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Academic Support & Access Center

Policies and Procedures

Requesting Disability-Related Accommodations

Disabilities: Services for Students

Discrimination based on disability is prohibited by university policy and local and federal laws, including the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and its Amendment Acts of 2008. The university is committed to providing equal educational opportunities for qualified individuals with disabilities. This statement identifies university resources for students with disabilities, provides general information about the university's procedures for requesting accommodations, and describes informal and formal means of resolving complaints related to requested accommodations.


A person with a disability is one who (a) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activities, (b) has a record of such impairment, or (c) is regarded as having such impairment.

“Physical or mental impairment” means (a) any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genito-urinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin and endocrine; or (b) any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

“Substantially limits” means being unable to perform a major life activity or significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration under which a major life activity can be performed, in comparison to the average person or to most people. “Major life activities” mean functions that an average person can perform with little or no difficulty. Some examples are caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, reading, speaking, breathing, and working.

“Qualified person with a disability” as applied to students means a person who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the university’s educational program or activity, with or without reasonable accommodation.

“Reasonable accommodation” means the provision of certain necessary and effective adjustments to the known physical and mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability, unless the accommodation would impose an undue burden or hardship on the university, or would produce a fundamental alteration of the university’s programs or services.

*Definitions are taken from Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and from the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. These definitions are provided for informational purposes only. These definitions are not meant to alter the existing local or federal disability laws and regulations.

Disability Compliance Project Team

The vice president of campus life has primary responsibility for the implementation of Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act and its amendments. The vice president of campus life appoints the Disability Compliance Project Team to recommend priorities for compliance activities and to provide consultation on policy and programming. The director of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution is the university’s Section 504/ADA compliance coordinator. The compliance coordinator provides information about services and grievance procedures, and refers complainants to the appropriate office.

Support Services

The Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC) provides services to students with disabilities. These services are provided to promote full participation in academic programs and other campus activities. The ASAC has the specific responsibility for reviewing professionally prepared documentation of a disability, determining effective and reasonable modification for a disability, verifying a disability for faculty and other persons, and recommending course and access accommodations on behalf of the university. The ASAC also refers to other resources, both on and off campus.

Specific information about procedures for requesting accommodations may be found at Accommodations and Access

Information about how to request an emotional support/therapy/assistance animal on campus as a disability-related accommodation can be found at Animals on Campus.

Students enrolled in or seeking admission to the Washington College of Law should also consult the Handbook for Applicants and Students with Disabilities published by the Office of Student Services of the Washington College of Law. The assistant director of student affairs can be reached at 202-274-4030.

Auxiliary Aids

Students who need auxiliary aids will be permitted to use assistive or adaptive software and equipment, such as oral or manual interpreters, note takers, tape recorders, or Braille or recorded texts. In many cases, the university’s role will be to inform students of programs or organizations which assist with auxiliary aids. The university’s responsibility for providing auxiliary aids will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The university does not provide wheelchairs, hearing aids, personal attendants, and other kinds of personal devices or services.

Proof of Disability

Students with disabilities are not required to notify the university or any of its offices or personnel of their disability either prior to or subsequent to their admission to the university. However, if students with disabilities request support services or program modifications on the basis of a disability, the university must receive reasonable advance notice of such needs. The university may also require written verification that the student has a disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The verification or supporting documentation must be from a licensed physician, licensed clinical psychologist, or other appropriate professional. Students with disabilities who anticipate that they may at some time request accommodations must notify and submit verification materials as needed as early as possible in advance of when the accommodations will be needed. Students submit these materials to the Academic Support and Access Center. This office will then verify to other offices, as necessary, that a student is entitled to accommodations. The university reserves the right to modify accommodations.


Information and records about a student’s disability and accommodations, if any, are treated as confidential information. All university employees are required to maintain the confidentiality of any disability-related information about a student. To that end, information is provided on a need-to-know basis solely to individuals who require such information as part of the accommodation process, or where permitted or required by law. To protect confidentiality, all disability-related information must be filed with the Academic Support and Access Center, and generally not with individual offices.

Procedures for Filing a Disability Grievance