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Policies and Procedures

An Accommodating Focus

A Handbook for Students with Disabilities at Centralia College

A Thank You: This document was inspired by work done at Highline Community College by Jim Field, the Director of Access Services. The format, and many of Jim's ideas have been translated into this handbook for students at Centralia College. August 2001

Table of Contents

Application for Services

Center for Disability Services
Counseling Center in the Student Center Building
360-736-9391, extension 320
From Olympia: 753-3433, extension 320
TDD 360-807-6227
FAX 360-330-7501
www.centralia.edu

Preface

Along with other colleges and universities across the country, Centralia College is enrolling increasing numbers of students with disabilities.  Awareness of a student's needs and potential can create an atmosphere where learning and growth can occur.  Centralia College is committed to making the physical facilities, instructional programs and non-academic programs, accessible to students with disabilities.

The Center for Disability Services is located in Student Center Building, and serves as a focal point for coordination of services for students who have disabilities.  For students who have had a history of difficulty in school, it is a place to ask questions and explore the possibility of an undiagnosed disability.  It is recommended that new and potential students make an appointment to talk about concerns they have at least six weeks prior to the beginning of the quarter they plan to attend.  You may make an appointment by calling the Counseling Center at 736-9391, extension 265 or through the Center for Disability Services at extension 320.

Emergencies are handled through the Counseling Center or the Vice President, Student Services Office at extension 220.

Your Civil Rights

It is the policy of Centralia College not to discriminate on the basis of sex, disability, race, color, national origin or age.  This applies to access to, admission to, or employment in the College's programs or activities.  Compliance is required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination Act or any of their regulations.

Centralia College provides reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities.  The purpose of this document is to identify the rights and responsibilities of students under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504; and the Washington State Laws of 1994, Chapter 105.

To receive reasonable accommodations, students are responsible for requesting accommodations and for providing appropriate documentation regarding the nature and degree of their disability.  This information must be provided in a timely way, at least six weeks prior to the first day of the quarter they plan to attendIf you have started college and realize a disability is interfering with your success or access to services, you may make an appointment with the Director of Center for Disability Services to identify the barriers to your success.  Accommodations are not retroactive, but every effort will be made to work with the student to improve his or her success in college.

Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
  • Academic flexibility including modification of test taking, or priority registration;
  • Adjustments in non-academic services like food service or student activities; and
  • Access to auxiliary aids and services.
The College will make modifications to programs and services that:
  1. Are necessary to ensure that they do not discriminate or have the effect of discriminating against any qualified student with a disability, based on that disability,
  2. Will not impose an undue burden on the College or;
  3. Will not require a fundamental change of essential program requirements.
Appropriate reasonable accommodations will be provided to qualified students with disabilities in the application process, admissions, registration, financial aid, academic advising, counseling, and course work.  The college will also provide reasonable accommodations in non-academic programs and services for students with documented disabilities.

Section 202 of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act states:

"No qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from the participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs or activities of any private entity, or be subject to discrimination by any such entity."

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states:

"No otherwise qualified, handicapped individual in the United States shall solely, by reasons of his/her handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

Responsibilities of the Student

In order to qualify for accommodations and receive them in a timely manner, the student must identify himself or herself to the Center for Disability Services Office and participate in an intake process with the Director.  Providing timely notice, and documentation of the nature and extent of the disability, and the accommodations requested is necessary.  Some accommodations, interpreters or taped books, for example, require considerable time to arrange.  The Center for Disability Services Office should receive requests for accommodations at least six weeks prior to the beginning of the quarter for which the request is made.  Lack of advance notice may delay the availability of an accommodation.

It may be necessary to provide additional documentation to determine appropriate accommodations for a qualified student.  Documentation may include, but is not limited to:
  • Description of the covered disability
  • Medical reports: diagnosis/prognosis
  • Identification of tests administered and the test results
  • Functional limitations
  • Recommended accommodations
Information should be current (less than three years old) and based on adult norms.  An appropriate professional must provide the information.
  • A medical doctor needs to provide information if it is a medical condition.
  • A mental health professional needs to provide information if it is a psychological or mental health condition.
  • A psychologist needs to provide information if it is a learning disability.
The Center for Disability Services requests you to sign a "consent for release of information" form to allow communication and exchange of information between the College staff and faculty, other schools, and agencies. If there are problems, these concerns should be addressed promptly with the Center for Disability Services Office.

How to Request Accommodations

To receive accommodations the student must:
  1. Meet with the Director of Center for Disability Services and complete a request for services.
  2. Provide documentation of a disability, which verifies the need for accommodations. This information is confidential and will be kept in a separate file.

    Documentation must originate from a professional diagnostician, whether it is a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, audiologist, nurse practitioner or mental health professional.  This may be provided by a third party like a school, vocational rehabilitation agency, or the Veterans Administration.

