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Access Center

Definitions

Disability

The term ‘disability’ means, with respect to an individual—

(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual

(B) a record of such an impairment

(C) being regarded as having such an impairment (ADAAA 2008).  Students should not be asked to describe or disclose their disability to faculty members.

Reasonable accommodation

A modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, facility, or activity that enables qualified persons with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to demonstrate their ability. Institutions are obligated to make reasonable accommodations only to known limitations of an otherwise qualified individual. Reasonable accommodations should not alter a course's essential components or learning objectives, or in any way compromise the curriculum or the standards of the institution. Reasonable accommodations simply afford students with disabilities a level playing field.

ADA/Section 504

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are the relevant statutes with regard to university students (and employees) with disabilities. The intent of the law is to ensure that no otherwise qualified person with a disability will be denied access to, or the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination by any program or activity provided by any public institution or entity. These laws are enforced by WSU’sOffice of Civil Rights Compliance and Investigation (CRCI), the Washington Human Rights Commission, and the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice, in conjunction with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (ADA).

Faculty Notification Letter (FNL)

The FNL is the official document which lists accommodations that have been determined reasonable to mitigate the impact of a student’s disability. Once a student has requested certain accommodations for a course, a letter will be sent to the specific course instructors with descriptions and logistical information. These accommodations may include provision of alternate testing services, course materials in a form other than print, interpreting or transcription services, notetaking services, and assistive technology and equipment, among others. If you have any questions about accommodations, or aren’t sure what your role is, please call us at 335-3714, and ask to speak to an Access Advisor.