 (September 25, 2008). Under these statutes, the severity of a disability or degree of life functions is more important than the name of the impairment or the disability although both are important. The second purpose of documentation is to describe and document the functional impact of the disability to assist in establishing a need for and the type of accommodations.

To establish the existence of a disability under these statutes, the documentation should demonstrate that the condition is a "mental or physical impairment that substantially limits a major life activity…." Life activities that are typically of great importance to college students are such functions as reading, listening, writing, learned speaking, as well as the basic functions of eating, sleeping, sitting, etc.

However, merely establishing the existence of a disability under Section 504 does only one thing: It means that the individual has a right to access a program and services. It does not mean that the need for accommodations has been established.

What is the Functional Impact of the Disability?
In order for the University to be able to determine whether reasonable accommodations can be designed and what those accommodations can be, we need detailed information about the IMPACT of the disability. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, P.L. 101-336 (July 26, 1990), as amended by P.L. 110–325 (September 25, 2008) specifically restrict colleges from having pre-packaged accommodations and automatically provided to persons based on the diagnostic name or category of the disability. We must look at each individual's disability and the functional impact of that disability.

Who Provides Verifying Documentation?

In most cases, documentation will be needed from licensed psychologists, medical doctors, psychiatrists, or neurologists. The Board of Regents requires specific documentation for learning disabilities, psychological disabilities, and cognitive disabilities. The Office of Center for Accommodation and Access has written criteria for the different categories of disabilities including medical and physical disabilities. Students should take these criteria to their health care providers to ensure proper documentation.

Board of Regent's policy of the University System of Georgia for learning disorders

How Current Should the Documentation Be?
In general, colleges and universities across the nation ask for documentation that is between two and five years old. Accept in the case of a physical disability, the assessment of the student should be done as an adult (age 18 and over). The documentation should describe the "current" functional impact of the disability.

Who Must Provide Verifying Documentation?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are quite specific in that the student is responsible for providing adequate and current documentation.

The Office of Center for Accommodation and Access may assist students in acquiring adequate documentation from their health care providers, after the student has demonstrated that he/she has made a reasonable effort to do so. For instance, if the documentation lacks important information such as a signature, accommodation recommendations, or a functional impact statement, the Office of Center for Accommodation and Access may contact the health care provider to provide the information. This is done on a case-by-case basis. Students will need to request that the Office of Center for Accommodation and Access intervene on their behalf in obtaining information if their repeated attempts do not yield appropriate information. (Jane Jarrow, PhD, Focus on Documentation, DAIS News, Vol 1, #12, 1997, (p.5 approx.)

Evacuation Guidelines

Faculty and staff should be aware of students in their classes that may need assistance in the event of an emergency. Students who are blind or low vision may need assistance to guide them out of the building in emergency situations.

Some students with head injuries or psychiatric disabilities may become confused or disoriented during an emergency and may also need assistance.

Students who use wheelchairs should not use the elevator but should wait for University Police to assist them to exit the building. When possible, the EVAC-CHAIR is used by University Police to safely evacuate students who are wheelchair users. To prevent injuries, instructors or other untrained personnel should not attempt to evacuate a student unless there is immediate danger.

Students who live in residence life should follow procedures outlined by the Director of Residence Life. Residence Life can be contacted at 706-507-8710.
(Adapted from Montgomery College, Maryland, Faculty and Staff Guidelines)

Faculty Academic Standards

All faculty members have an obligation to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to programs and services of the university. Academic competence should not be compromised in the process of accommodating students with disabilities. The same level of academic performance should be expected from students with disabilities as those without disabilities. Evaluation of academic work should be consistent and no different from students without disabilities. Students with disabilities are expected to adhere to academic standards and conduct policies of the university. Faculty members are able to inquire about the effectiveness of any accommodation and may initiate dialog with the student or with the Office of Center for Accommodation and Access concerning accommodations.

(Adapted from Augusta State University, Faculty Guidelines for Accommodating Students with Disabilities in an Academic Environment).

Federal Legislation

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, subpart C (41.51a) states:

No qualified handicapped person shall, on the basis of handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives or benefits from federal financial assistance.
Subpart E (84.42-84.47) applies to post secondary education programs and activities. A "qualified handicapped person" with regard to education is one "who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the institution's programs and activities." These specific provisions prohibit discrimination on the basis of handicap in admissions and recruitment, treatment of students after admission, academic requirements, housing, finance, employment assistance to students, and non-academic services such as physical education, counseling and placement services, and social organizations.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, P.L. 101-336 (July 26, 1990), as amended by P.L. 110–325 (September 25, 2008)

The Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law by President George Bush on July 26, 1990 guarantees persons with disabilities access to employment, public accommodations, transportation, public services and telecommunications. The ADA affects all state and local governments, regardless of size. It also applies to a wide array of companies, organizations and agencies, both public and private. Entities are required to make "reasonable accommodations" to "qualified individuals with a disability unless the accommodations would impose an 'undue hardship' ("an action that is unduly costly, extensive, substantial, disruptive, or that will fundamentally alter the nature of the program").