    The information will be kept in a confidential file in the Center for Disability Services Office and will be used only to develop appropriate accommodations and in support of a student's program.  The responsibility and cost for providing professional documentation is the student's.
  3. The Director of Center for Disability Services will provide the student with basic information about disability accommodations.
  4. After completing the intake interview, evaluation of documentation, and discussion of eligibility with the student, accommodations will, if appropriate, be determined and arranged.

    Services are determined on an individual need basis and will be re-evaluated as needed.  Students must request services each quarter, and present an accommodation summary to each instructor for the current quarter.

Documentation of a Learning Disability

Documentation consists of professional testing and evaluation with a test report.  This should reflect the individual's present (adult) level of information processing as well as present (adult) level achievement.  The cost and responsibility for providing this professional assessment is the student's.

The document must:
  1. Be prepared by a professional qualified to diagnose learning disabilities.
  2. Be comprehensive and include a DSM-IV notation, based on the intake interview and testing results. It should include, but not be limited to:
    • Intelligence tests at the adult level.
    • Achievement in reading, mathematics and written language.
    • Information processing (short and long-term memory; auditory and visual perception/processing; processing speed).
  3. Be a current* assessment of adult functioning.
  4. Present clear, specific evidence that identifies the specific learning disability and the individual adult level of functioning.
  5. The report should identify the exact instruments used and the procedures that were followed including: sub-test score data, a written interpretation of the results by the professional who did the test, their name, title, credentials and the date of the assessment.
  6. The report should provide the data needed to support the request for the academic adjustment(s) requested by the student.
*Current is less than five years old.

Responsibilities of the Center for Disability Services

The Director of Center for Disability Services is committed to a reasonable approach in the identification of students with disabilities.  Information about services is available in all major College publications.  Signs are posted on campus advising on the location of Center for Disability Services Office.  Faculty are encourage to be sensitive to students, and may suggest that they visit the Center for Disability Services Office to find out if they qualify for assistance or accommodations.  A statement regarding accommodations is printed on course syllabi. The Director can meet with you and your instructor to discuss strategies for providing the required accommodations.

The Center for Disability Services Office keeps a confidential file on each student who provides documentation of disability.  The file may contain an intake form, contact notes, release of information form, medical/psychological information, test results, notes on academic progress, agreements for reasonable accommodation and other pertinent information related to provision of services and progress of the student.  This file will be kept during the time the student is enrolled at Centralia College, and for seven years thereafter.  Also there is a database where said files are stored electronically.

When the student meets with the Director for an intake interview a request for services is completed.  At that time you will be asked questions regarding academic plans, accommodations, and if you wish to register to vote. Voter registration forms are also available for disabled persons who are not currently registered.

The Director will advise each qualified student who requests assistance and/or accommodations to provide documentation, which includes diagnosis, prognosis, and functional limitations.  When this information is complete the student and the Director will meet to design an accommodations plan.  For students who do not have documentation of a disability, the Center for Disability Services Office will assist in trying to identify agencies and resources to obtain that documentation.

What are Reasonable Accommodations?

Reasonable accommodations for each qualified student with a disability are made on an individual basis.  The decision to provide accommodations is based on both the nature and extent of the disability, and after assessing the needs of the student.  Documentation provided by the student from a qualified professional is an required part of this process.

The services provided are at no cost to the student, but planning in advance is critical to their availability and quality.  All students can access the tutoring center, the math and writing labs, and the Mac computer lab in the Phoenix Center.  A PC computer lab is also available.  If adaptive technology is needed for a student with a disability, prior authorization of the Center for Disability Services Director and coordination with the computer technology staff is required.  Adaptive equipment is provided with authorization of the Center for Disability Services director and checked out on a quarterly basis through the Centralia College Library staff.

Enrollment assistance may be provided by:
  • Orientation to campus
  • Registration assistance
  • Priority registration
Classroom accommodations may include:
  • American Sign Language interpreter
  • Notetaker or scribe
  • Taping of lectures
Reading assistance may be provided by:
  • Alternate Format textbooks
  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Scan/Read technology
Assistive Technology available on campus may include:
  • Two and four track cassette recorders
  • Telecommunication device
  • Screen reader software
  • Franklin spellers/dictionaries
  • Enlarging software and 21" monitors on some computers
  • Ergonomic keyboards
  • Ergonomic chairs
  • Voice recognition software
Special Testing Arrangements:
Testing may be designed to meet a student's specific need, and to assure fair opportunity to assess his or her subject knowledge.  In most instances, the testing is done in the Phoenix Center where it is proctored. Arrangements should be made with the Instructor, and/or Proctor forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the actual test time and day.

