Student Access Inclusion and Resources

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Student Access Inclusion and Resources

(Formerly known as Disabilities Access Services)

Students with disabilities can be successful at West Shore Community College. The profile of a successful student includes one who regularly attends classes, spends appropriates time studying, understands his or her strengths and weakness, is willing to self-advocated, accesses campus resources as needed, and develops relationships with professors and staff.

The Student Access Inclusion and Resources offers assistance to individuals with disabilities who identify themselves as needing special services while attending West Shore Community College. Staff provide support services by using an individualized approach and works cooperatively with students as they:
• Build effective study skills
• Learn self-advocacy skills
• Become more independent learners
• Create a network of resources on campus in the community
• Meet academic requirements.

;The Student Access, Inclusion and Resources department was created to provide a central location for services that support academic achievement of women and men, while working to increase access to education, improve the retention of students at collage and encourage leadership development.


Our Goals:
• To provide effective services, materials, and resources to enable students with disabilities to participate as fully as possible in the educational opportunities at the college level.
• To coach students creatively
• To promote inclusiveness and successful experiences
• To ensure compliance with the college policies and federal guidelines.
Students requiring more information should contact Carla Shay, Director of Student Access Inclusion and Resources at (231) 843-5942 or stop by the student services office.


Americans with Disabilities Act - Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA AA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act: Legal Rights and Responsibilities

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act-  Amendments Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADA AA) is a civil rights law that was originally passed by Congress in 1990 (as the Americans with Disabilities Act-ADA) and protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace, as well as school and other settings.  The ADA was amended in 2008 and became effective January 1, 2009.  The law does not provide funding for services or accommodations.


ADA AA mandates that reasonable accommodations must be provided to students with disabilities.  Disability Access Services staff will coordinate services with faculty in order to provide students with disabilities academic adjustments that will help them fully participate in the educational opportunities at West Shore.

What is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects the rights of persons with handicaps in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance.  Section 504 protects the rights of not only individuals with visible disabilities but also those with disabilities that may not be apparent.


Section 504 provides that: "No otherwise qualified individual with handicaps in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance...."


Section 504 regulations defines a qualified individual with handicaps for postsecondary educational programs as a person with a handicap who meets the academic and technical standards requisite for admission to, or participation in, the college's education program or activity.


Who is eligible?

The law defines a person as disabled if he or she:

•    has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities;
•    has a record of such an impairment;
•    is regarded as having such impairment.

Under the law, learning, reading, thinking, concentrating, walking, hearing, and manual tasks are all considered major life activities.  Individuals with disabilities who desire special services should contact Disability Access Services for more information.


Is documentation of a disability required in order to receive accommodation or to use adaptive software or equipment?

Documentation of a disability is especially helpful when assessing a student’s unique needs with the goal of helping the student achieve academic, personal, or career success.  The requested documentation may include the results of medical, psychological, or emotional diagnostic tests, or other professional evaluations, including an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) or Student Action Plan (SAP).


Is West Shore responsible for identifying students with disabilities?

At the postsecondary level, it is the student's responsibility to make his or her handicapping condition known and to request academic adjustments.  To inquire about services for a disability, students at West Shore must contact the Director of Special Populations via telephone at (231) 843-5906 or email at dlneilengblade@westshore.edu or come directly to the Disability Access Services Office, which is located in Suite 761 on the 2nd floor of the Schoenherr Campus Center.  A student may also choose to make his or her needs known to a college administrator, advisor, or professor on an individual basis.  However, if accommodations are needed, the Director of Special Populations, in coordination with WSCC faculty, must determine those accommodations.


How does West Shore assure that the needs of students with disabilities are being met?

Students with disabilities are eligible for reasonable accommodations per Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the ADA of 1990/ADA AA of 2009.  STaRS staff works collaboratively with students, faculty, and staff to create an inclusive educational environment.  What is deemed a reasonable accommodation will vary on a case-by-case basis depending on how the disability affects various aspects of the student's college experience.  How accommodations are carried out differs from one situation to another because both the environment and student variables must be considered.

Accommodations Agreement

Students desiring accommodations for a disability must confer with the Director of Special Populations, in order to create an Accommodations Agreement.  An Accommodations Agreement lists the accommodations required in each of the student’s classes as well as any other accommodations that may be required in order to enable the student to have full access to all of the college’s programs and facilities.  It must be signed by each professor, the student, and the Director of Special Populations and is valid only for the current semester in which the student is enrolled.


What are Reasonable Accommodations?

Reasonable accommodations provide equal opportunity for students with disabilities to obtain the same level of achievement as all other students while maintaining the standards of excellence of the college. More information about common accommodations can be found at Assistive Technology Available and Common Accommodations.  Professors and instructors have the right to challenge any accommodation if he or she believes that it would fundamentally alter the nature and standards of the course.


What if disagreements arise regarding disability concerns or accommodations?