(Taken from SECTION 504 COMPLIANCE HANDBOOK AND ADA COMPLIANCE GUIDE, Thompson, Publishing Group).

Grievance Procedure

The Center for Accommodation and Access attempts to resolve disputes or complaints for students with disabilities on an informal basis by assisting the communication process between the parties involved. In compliance with The American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 38 CFR.105; 35.150 © and (d) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, the following is the grievance procedure for students with disabilities.

While it is not a requirement, the Center for Accommodation and Access strongly encourages the student to first meet with the faculty or staff where the dispute occurred. If the dispute cannot be resolved or the student does not want to meet independently with the faculty or staff member, the student may consult with the Center for Accommodation and Access or file a grievance. The student should understand, until s/he has properly filed a grievance the situation will not be reviewed for action.

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General Principles of Documentation

"In order to establish that one is a student with a disability and has a need for accommodation, the student must provide adequate documentation from an appropriate source as to their status as a person with a disability and the functional limitations created by the disability that may be addressed through the accommodation." (See below for reference)

Identification Policy

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, SubPart E, 84.42 (b) "generally prohibits, except under specific circumstances, preadmission inquiries as whether an individual has a handicap. Inquiries can be made, after admission, on a confidential basis, as to handicaps that may require accommodations. " (Section 504, Compliance Handbook, Thompson Publishing Group).

In accordance with the above regulation, a statement regarding the process of self-disclosure for students with disabilities is included on the application for admission, in the Columbus State University catalog and course catalog, and on the acceptance letter.

In order to determine eligibility for services and to provide the most reasonable and appropriate accommodations, documentation of the disability must be provided by a qualified healthcare provider. The student is responsible for obtaining the appropriate documentation. Currently, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia states, "Since the manifestations of a learning disability may change over the period of childhood and adolescence, documentation must reflect either data collected within the past three years or after the age of 18." http://www.usg.edu/academic_affairs_handbook/section3/handbook/C793/#LD

The documentation must support the need for the accommodation(s) being requested. It should clarify the areas of learning which might be affected and include specific recommendations for the appropriate accommodations for the student. Criteria for acceptance of outside documentation are available at the Center for Accommodation and Access. Additional testing may be requested if the evaluation provided does not meet the University System Board of Regents guidelines. Costs related to testing or evaluation is the responsibility of the student if the documentation does not meet the Regents guidelines.

If the student has made a reasonable effort to obtain documentation from the health care provider and it is not complete, the Center for Accommodation and Access will intervene in obtaining the information upon the student's request. At times, the documentation may not be complete (missing a signature, accommodations, etc) and the Center for Accommodation and Access will fax or send the documentation back to the healthcare provider. This is done on a case-by-case basis.

Referrals to the Center for Accommodation and Access may come from any point in the university system, community or families. However, the student must self-identify, make contact with the Center for Accommodation and Access, and provide adequate documentation before accommodations can be provided. Faculty who suspect that a student may have a disability should refer the student to the Center for Accommodation and Access so that adequate and proper documentation is obtained.

Self-disclosure and documentation can be initiated anytime during the year. However, reasonable time must be allowed before the student can expect accommodations to be in place. Accommodations can not be retroactive, and begin only after documentation and reasonable time for accommodation development is allowed. If the student has been afforded accommodations (by a previous coordinator) but is found to not have sufficient documentation, then the student is notified and given a semester to obtain sufficient documentation, while being accommodated temporarily.

New students are notified of documentation status approximately one week upon receipt of the documentation via letter, email or phone call. Students are notified if the documentation is adequate for the accommodations requested. Students are encouraged to call the Center for Accommodation and Access if there are any questions.

Accommodations are not retroactive. Accommodations begin first upon the completion of the identification process and, additionally upon notification each semester of enrollment by requesting a letter of accommodations from the Center for Accommodation and Access and upon that letter being provided to faculty for the current semester.

Implementation Process of Accommodations

The student brings appropriate documentation to the Center for Accommodation and Access.

