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Disability Services and Support

Policies and Documentation Guidelines

Disclosing a Disability

Effective July 2015
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability and require the University to make reasonable accommodations for those otherwise qualified individuals with a disability who request accommodations. A reasonable academic accommodation is an auxiliary aid, modification or adjustment that allows an individual to gain equal access and have equal opportunity to participate in the University's courses, services, activities and use of the facilities. The University is not obligated to provide an accommodation that imposes an undue burden or requires a fundamental alteration in the curriculum or alteration of any essential elements or functions of a program. Students requesting reasonable accommodations must do so by registering with the access coordinator at their respective schools in a timely manner. Students shall also be required to provide documentation of their disability that 1) meets the University of Rochester’s established guidelines for documentation of a disability, and 2) demonstrates or documents how their disability functionally impacts their participation in courses, programs, jobs, activities and/or the use of facilities at the University.

Procedure for Requesting Academic Accommodations

  1. The student schedules an intake interview with his or her respective access coordinator. The access coordinator conducting the interview and the student discuss the student’s disability and the impact it has on learning in a post-secondary environment. The student and the access coordinator discuss what reasonable accommodations the student is requesting.
  2. Students are required to submit documentation of their disability. Documentation must meet the documentation guidelines established by the University of Rochester. The documentation guidelines are available here.
  3. Documentation is reviewed and evaluated. Students will be notified once their documentation is reviewed as to whether or not the documentation has met the established guidelines and verifies the existence of a disability and establishes how the requested accommodation will be effective. The process of determining reasonable accommodations is collaborative among the student, the access coordinator, the professional providing the documentation and the course instructor or program director if necessary.
  4. An accommodation letter will be issued to the student’s instructors if reasonable accommodations are determined.
  5. In the event of a dispute, individuals can either use the formal or informal process for dispute resolution.

Confidentiality and Release of Information

  1. The University of Rochester recognizes that student disability records contain confidential information and are to be treated as such as described below. Documentation of a student’s disability is maintained in a confidential file kept separate from the school’s official academic file. Disability-related records, however, are generally “education records” is under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Accordingly, information related to a disability may be disclosed only, to those University employees who need to know the information as part of the accommodation process, or as otherwise permitted by the university’s student records policy and applicable law. The amount of information that may be released is determined by the University on a case by case basis.
  2. Students may request access to their disability files by submitting a written request to the access coordinator. Access will be granted as provided in the student records policy linked above.

Your Rights and Responsibilities

Students with disabilities at the University of Rochester have the right to:

  • An equal opportunity to access the courses, programs, services and activities at the University of Rochester.
  • Request reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments or auxiliary aids and services.
  • Appropriate confidentiality of information regarding their disability, except as disclosures are required or permitted by law.

Students with disabilities at the University of Rochester who wish to receive reasonable accommodations have the responsibility to:

  • Maintain institutional standards for academic performance and conduct.
  • Follow published procedures for requesting accommodations, academic adjustments or auxiliary aids and services.
  • Provide appropriate documentation of a disability including the functional limitation(s) of the disability and its impact on the access to and participation in courses, programs, services and activities at the University of Rochester.
  • Provide evidence that the reasonable accommodation will be effective
  • Request academic accommodations for each term the student is registered.

University of Rochester Rights and Responsibilities

The University of Rochester has the right to:

  • Request and receive, through the designated access coordinator, current documentation that identifies the existence of a disability and justifies that the requested accommodation is reasonable.
  • Suggest appropriate and reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments or auxiliary aids and services based upon documentation submitted to the access coordinators.
  • Establish essential requirements and standards for courses, programs, services or activities at the University of Rochester.
  • Select equally effective accommodations, adjustments or auxiliary aids and services.
  • Deny an accommodation, adjustment or auxiliary aid that fundamentally alters a course, program or activity.

The University of Rochester has the responsibility to:

  • Review submitted documentation without bias and seek appropriate relevant professional expertise when necessary.
  • Confer with the student and other relevant parties when determining accommodations, academic adjustments or auxiliary aids and services.
  • Provide information in accessible formats upon request.
  • Respond to requests in a timely basis.
  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality of documentation and information

Resolving a Dispute About Accommodations

We provide both informal and formal processes to attempt to resolve disagreements regarding accommodations.

The University's formal grievance procedure for challenging a decision regarding accommodations is Policy 106 - Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment. The University also strongly encourages individuals to attempt to resolve issues informally, though the informal process need not be pursued prior to filing a formal grievance.

Informal Process

  1. The student requests accommodation(s) and provides supporting documentation according to University guidelines to the access coordinator at their respective school.
  2. In instances where there is disagreement concerning the appropriateness of the requested accommodation, the student, instructor teaching the course for which the accommodation has been requested, and/or the access coordinator will make every effort to resolve the disagreement.
  3. If agreement cannot be reached, the student, instructor, or University administrative staff may seek informal resolution by submitting a Request for Review of the disputed decision to the Disability Compliance Director. The Disability Compliance Director will attempt to resolve the dispute. If the dispute cannot be resolved the Disability Compliance Director will convene the Eligibility Assessment Committee within seven (7) working days of receiving the Request for Review.
  4. The Committee will review the Request for Review and any additional relevant information from University personnel in order to render a decision within ten (10) working days from the date of receiving the Request for Review.
  5. If the individual is not satisfied with the decision of the Committee, a formal grievance must be filed under the Section 504/ADA - Grievance Procedure.
  6. While a Request for Review is under consideration, the instructor will provide the reasonable accommodation as indicated by the access coordinator.

Information and Resource Members

The Eligibility Assessment Committee is appointed by the Disability Compliance Director. This committee serves as a resource for faculty, academic administrators and University students, on a case-by-case basis, in resolving disagreements that arise concerning requests for academic accommodations.

The access coordinators will provide general information regarding determination and implementation of accommodations. The Dean or designated representative of the Department offering the course(s) in which the accommodation is requested may be asked to provide information to the committee.

Contact Us

Office of Disability Resources 
Student Disability Services
Amy Wight, Director
Taylor Hall


Lynnett Van Slyke
University Intercessor and Director of Disability Compliance
36 Wallis Hall