West Shore Community College’s Compliance Officers are responsible for administering the College’s complaint/grievance procedure as well as ensuring compliance with applicable laws.  The Dean of Student Services is the designated as the ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer and the Dean of Occupational Programs is the Section 504 Compliance Coordinator.  Contact information is as follows:

Compliance Coordinator:   Christy Christmas – cchristmas1@westshore.edu

                                                Dean of Occupational Programs              231.843.5834

Compliance Officer:             Chad Inabinet – ceinabinet@westshore.edu

                                                Dean of Student Services                           231.843.5965

Appeals:                                 Scott Ward – scward@westshore.edu

                                                Interim President                                        231.843.5923

DEFINITIONS

  1. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act - extends civil rights to people with disabilities. It allows for reasonable accommodations such as special study area and assistance as necessary for each student.

  2. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.

  3. ADA Compliance Officer:  Person designated by the president to preside over any student appeals of disability grievances. 

  4. ADA Compliance Coordinator: Person designated by the president to represent student ADA concerns as they arise. The Compliance Coordinator is located in the Tech Center and is the student representative for ADA concerns.

  5. Complainant: is the person filing a complaint in accordance with the Informal Complaint Process.

  6. Grievant: Is the person filing a grievance in accordance with the formal grievance procedure.

  7. Respondent: Is the person against whom the formal grievance is filed.

  8. Working Days: Any day the college’s administrative offices are open.

  9. Alternate format: written statements may be presented in alternate formats such as tape recordings, personal interviews, large print, or Braille upon request.

  10. Accessible Format: written responses may be delivered in different formats such as large text, Braille or audio format, upon request.

When Should I Use the ADA/504 Compliant/Grievance Procedure?

The ADA/504 Complaint/Grievance Procedure is designed to address disputes that include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Requested services or accommodations dispute

  • Disagreement regarding a College practice or procedure as they pertain to a disability

  • Concerns regarding access to a program or activity

  • Discrimination on the basis of disability

  • Violation of privacy as it pertains to a disability

Informal Complaint Process

West Shore Community College encourages, but does not require, students to first attempt to resolve concerns by initiating a meeting with the faculty, administrator or staff member with whom the original concern or disagreement originated.  After this meeting if the student believes the matter cannot be resolved through this informal process then students are encouraged to meet with the ADA/Section 504 Compliance Coordinator.  The Coordinator will discuss the student’s right to file a formal grievance and will assist the student in understanding the formal grievance process.

Formal Grievance Process

Formal grievances must be submitted to the ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer within 30 working days of the date on which the alleged discriminatory action took place, or after disposition of the informal complaint process.  Students are encouraged to file the grievance as soon as possible in order to ensure a prompt resolution.  Formal grievances involving an ADA/Section 504 issue should adhere to the following process:

  • Grievances shall be in written form and must contain the name, address, email, and telephone number of the individual filing the grievance.  Grievances shall describe, in detail, the alleged violation, any individuals involved, the date, and location of the event.  Include any efforts made to resolve the issue informally and a statement of the requested remedy.

  • Upon receipt of the formal grievance, the Compliance Officer shall initiate an investigation.  The investigation may include interviews or consultations with any individual the Compliance Officer believes to have relevant information pertinent to the grievance, including faculty, staff, and/or students.

  • Both the individual filing the grievance and the party against whom the grievance is directed shall have the right to have a representative.  Should either party be assisted by a representative that party shall be named.  For purposes of the investigative procedure an attorney is not an appropriate representative as the proceedings are an internal WSCC function. The representative may speak to and advise the grievant but may not speak on behalf of the grievant or ask questions directly during the interview or consultation.

  • At the completion of the investigation the Compliance Officer shall prepare a written response to the grievance and provide a copy to each party involved.  The written report shall summarize the investigation, including but not limited to the written findings and the proposed disposition.  This response shall be issued within 10 working days of receipt of the formal grievance.  The 10 working day time period may be extended, in general, for academic breaks or college closings.

  • The proposed disposition shall be acted upon immediately.  Parties involved shall have the right of appeal.  The appeal process is outlined below and shall be followed within 10 working days of the written investigative report and proposed disposition being issued.

  • If a grievance is being filed against the Compliance Coordinator or the Compliance Officer, then the grievance should be filed with the College’s Title IX Officer. 

 

Final Appeals Procedure

Within 10 working days of the issuance of the proposed disposition the parties involved may appeal to the President or designee.  An appeal shall be filed in writing and shall contain the basis on which the appeal is being filed.  The appeal must be directed only to matters involved in the original grievance itself, not to any new issues.  The written appeal shall contain name, address, telephone number, email address, the reason(s) for disagreement with the initial decision, and the requested outcome.  The President or designee shall have access to all information used to arrive at the initial decision and may also investigate further.  A response to the appeal shall be issued in writing within 10 working days after the receipt of the appeal.  The decision of the President or designee shall be final.

Following the WSCC complaint / grievance procedure does not prevent an individual from filing a complaint of discrimination on the basis of disability with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.


Students desiring more information about their legal rights and responsibilities should read the following document published by the Department of Education and the Office for Civil Rights:  Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education:  Know Your Rights and Responsibilities.