Documentation is reviewed and the student is notified of the completeness of the documentation. If there is a need for time to review the documentation more thoroughly, the Center for Accommodation and Access will send a letter, email or call the student within one business week of receiving the documentation. The student will be informed regarding the status of the documentation and an appointment will be scheduled with the Director or Program Coordinator of the Center for Accommodation and Access or that the documentation is incomplete and will need to be completed in order to receive accommodations. The student is responsible for giving current contact information to the Center for Accommodation and Access.

The student is responsible for making an appointment with the  Center for Accommodation and Access to provide the documentation needed. If the documentation is complete, this appointment will accomplish the following: review of student's responsibilities (Student Responsibility Sheet), review of the accommodation plan for the specific disability, filling out of the "Request Cards" for services, and answering questions.

Students will need to notify the Center for Accommodation and Access at the beginning of each semester that they are enrolled and for which accommodations are needed. This can be done by coming into the office and filling out the Request for Services card available in the front lobby or by going online to make the request for services.

When requests are made for instructor letters, there will be a 2-3-business day turnaround for the preparation of the letters.

Students are responsible for picking up the instructor letters and distributing them to the instructors every semester unless the course is entirely online. At which case the letter will be emailed to the instructor by the Center for Accommodation and Access.

Students are encouraged to make appointments to discuss the accommodations with their instructors. Students are also encouraged not to leave the letters in the instructor's mailbox, but to personally hand the letter to instructors during their initial meeting.

Students are responsible for following up on any services they have requested.

Accommodations are not retroactive. Accommodations begin at the time the student has finished the identification process with The Center for Accommodation and Access and provided letters of accommodation to the faculty members for the current semester.

Interpreting and Captioning Services

Sign language interpreters are provided for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Captioning and sign language interpreting is an area of service requiring sufficient lead-time to make arrangements with the company providing the services. Students are urged to pay close attention to the following procedures/policies when arranging services.
Students are responsible for notifying the Center for Accommodation and Access for the need of an interpreter for classes or other activities related to their coursework. Interpreters are provided for academic advising and/or extracurricular activities, upon request.
Participate in priority registration. Early registration is your best assurance of receiving services promptly. Switching sections or making schedule changes may present problems in providing services. To prevent interruption in services or the possible loss of an interpreter/captionist because of scheduling problems, we urge you to stay as close to your original schedule as possible.
Notify the Center for Accommodation and Access if there is any change in your schedule once the semester has commenced.
All requests for services for events will need prior notification, a week is preferable, to allow time for finding an interpreter/captionist. The Center for Accommodation and Access will make a good-faith effort to make the event accessible, even if it is a last minute request. According to the National Center for the Deaf, when a request is made, primary consideration should be given to the specific accommodation requested. In some situations alternative accommodations may be considered. The requestor should be included in the planning process to ensure equal access to the class or event. http://www.nationaldeafcenter.org
Cancellation of any reservation to use services requires 24 hours notice before the particular class or event, except in situations of illness or emergencies.
If the student has not arrived by fifteen minutes after a class session or event is scheduled to begin the interpreter and/or captionist may leave. The Center for Accommodation and Access will document the student's absence.
If the student fails to inform the Center for Accommodation and Access that services are not needed more than three times, services will be discontinued.
To reinstate services, the student must meet with the Director of Center for Accommodation and Access and sign agreement of student responsibility.
Entities on campus who are in need of interpreter services may contact the Center for Accommodation and Access for recommendations.

Mission and Vision

Mission:

The mission of the Center for Accommodation and Access is to offer programs and services that ensure students with disabilities have the full educational, social and developmental opportunities that allow them to reach their potential and to compete in a global workforce upon graduation. ODS supports Columbus State University's Strategic Plan through Priority #1, Goals #2 and Priority #3 Goals #2, which focuses on increasing student scholars, fostering a campus environment that embraces diverse populations, increasing a sense of belonging, promoting student satisfaction and well-being.

Vision:

We envision a barrier-free, inclusive, diverse world that values each individual and his/her voice. Our vision is for the challenges of individuals with disabilities to be minimized or removed through universal design to ensure that all our campuses- Main, RiverPark and Online - with its resources and systems are accessible to all.


Notetaking

Note taking as an accommodation may not be available in certain courses due to the nature of the course. In such a case, we will work with the student and the professor to provide a recording of the class, or another accommodation of equal nature which will allow the student to access the class materials for their own reference at a later date.

Obtaining Grades

Students' grades are posted in ISIS by the Registrar's Office after every semester. The Center for Accommodation and Access cannot release grades.

