Ozark Christian College is committed to full compliance with all laws regarding equal opportunity for students with disabilities. Students, the faculty and administration all play a role in ensuring that reasonable and appropriate accommodations are provided in a timely and effective manner. The following is an outline of the process followed at OCC when a student requests services or accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
- It is only through a student’s voluntary disclosure of disability and request for accommodation that OCC can support disability needs.
- Students with disabilities who wish to receive accommodations or services must disclose the disability and make a personal request to the OCC Academics Office. The student meets with the Director of Academic Operations, submits required disability documentation, and formally requests services, including accommodations, a minimum of eight (8) weeks before the start of a semester. Depending on the nature of the disability more time may be necessary to satisfy the reasonable accommodation.
- A disclosure of disability or request for an accommodation made to a faculty or staff member other than the Academics Office will not be treated as a request for an accommodation.
- Any new or modified requests for services or accommodation should be made prior to the start of each semester to allow time to review requests and documentation and make proper arrangements. Accommodation arrangements may be compromised or denied if a request is not made in a timely manner. Requests will renew each consecutive semester as long as the student is enrolled. If the student has a leave of absence, a new request for accommodations or services will need to be submitted.
Click here to complete the OCC Student Request for Accommodations form.
- It is strongly advised that documentation for all disabilities are submitted. Disability documentation should be current and include a written evaluation from a physician, psychologist or other qualified specialist that establishes the nature and extent of the disability, and includes the basis for the diagnosis and the dates of testing. The documentation should establish the need for an accommodation and contain suggestions for offsetting the effects of the disability.
- The type of documentation will vary according to the disability, e.g., a psycho-educational or neuropsychological assessment for learning and other cognitive disabilities, a psychiatrist’s report for psychological disabilities, a letter from a doctor or other specialist for physical and most other disabilities. Whether or not documentation is current will depend on the nature of the disability.
- Documentation of a student’s disability is maintained in a confidential file in the OCC Academics Office. This documentation is not a part of the student’s academic record.
- All information related to a disability is confidential and may be disclosed only with the permission of the student or otherwise as permitted by the college’s student records policy and federal laws.
- A student who wishes an accommodation is responsible for obtaining a letter from the OCC Academics Office that states that he/she is a qualified individual with a disability. That letter also advises the faculty or staff member of the action required to provide an accommodation for the student.
- Students are not required to divulge the nature of their disabilities or provide copies of their disability documentation to other faculty or staff.
- Students are responsible for working directly with the faculty or staff member involved in the provision of an accommodation.
- Students need to provide feedback to the OCC Academics Office on the effectiveness of accommodations. The student should notify the OCC Academics Office if an accommodation is not provided.
Denial of Accomodation
- The college reserves the right to deny services or accommodations in the event that documentation does not comply with its published guidelines for service eligibility, e.g., the student does not meet the criteria of ADA or Section 504, or documentation is out-of-date or incomplete.
- If the documentation provided by a student does not support the existence of a disability or the need for an accommodation, the student will be so advised. Students will be given the opportunity to supplement the initial documentation with further information from a physician, psychologist, or other specialist.
- The college is not required to provide an accommodation that compromises the essential requirements of a course or program, imposes an undue financial burden based on the college’s overall institutional budget, or poses a threat to the health or safety of the student or others.
- A student who disagrees with a determination of eligibility or accommodation is encouraged to meet with the Director of Academic Operations to resolve the matter informally.
- A student who disputes the determination by the OCC Academics Office regarding the existence of a disability or denial of an accommodation may file a written complaint with the Executive Administration Team within 10 days of the date of the determination by the OCC Academics Office. The decision of the Executive Administrative Team shall be final.
A reasonable accommodation in the student setting is a modification or adjustment to a class or program that will enable a qualified person with a disability to participate in the program or class or to enjoy the rights and privileges offered by the college. Modifications that impose an undue burden or pose a health or safely risk are not considered reasonable. The college is required to make modifications only to known and validated disabilities. The college requires the student to give reasonable notice of the request for modifications. The school or department must take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that qualified individuals with disabilities are not excluded, treated differently or segregated because of the absence of auxiliary aids or services.
The modification offered must be appropriate to the needs of the individual, thus, in each instance, an individualized analysis must occur. The OCC Academics Office can devise a modification plan for the student.
Course Load Modifications
The college is not required to eliminate academic requirements essential to the program of instruction or related to licensing requirements. However, reasonable modifications must be provided for qualified students with verified disabilities. Modifications for completion of degree requirements may include the following:
- changes in the length of time permitted for completion of degree requirements;
- substitution of specific courses required for completion of degree requirements;
- reduced course load; and/or
- adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted.
Exam modifications may include the following:
- changes in the length of time permitted for completion of an exam; or
- adaptation of the manner in which the exam is given (for example, allowing a student to take the exam in a distraction-free testing room).
Auxiliary Aids and Services
This term refers to equipment or service providers that augment communication. Examples are sign language interpreters, note takers, readers, computer aided transcription devices, assistive listening devices, telecommunications devices for deaf persons (TDDs), and Braille materials. The college pays for the cost of the auxiliary aid or service. If provision of a particular auxiliary aid or service would result in a fundamental alteration of the program or in an undue burden, i.e., significant difficulty or expense, the college will attempt to provide an alternative auxiliary aid or service. The college does not need to provide attendants, individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study, or other devices or services of a personal nature. The college will give careful consideration to the requests of the affected disabled individuals, but is not required to give the disabled person the auxiliary aid of his or her choice.
When Reasonable Modification Is Not Required
Fundamental Program Alteration
A college is not required to provide any aid or service or make any modification that would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program. For example, where a course requirement is essential to the program of instruction taken by the student, the college is not required to waive the requirement. In evaluating whether the requested program modifications would require substantial program alteration or would fundamentally alter academic standards or programs, the academic dean should consider the underlying academic reasons for the program components, the academic standards institutionalized in the program, how the challenged components are consistent with the program standards, and how the requested accommodations would be inconsistent with the academic goals and standards of the program.
A college need not make modifications or provide auxiliary aids or services if it constitutes an undue burden. In determining whether or not an undue burden exists, the factors to be considered are the nature and cost of the action needed in the context of the overall financial resources of the college.
Direct Threat to Health or Safety
The college is not required to permit an individual to participate in or benefit from a college program or service when that individual poses a direct threat to health or safety. Direct threat means a significant risk to health or safety that cannot be eliminated by modification of policies, practices, or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services. In determining whether an individual poses a direct threat to health or safety, the college must make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or the best available objective evidence, to ascertain:
- the nature, duration, and severity of the risk;
- the probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and
- whether reasonable modification of policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate the risk.
This standard applies to all individuals, not just disabled individuals.
If further information is needed, please feel free to contact Lisa Witte in the Academics Office, 417.626.1222.