Course Substitutions:
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 do not require colleges to substitute essential requirements of a student's program of instruction (degree/certificate).  Any course substitutions at Centralia College will follow the Course Substitution process and fall within the approved guidelines.

The College is not responsible for any services or equipment of a personal nature.  Items of a personal nature would include equipment or services that are specially fitted to the needs of the user, for personal study/use, or personal care attendants. Providing accommodations will not guarantee success, the goal is to level the playing field.

Responsibilities of the College

The College establishes no limitations on the number of disabled students who are admitted, and uses no test or admission criteria that has a disproportionate or adverse effect on disabled persons.  Inquiries regarding disability are made only on Class Registration Forms and this information is used on a confidential basis for the sole purpose of reports for the State about people who self-report themselves as having a disability.  In this regard, Centralia College complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Section 202 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended, and with Washington State Laws of 1994.

In compliance with those laws, the College notifies all students of the nondiscrimination policy and the steps a student may take if s/he believes discrimination has taken place.  This includes phone numbers of the United States Department of Education, U.S. Office of Civil Rights, and the Washington State Human Rights Commission. (See pages 11-13)

Information about services available to students with disabilities, and the location of the program is advertised in college publications and at student orientations.  On this campus, services are available through the Center for Disability Services Office in the Student Center.

Training is provided to students, faculty, and staff on an individual and group basis to assure appropriate accommodations are made for each qualified student with a disability.  The information about the student is kept confidential both in its nature and the extent of the documented disability.  The specific documentation from the student's doctor, or other qualified professional, verifying the disability(s) and identifying specific and reasonable accommodations or adjustment based on the disability is kept in a secure, private place.

The College maintains its academic integrity and does not compromise the programs it offers.  Students with disabilities do not receive special treatment or advantages, they are provided with equal access and opportunities.  The institution is not required to provide services or equipment of a personal nature.  This includes providing readers for personal study or use of equipment specifically fitted to the needs of the user, or personal care attendants.

Discrimination Complaint Process

General policy:
It is the policy of Centralia College to assure equal opportunity and nondiscrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity, creed, color, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, age, religion, the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability, and status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran.

Applicability:
This policy applies to any member of the Centralia College community. The Centralia College community is defined to include, but not be limited to: students and any other individuals enrolled or seeking enrollment at the College; employees and any other individuals seeking employment at the College; vendors and other providers of service to the College; and other users of college services.

Right to complain:
Any member of the college community has the right to make a complaint against the College that alleges violation of the general policy described in WAC 132L-300-10 or that alleges violation of any federal, state, municipal, or college law, regulation, policy, order, or directive that prohibits discrimination. This complaint process covers sexual harassment, as a form of illegal discrimination. Copies of Centralia College’s sexual harassment policy are available from the offices of either the equal opportunity officer or the chief student judicial affairs officer. Complaints may be informal or formal. In addition, any member of the Centralia College community has the right to file a complaint of discrimination with the appropriate state or federal agency. A complainant has the right of professional assistance at his or her own expense.

Protection from retaliation:
No individual shall be penalized or retaliated against in any way by a member of the college community for initiating a complaint.

Informal complaint procedure:
An informal complaint may be initiated in one of two ways:
  1. All persons covered by this policy are encouraged to discuss the matter with the appropriate vice president or department head. The complaint may be concluded by mutual consent at this point. The vice president or department head must submit a brief description of the facts to the equal opportunity officer of the college for maintaining a confidential record.
  2. As an alternative to (1) or, if (1) fails, the complainant may consult informally with the equal opportunity officer, if the complaint is about an employee, or with the chief student judicial affairs officer, if the complaint is about a student. The equal opportunity officer or chief.
  3. Student judicial affairs officer will provide advice and intervention in confidence, where appropriate.
Outcomes of the informal complaint process:
Informal complaints may have several outcomes. The person raising the issue may only want to discuss the matter with a neutral party in order to clarify whether discrimination may be occurring and to determine his or her options, including the pursuit of more formal options. In such a situation the equal opportunity officer or chief student judicial affairs officer will give assistance and offer suggestions as to how the issue might be resolved, without drawing a conclusion as to whether illegal discrimination has occurred. In other cases the equal opportunity officer or chief judicial affairs officer may be asked to act as a mediator, to talk to the alleged offending person to see whether an informal resolution of the issue can be reached. In the case of an employee, the supervisor or department chair of the alleged offending person may be notified that an informal complaint has been received, but that no investigation has taken place. If this process reaches resolution, no further actions will be taken and the matter will be closed. Issues not resolved may require that further inquiries be made and/or that supervisors or department chairs take a more active role in finding a solution to the problem.

Time limit for formal complaint procedures:
Formal complaints must be submitted within six months of the most resent alleged discriminatory act, preferably within 30 days, in order to help ensure effective investigation and corrective action.