Off-Campus Programming and Internships

When any Columbus State University related programs or activities are held in private facilities, thorough efforts should be made to obtain facilities that are accessible. The program sponsor has the responsibility for ensuring that access is provided. The Center for Accommodation and Access can assist the program sponsor in this effort.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that internships and field placements as a whole be accessible to students with disabilities. Given the wide range of disabilities and facilities, it is not possible for every site to accommodate every student. Every effort should be made by the program sponsor to seek out accessible internship sites that would provide students with comparable educational experiences.

Students should take the initiative and assist in seeking out internship sites that are accessible. Students are responsible for setting up any personal care services.

(Adapted from The University of Michigan Student Services with Disabilities Handbook)

Personal Accommodations

According to the ADA Technical Assistance Manual, Section II-3.6200, Columbus State University(a public entity is not required to provide individuals with disabilities with personal or individually prescribed devices such as wheelchairs, prescription eyeglasses, or hearing aids; or to provide readers for personal use or study or a Personal Aide in such areas as eating, toileting, or dressing, per Section 504 of the Rehab Act of 1973, Subpart E (34 CFR Part 104.44).

Personal Attendant Procedure

Columbus State University (CSU) makes every reasonable effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities as addressed by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended by the Amendments Act of 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended. In keeping with this commitment, Personal Attendants (PAs), also referred to as Community Support Staff, may be necessary to address the personal needs of a student with a disability so that he/she can participate in the University's activities, services, and programs. In order for the student who requires PA services to have the same independent experience as all other college students, it is in the student's best interest to hire an impartial PA who is not a family member or close friend.
An otherwise qualified student who requires personal attendant services must make arrangements to provide for his/her own personal attendant service. The University does not assume coordination or financial responsibilities for personal attendant services.
It is the student's responsibility to:
· Submit appropriate documentation to the Center for Accommodation and Access that supports the necessity of having a PA.
· Secure a PA prior to attending any university-related activity (i.e., placement testing, enrollment, or class attendance). The University will not be responsible for providing a PA.
· Ensure that each PA registers with the Center for Accommodation and Access and signs the Personal Attendant Agreement Form before the start of each academic year.
· Ensure that if personnel changes occur during the academic year, he/she and the new PA register with the Center for Accommodation and Access and sign a new PA Agreement Form.
· Direct the activities of the PA while at Columbus State University.
· Have a back-up plan or alternative plan of action should the regular PA not be available to work with him/her on a particular day or in a particular class.
· Follow the University's policies and abide by the Student Code of Conduct.
· Pay for all PA services or secure payment through a third party.
· Notify the Center for Accommodation and Access of any changes in PA.
The Personal Attendant is expected to:
· Submit to a formal background check.
· Follow all applicable university policies, rules, regulations, and procedures.
· Register with the Center for Accommodation and Access. If the attendant is employed by an agency provide the direct supervisor's name and contact information.
· Allow the student to take responsibility for his/her own progress in class.
· Refrain from participating in class discussions.
· Refrain from discussing any confidential information about the student with faculty, staff, or students.
· Make arrangements with student's professors as to where to sit in class according to the needs of the student.
· PAs are not allowed to proctor tests or be a scribe for exams.
· PAs do not take notes for the student.
The University is expected to:
· Provide academic or program access accommodations for a student with mental or physical/medical impairments.
· Provide reasonable accommodations to address the student's disability within the classroom and service areas of the university. Accommodations are determined through the Center for Accommodation and Access.
It is not the responsibility of Columbus State University to provide services to meet the personal needs (actions needed regardless of whether the person is a student or not) of the student. Example of those services may include, but are not limited to, transfer from car/van to a wheelchair; transportation to or from the classroom; administering medication; addressing toilet, feeding, dressing needs or help with social cues and/or conduct .
When necessary, a PA may be housed with the student they accompany to campus. Columbus State University does not pay for PAs, and it is the student's responsibility to pay the full room and board fee for each day of residency that the PA attends. All PAs are expected to abide by the Residence Life Policies and Procedures that students follow. A PA who violates these policies and procedures may be asked to leave campus.
If the PA fails to abide by the above procedures, the Center for Accommodation and Access may make a determination that he/she will not be allowed to accompany the student on campus.

Physical Accommodations

Columbus State University in conjunction with campus Plan Operations works to comply with the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). Students, Faculty or staff should report any inaccessible areas on campus to the Center for Accommodation and Access. The Center for Accommodation and Access will forward the complaint to the Director of Plant Operations.

