September 20, 2021

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TO: Fall Quarter Instructors

FROM: David Marshall, Executive Vice Chancellor

RE: Academic Accommodation for Students

As we begin the Fall Quarter, I am writing to remind instructors of the process through which the Disabled Students Program (DSP) evaluates student requests for academic accommodations. Providing accommodations for students with disabilities is a responsibility shared by the student, the Disabled Students Program, and the faculty or academic department. Such accommodations are an important commitment by the University, as well as a legal obligation of the University and its instructors.

If a demonstrated and documented medical condition requires a student to find an alternative to regular in-person instruction, the DSP office considers whether other accommodations would afford the student equal access to their education based on the diagnosed condition, the severity of symptoms, and resulting functional limitations. If no other accommodations would provide appropriate access, or no other arrangements could be made, DSP will examine if remote learning might be a reasonable and appropriate accommodation in the particular student’s situation.

This process is similar to other accommodations that DSP arranges, including considerations related to health conditions and flexible attendance, participation, deadlines, and exams. DSP will apply the same rigor that it uses to evaluate other accommodations and anticipates approving a very limited number of students for remote instruction as an accommodation for a disability.

DSP will contact the student’s instructors to discuss whether the remote instruction would materially alter the program, and if not, the potential logistics of providing remote access to the class, including the need for additional assistance or resources. Consultations with the instructor might include discussing the potential to utilize recorded lectures and asynchronous interactions to provide options for remote access and participation. DSP may also be able to deploy Access Ambassadors, student employees who will attend classes equipped with a device (tablet or laptop with web camera) that will stream the lecture via Zoom to the remote student and help facilitate classroom participation. Instructional Development is also available to assist instructors with their planning. Exams can be proctored by Zoom by the Testing Center.

Instructors will not be required to fundamentally alter the nature of the course, or to teach in two modalities. In cases in which remote access is not possible, the department chair or other departmental officers or staff might be involved to determine if potential accommodations might involve such options as waiving certain requirements or allowing course substitutions.

Instructors should not make direct arrangements with individual students requesting disability accommodations outside of this formal DSP process. All requests from students should be referred to the DSP office. When accommodations are approved by a DSP Specialist, instructors can be confident that students have provided current documentation from a qualified provider and that appropriate accommodations will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Thank you.

cc: Gary White