Our mission is to ensure students with disabilities have equal access in their educational pursuits. We provide students an opportunity to obtain their academic goals by fostering inclusion and support.
- Assistance in arranging course and testing accommodations
- Assistance in working with instructors
- Campus accessibility and service/resource information
- Campus disability awareness education
- Sign Language Interpreter services
- Coordination of support programs and services with other campus departments
- Consultation, counseling, and assistance in resolving problems
- Information regarding and referral to a variety of campus and community resources
- Supplemental note-taking services
- Additional time on tests and finals
- Alternative test location that provides a reduced distraction environment
- Priority seating
- Test reader
- Test scribe
- Books in electronic format
- A sign language interpreter
- Allowance of assistive devices such as recorders or computer for note taking
ODS will never release a student's documentation to any third party, or other institution of higher education for any reason. Students need to take careful measures to retain and store all documentation as the ODS office will not release it to a third party under any circumstances.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990
According to the ADA, an individual with a disability is defined as a person who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more life activities; (2) has a record of such impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such impairment. Major life activities include but are not limited to walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks.
The ADA prohibits discrimination solely on the basis of disability in employment, public services, and accommodations. The person in consideration must be otherwise qualified for the job, program, or service.
The ADA details administrative requirements, complaint procedures, and the consequences for non-compliance related to both services and employment. The ADA requires
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs, public and private, that receive federal financial assistance. Section 504 includes institutions regardless of whether they have open door, selective, or competitive admissions practices.
People with disabilities have the same legal remedies that are available under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended in 1991. Thus, individuals who are discriminated against may file a complaint with the relevant federal agency or sue in federal court. Enforcement agencies encourage informal mediation and voluntary compliance.
How these Laws Apply to Higher Education
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 were designed to ensure that colleges and universities are free from discrimination in their recruitment, admission, and treatment of students.
In the application of both laws, students with disabilities must be qualified to participate in college activities. A qualified student with a disability is one who meets the admission and essential eligibility requirements of a program or service, with or without:
- modifications of rules, policies, or procedures
- removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers
- provision of auxiliary aids and services.
Individuals who pose a direct threat to their own health or safety or the health or safety of others will not be considered qualified.
The law requires higher education institutions to ensure that all programs, services, or facilities are accessible to or usable by persons with disabilities. The law does NOT require:
- making each facility accessible if alternatives are effective
- a fundamental alteration of programs or services
- undue financial or administrative burden.
The College District is under no obligation to change academic requirements which the College District, programs, or majors can demonstrate are essential to the program of instruction or to any direct licensing requirement.
The College District does not have to provide personal attendants, individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study, or other devices or services of a personal nature, such as tutoring or typing (United States Office of Civil Rights, July, 2002).
The institution must provide auxiliary aids to ensure the participation of students in college classes and activities and must accommodate the academic participation of qualified students with disabilities.
The law does not require special treatment of students with disabilities, but does require that students be given the opportunity for equal participation in the College District's programs. This is done by providing to eligible and qualified students appropriate academic adjustments necessary to facilitate the students' fullest possible participation in the College District's academic programs.
Attendance and Disability
Students most likely to request modified attendance policies are those with health-related disabilities. This might include students with lupus or fibromyalgia, sickle cell anemia, seizure disorders, cancer, migraines, and conditions requiring dialysis. Students with psychological disabilities who are experiencing an exacerbation of symptoms may also request modification of attendance policies.
Federal law requires colleges and universities to consider reasonable modification of attendance policies if required to accommodate a student's disability. In making this determination, two questions must be answered:
Does the student have a documented disability that directly affects his/her ability to attend class on a regular basis? Disability Services will make this determination based on a review of documentation from the student's physician or psychologist and provide verification in a letter the student presents to the instructor.
Is attendance an essential part of the class? Would modification of attendance policies result in a fundamental alteration of the curriculum? Faculty members make this determination in consultation with ODS.
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has provided the following guidelines to assess if attendance is an essential part of a class:
- Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students and among students?
- Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
- Does the fundamental nature of the course rely on student participation as an essential method for learning?
- To what degree does a student's failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class?
- What do the course description and syllabus say?
- Which method is used to calculate the final grade?
- What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?
ODS recommends that students with a disability-related need for flexibility in attendance meet with their instructors to discuss the extent to which modification in attendance policies may be reasonable for a particular class. The student and instructor should have a clear understanding of what accommodations can be made for disability-related absences. In cases where attendance is an essential part of the class, a medical or mental health withdrawal may be considered a reasonable accommodation if absences become excessive. ODS is available to consult with faculty on issues concerning disability and attendance. No accommodation exists that allows a student to miss class simply because of their disability. Class attendance is considered an essential element of the course unless otherwise noted in the course syllabus.
Regardless of the type or severity of a disability, all Blinn College District students must adhere to the policies, rules, and regulations of the Code of Conduct section in the Student Handbook as approved by the Board of Trustees.