Priority Registration


Due to the nature of certain disabilities, it is necessary for certain students with disabilities to register in advance for campus-wide early registration. This is usually the week before the campus-wide early registration. Not all students with disabilities are eligible for advanced priority registration. Students who have mobility difficulties, have to adhere to certain schedules because of treatment and other problems are examples of students receiving advanced priority registration. Students who are eligible for campus-wide registration are notified via email. Students who are eligible will need to meet with their advisors to complete a schedule. The Center for Accommodation and Access does not advise students in the selection of courses, but are willing to address any questions or concerns regarding their schedule.


Records Retention


http://www.usg.edu/records_management/schedules/934/P25
Number: 0472-06-030
Description: This series documents student participation in the Services to Students with Disabilities Program. Records may include but are not limited to: health professional evaluation reports; recommendations for student applicants; high school transcripts and academic work-sheets; autobiographical essays; copies of applications for admission; copies of notices of admission; special admissions applications checklists; questionnaires; and physicians' statements and letters of recommendation.
Retention: 5 years after last contact.

Rights and Responsibilities

Students with disabilities have the right to:

  • Full and equal participation in the services and activities of Columbus State University
  • Reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments and or auxiliary aids and services supported by appropriate documentation
  • To not have confidential information freely disseminated throughout the campus
  • Limit access to confidential records. In doing so, however, students recognize that implementing accommodations may become more difficult
  • Information readily available in accessible formats

Students with disabilities have the responsibility to:

  • Meet qualifications and maintain essential institutional standards for courses, programs, services, jobs and activities
  • Identify as an individual with a disability when an accommodation is needed and to seek information, counsel and assistance as necessary
  • Document (from an appropriate professional) how the disability limits their participation in courses, programs, services, jobs and activities
  • Follow published procedures for obtaining reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids and services, or requesting barrier removal
  • Seek accommodations in a timely manner every semester

Columbus State University, through faculty and staff, has the right to:

  • Establish essential functions, abilities, skills, knowledge and standards for courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, facilities and to evaluate students on this basis
  • Confirm disability standards in developing, constructing, remodeling and maintaining facilities and to evaluate students on this basis
  • Confirm disability status, request and receive current, relevant documentation that supports requests for documentation that supports requests for accommodations, academic adjustments, and /or auxiliary aids and services
  • Deny a request for accommodations, academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and services, and/or barrier removal in facilities if the documentation does not demonstrate that the request is warranted, or if the individual fails to provide appropriate documentation
  • Select among equally effective accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids and services
  • Refuse unreasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and services, and/or facility-related barrier removal requests that impose a fundamental alteration on a program or activity of the university

Columbus State University has the responsibility to:

  • Provide information to faculty, staff, students, and guests with disabilities in accessible formats upon request
  • Ensure that courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities - when viewed in their entirety - are available and usable in the most integrated and appropriate settings
  • Respond to requests in a timely manner
  • Provide or arrange reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids and services for students with disabilities in courses, programs, services, jobs, activities and facilities
  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communications except where permitted or required by law

(Adapted from University of Wisconsin-Center for Accommodation and Access)

