Responsibilities of Faculty
It is the responsibility of the faculty to cooperate with the Disability Services Office (DSO) in providing authorized accommodations and support services for students with disabilities in a fair and timely manner. Faculty should meet with students who provide an accommodation letter to establish the means of providing the accommodation as early in the semester as possible. Students should initiate this meeting, but faculty are encouraged to take the initiative when students are reluctant to self-advocate.
If a student requests that an instructor provide accommodations for a disability and the faculty member has had no official notification of the student’s need for accommodation, it is important that the instructor assist the student in contacting the DSO. If the disability is visible (use of wheelchair, hearing aids, etc.) and the requested accommodation is obviously appropriate, the faculty member must provide the accommodation while paperwork is being completed.
Faculty are not able to refuse to provide required accommodations, to question whether the disability exists when accommodations have been authorized by the university, or to request to examine the students’ documentation without a written consent signed by the student. However, faculty members can have input and should arrange with students the means for providing accommodations in a particular class. A student must be able to comprehend the course material and communicate that comprehension to the instructor, but accommodations must give the students the opportunity to achieve that outcome, so long as the accommodation does not alter the fundamental nature of the course or program. If a faculty member has questions about the appropriateness of a required accommodation, he or she should consult with the DSO staff.