Self-Advocacy: One Key to Success in College


One of the keys to success in the university setting is the ability to self-advocate. The Office of Disability serves as an advocate for students with disabilities by verifying that students have disabilities and acting as a liaison between the student and campus faculty and staff. The student's best avenue for open communication is to be a self-advocate. Students with disabilities should be able to communicate the following to faculty, staff and fellow students when needed:
be able to state the nature of the disability, the functional limitations of the disability, and how the disability affects the way in which the student learns and functions in the university setting.
be familiar with personal learning styles and skills, accommodations that may have been received in the past, and whether these same accommodations will be allowed in the university setting. Attend workshops on learning styles in order to become familiar with a learning style that is unique to the student. The Counseling Center offers workshops and assessments on how to discover learning styles. The Academic Center for Excellence offers free tutoring for all students in core curriculum classes. Workshops on study skills, time management and other areas are also offered. The Math and Science lab offers free tutoring and students can receive assistance in writing through the Writing Center.
be aware of personal strengths and problem areas, as well as strategies that may help to improve. The student may speak to the person who completes the assessment to help identify these areas. The student may visit the Counseling Center at the Schuster Student Success Center to assess their strengths and problem areas or if they have difficulty communicating their needs.
Knowing the laws that govern the accessibility of disabilities in public settings is part of developing the self-advocacy process. Laws that governed accommodations in high school are different than those in the university setting. Below is a comparison of disability law and how it is applied in high school and college:
High School Post-secondary Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (See Subpart D) Americans with Disabilities Act
Americans with Disabilities Act Civil Rights Restoration Act
Civil Rights Restoration Act
In high school the school has responsibilities which include the following:
The post-secondary level institutional role changes as follows:
In high school the school has responsibilities to identify students with disabilities
The post-secondary level institutional role changes to protect a student's right to privacy and confidentiality
In high school the school has responsibilities to provide assessment of learning disabilities
The post-secondary level institutional role changes to provide access to programs and services
In high school the school has responsibilities to classify disabilities
The post-secondary level institutional role changes to inform students of office location and procedures for requesting accommodations
In high school the school has responsibilities to involve parents or guardians in placement decisions
The post-secondary level institutional role changes to accept and evaluate verifying documentation
In high school the school has responsibilities to provide certain non-academic services
The post-secondary level institutional role changes to determine that a physical or mental impairment causes a substantial limitation of a major life activity based on documentation
In high school the school has responsibilities to place students in programs
The post-secondary level institutional role changes to determine whether students are qualified for participation in the program or service, whether reasonable accommodation is possible
In high school the school has responsibilities to structure a large part of the student's schedule
The post-secondary level institutional role changes to make reasonable accommodations for qualifying students
In high school the school has responsibilities to modify educational programs
The post-secondary level institutional role changes to provide reasonable access to program and service choices equal to those available to the general public
In high school the school has responsibilities to prepare IEP's (Individualized Education Plans)
The post-secondary level institutional role changes to make reasonable adjustments in teaching methods which do not alter the essential content of the course or program
In high school the school has responsibilities to provide a free and appropriate education
The post-secondary level institutional role changes to assure that off-campus and contracted program facilities are accessible
In high school the school has responsibilities to provide appropriate health services by school nurse
The post-secondary level institutional role changes to inform students of rights and responsibilities
In contrast to the responsibilities of high schools, at the university (post-secondary) level, student responsibilities change as follows:
Students have a responsibility to :
Self-identify or disclose their disability if they wish to receive accommodations to the Center for Accommodation and Access
Provide verifying, appropriate documentation to the Center for Accommodation and Access
Obtain assessments and tests for documentation purposes
Act as independent adults
Arrange their own weekly schedules
Contact their professors to activate and adopt accommodations for each class
Arrange for and obtain their own personal attendants, tutoring and individually fitted or designed assistive technology
Post-secondary institutions are not required to:
Reduce or waive any of the essential requirements of a course or program
Conduct testing and assessment of learning, psychological or medical disabilities
Provide personal attendants
Provide personal or private tutors if this is not offered to students without disabilities
Prepare Individualized Education Plans

Seizure Guidelines

The Center for Accommodation and Access encourages students with seizure disorders to inform their instructors as to what needs to be done if a seizure occurs.

If a student has a seizure, Public Safety, 706-568- 2022, should be called immediately and the following procedures followed. The Center for Accommodation and Access should also be called so that students' relatives can be notified.

  • Keep calm
  • Ease student to the floor.
  • Remove objects that may injure the student.
  • Do not force anything between the student's teeth.
  • Turn the student's head to one side so that saliva is released
  • Place something under the head
  • Let the seizure run its course
  • When the student regains consciousness, let him or her rest as long as desired
  • To help orient the student to time and space, suggest where he/she is and what happened.

(Adapted from Montgomery College, Maryland, Faculty and Staff Guidelines)

Service Animals

A “service animal” is an animal that is trained to perform tasks that benefit an individual with a disability. Tasks include but are not limited to guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sound, pulling a wheelchair, or retrieving dropped items. Currently, animals that are recognized as service animals under the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended by the Amendments Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-325) are dogs or miniature horses that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a physical, intellectual, or mental disability. 

Therapy or emotional support animals are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act *and* do not qualify as service animals as an accommodation.

  • Service animals are welcome in all buildings on campus and may attend any class meeting or event.
  • Reasonable behavior and cleanliness are expected from service animals.
  • Service animals must be under the control of the handler at all times. Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal's work or the individual's disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal,or other effective controls. While the owner/handler is responsible for the care or supervision of the animal, campus maintenance will provide assistance in the disposal and clean up of animal waste if needed.
    • A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken
    • if there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, the university must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to remain in the class or participate in the event witout the animal's presences.
  • City ordinances require that dogs or any other animal be vaccinated against rabies and also have city permit.
  • Service animals in training are welcome on campus, however it is required that the handler notify the Center for Accommodation & Access and provide proof that the animal is in training.

For more information: http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

Service Animals in Science Labs - Guidelines

  • Identify what support the animal provides - does it alert by jumping or pawing, is it a pick-up animal, i.e. is it likely to get hurt due to attempting to pick up something contaminated?
  • A properly trained service dog should be able to maintain a down-stay in a safe location for the duration of the lab session, in an area that is close to the student, but it is well outside of any potential splashes, spills, etc. The dog may stay on a mat to protect the dog from anything on the floor.
  • How close to the student the dog should be "parked" depends on the nature of the student's disability and the dog's tasks. If it's a mobility assistance dog, for example, and if the student is going to be staying at one station and not needing to move around in the lab, the dog could probably be parked across the room. If it's an alert dog that the student might need assistance from during the lab, then it needs to remain close enough to the student to provide that assistance while not interfering with students' ability to move around in the lab.
  • What are the safety protocols for the lab? How are students protected? The professor should be asked to detail the precise hazards and safety protocols that exist in the lab, and then you consider how they would apply to the service dog
  • If the only difference is that students wear shoes and the dog is barefoot, the dog can wear dog boots.
  • If students are issued goggles or lab coats to protect against splatters, the dog can wear Doggles (look it up) or a dog raincoat. (it's the student's responsibility to provide the protective gear for the dog.)
  • If students are wearing gloves, the reason for glove use probably doesn't apply to the dog, because the dog is not the one handling chemicals and equipment.
  • If the lab environment would be hazardous to the dog (e.g., due to fumes), are there alternative accommodations that would enable the student to access the class?

Copied from Donna Patchett dpatchett@nvcc.edu DSSHE-L@listserv.buffalo.edu

Temporary Disabilities

Temporary disabilities may not covered under Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act unless the impairment substantially limits a major life activity. The issue of whether a temporary impairment is significant enough to be a disability must be resolved on a case by case basis, taking into consideration both the duration of the impairment and the extent to which it actually limits a major life activity of the affected individual (ADA Technical Assistance Manual, Department of Justice).

Students seeking accommodations or services on the basis of a temporary disability must provide documentation verifying the nature of the condition, stating the expected duration of the condition, and describing the accommodation deemed necessary. The assessment or verification of disability should not be more than 30 days old and should reflect the student's current level of disability. Temporary accommodations are valid for one semester.

Continuance of accommodations beyond one semester is allowed only with supporting documentation. The cost of obtaining the professional verification is the responsibility of the student. Students must also sign a Temporary Services Agreement produced by the Center for Accommodation and Access.

Test Administration Procedures

Exam Accommodations

The Columbus State University Center for Accommodation and Access (ODS) is committed to maintaining the highest academic integrity standards possible in the ODS exam environment. In order to meet this goal, ODS utilizes a video monitoring system to proctor exams.

Any student observed utilizing any unauthorized resource during an exam will not be allowed to complete the exam and will be reported to their instructor.

Exam accommodations may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Distraction-reduced testing area
  • Extended time for exams
  • Assistive technology
  • Braille
  • CCTV
  • Large print
  • Computer

Students authorized for exam accommodations have three exam options:

  1. Take exams with the class, without accommodations.
  2. Take exams with appropriate accommodations arranged by the instructor.
  3. Take exams at ODS.

Procedures for exams at ODS

  • Students should schedule exams 3 business days before the exam in order to take exams for your class in our office. Student will want to work out ALL of the details when scheduling exams with the Center for Accommodation and Access Testing Coordinator.
    • Student may schedule all exams at the beginning of the semester or at least three business days in advance of the exam.
    • This is to ensure that ODS has the appropriate tests and also has sufficient time to prepare accommodations (brailling, enlargement, etc.).
  • This also gives the Office of Disability Service time to acquire the exam from the professor.
  • If student is only taking finals with the ODS, student should schedule exams by the 12th week of the semester.
  • Faculty instructions regarding the exam will be reviewed with you before the exam begins. You will be held responsible for following these instructions at all times.
    • The following items are not allowed in the exam room:
      • Notes/books not permitted by professor/instructor
      • Any communication devices including cell phones and iPads
      • Coats
      • Book bags
      • Purses
      • Hats/Ball caps
  • Students are not permitted to choose exam room. ODS cannot guarantee a specific test environment.
  • Students are not permitted to leave the ODS testing area once they have begun the exam.
  • Students are responsible for your personal exam materials. If a student forgets personal exam materials (e.g. blue/green book or calculator) and leaves to retrieve it, when student returns only the time remaining of the overall allotted time may be given.
  • If student is unclear about the exam instructions or conditions, stop the exam and seek assistance from an ODS staff member. The ODS staff member will attempt to contact the professor, or provide a form to complete explaining the problem or question which will then be returned with the exam.
  • All ODS students must be prepared to show picture ID to ODS exam staff when checking in to take an exam. CSU-IDs and driver's licenses are acceptable.
  • Scrap paper, if allowed by the instructor, will be provided by ODS. Any unauthorized notes used during the exam will be copied and returned with the exam to the instructor.
  • A staff member may come into the exam room at any time to perform a random integrity check.

Pop Quizzes

The instructor should call ODS and arrange for the administration of pop quizzes and enclose instructions for administering the quiz (e.g., time allotment and authorized materials).

Software/Online Test Accommodations

Your instructor should indicate the type and version of software needed for exams and the dates the software will be used when ODS contacts the professor about the exam.

Notify ODS if your exam will require the use of images via a website or CD. Please inform your instructor that we can provide you with this option. ODS will contact the professor for information.

Lateness, Illness, No Show, Cancellation, and Rescheduling Policies

Lateness and Illness

  • You are expected to be at ODS at the time the class meets. If due to illness or other and/or approved by your instructor.
  • If you arrive late for your exam, you must take the remaining time or reschedule your exam with your instructor (ODS will not reschedule an exam without notification from the instructor).
  • There is no guarantee that the instructor will permit a make up exam.
  • This policy also applies if you are late due to illness.
  • If you are unable to take an exam due to illness or emergency, contact your teacher/instructor immediately.
  • You are responsible for coordinating the makeup of any missed exam or quiz with your instructor and ODS. ODS will need direct contact from the professor to confirm the makeup exam or quiz.

No Show

  • If you fail to show up for a scheduled exam, ODS will contact you by e-mail within 24 hours. Your instructor will also receive a copy of the e-mail.
  • You will be responsible for making contact with ODS to ensure that future exams for that class are scheduled.

Canceling an Exam

  • If for any reason you have decided not to take your exam at ODS after scheduling it, you are responsible for notifying our office so that we can have the space for other students. This includes withdrawing from a course.
  • You are responsible for ensuring that your travel plans do not interfere with your final exam schedule.

Final Exams

  • Due to space constraints, your final exam may be scheduled for another time, as indicated by your instructor to ODS.
  • Be sure to check in with the ODS scheduling desk prior to the last week of the semester to find out when your exams are scheduled.
  • It is recommended that you request a print out of your final exam schedule. You can do this by contacting the ODS Testing Coordinator.

Rescheduling an Exam or Quiz

  1. Notify your professor by email and copy ODS to the email.
  2. The Instructor informs ODS of the rescheduled exam per his/her policy for makeup exams.
  3. If approved contact ODS as soon as possible for rescheduling.
  4. ODS will accept authorization from the instructor via e-mail, as long as the e-mail includes the necessary information in order to administer the exam.

The student is encouraged to discuss testing accommodations with the professor at the beginning of each semester.

Professors are notified that a student is allowed testing accommodations as noted in the "Letter of Accommodations". The "Letter of Accommodations" are given to all students who should receive accommodations. The student is responsible for giving each professor an "Letter of Accommodations" and discussing with the professor the accommodations needed.

To ensure test/exam integrity, the Center for Accommodation and Access will confer with the professor regarding the delivery/return of the exam, and any special instructions as to the administration of the exam.

If there is a change in exam dates or cancellation, the student must notify the Center for Accommodation and Access. The student is responsible for rescheduling the test with the professor.

The tests are returned to the professor or department (if designated by the professor) the same day as the exam or at least 24 hours after the exam.

University Board of Regent's Policy

The University System Board of Regents has established policies in regards to students with disabilities in specific circumstances. The following sections covered in the Academic Affairs Handbook are available online at:

Columbus State University has adopted the criteria set by the Board of Regents for the diagnosis of learning disabilities for local accommodations as well as those determined under Regents policy. The University System has adopted the position that few, if any, University System policies may be waived or exceptions made for learning disabled students. Instead, means should be sought to assist students in meeting all the requirements through special accommodations and modifications of instructional techniques and testing procedures. This position covers all College Preparatory Curriculum requirements, admission standards, Learning Support policies, Core Curriculum requirements and Regent's Test requirements, because all of these policies establish the essential foundation of higher education.

You may contact the Center for Accommodation and Access for more information at:

Jones_Lauren3@columbusstate.edu  or call 706-507-8757.

Web Accessibility Standards

The University Information and Technology Services (UITS) Web Team's website can also be accessed for information regarding web site accessibility resources. The web site is found at http://webs.columbusstate.edu 

The Center for Accommodation and Access (CAA) will continue to work with the Columbus State University Information Technology Services (UITS) to achieve and maintain website and technology accessibility.