Formal complaint procedures against students:
Complaints about the conduct of a student, who was not performing as an employee of the college during the alleged incident, should be made to the chief student judicial affairs officer of the college. Complaints about students shall be handled in accordance with WAC 132L-120, Student Rights and Responsibilities Code. A copy of this code is available from the chief student judicial affairs officer. In addition, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act places protections and limits on releasing information about students. The chief student judicial affairs officer shall notify the equal opportunity officer of all such complaints, seek consultation and/or assistance as appropriate, and provide the equal opportunity officer timely notification of the outcome.

Formal complaint procedures against employees and/or agents of the College:
Complaints about the conduct of an employee should be made to the equal opportunity officer of the college. If there are repeated informal complaints about a member of the college community, the president may initiate an investigation without a formal complaint from an individual. The president will provide a written copy of his or her complaint to the individual against whom the complaint is lodged.

Outcomes of the formal complaint process:
  1. Within 15 days after receipt of a complaint, the equal opportunity officer will consult with the complainant, the department head, the person against whom the complaint is made and/or other appropriate persons, in an attempt to resolve the matter and/or to determine whether further investigation is warranted. Every effort will be made to report the findings within 60 days of receipt of the written complaint. If for any reason, an extension is necessary, the complaint will be informed in writing of the reasons for the extension, the status of the investigation, and the probable date of completion.
  2. If the investigation officer determines that corrective action is needed, that officer will initiate discussions with the appropriate administrator to resolve the complaint. A formal investigation can be terminated at any time should a satisfactory resolution be reached before a written finding is made.
  3. Upon completion of the investigation, the investigating officer will notify in writing the complainant, the appropriate vice president, department head or chair of the findings and recommendations.
Complainant appeal process:
If the complainant disputes the findings or is dissatisfied with the recommendations, he or she may appeal such findings by filing a complaint with an outside agency within its established time limits.

Employee appeal process:
Should the resolution of a complaint result in disciplinary action such as demotion, suspension, or dismissal, an employee can appeal such action using the appropriate procedure listed below:
  1. Faculty members may appeal by filing a written grievance under terms of Article IX of the negotiated agreement between District 12 and the Community College District 12 Federation of Teachers.
  2. Classified staff may file an appeal through the State of Washington Personnel Board appeal procedures, WAC 251-12-080.
Responsibilities of the equal opportunity officer:
  1. The equal opportunity officer, located in the Administrative Office on the Centralia College campus shall be responsible for implementation of this policy. All inquires will be handled confidentially when feasible.
  2. When any member of the college community or persons denied admission, employment, or services files a complaint of discrimination with an outside federal or state agency, that agency will request a response from the College to the charges of the complaint. The equal opportunity officer will prepare the response, usually after conducting an internal investigation of the complaint.
Complaints Filed with Outside Agencies:
When any member of the college community files a complaint of discrimination with an outside federal or state agency, that agency will, as part of its investigation, request a response from the College to the charges in the complaint.  The Equal Opportunity Officer/Personnel will prepare this response, usually after conducting an internal investigation of the complaint.

The right to prompt and equitable resolution of a complaint will not be impaired by the person's pursuit of other remedies.  Individuals have the right to file a complaint with responsible state or federal agencies. These agencies are:
  • Washington State Human Rights Commission
    Third Avenue
    Seattle, WA 98101
    206-464-6500
  • U.S. Department of Education
    Office for Civil Rights Region X
    915 Second Avenue, Room 3310
    Seattle, WA 98174
    206-220-7900
  • Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
    1424 New York Avenue, Room 5041
    Washington, D.C 20005
    202-307-0818
    TTY 800-514-0383
This process does not provide rights or obligations not provided by applicable laws.

Definitions

Often it is difficult to read legal or technical language because terms may not be used in a way we expect to see them.  For this reason, important words and phrases are identified and explained.

"Reasonable accommodations" are the use of necessary auxiliary aids and modifications of programs, policies, practices and procedures that enable qualified students with a disability to have an equal opportunity to benefit from and have access to college programs and services.

"Qualified Student" is a person who, with or without reasonable accommodations, meets the academic and technical standards required for admission to, participation in, and/or fulfilling the essential requirements of college programs or activities.  A "qualified student with a disability" is the same, but this person has self-identified, provided appropriate documentation of his/her disability, and has been evaluated by the director of Special Services Office at Centralia College.

"Student with a disability" is a person, who has a physical, mental or sensory impairment that substantially limits one or more of his or her major life activities; a person who has a record of such an impairment; is perceived to have such an impairment; or, has an abnormal condition that is medically cognizable or diagnosable.

"Undue burden" is defined as a "significant difficulty or expense."

"Fundamental alteration" is a modification that is so significant that it changes the essential nature of the facilities, privileges, advantages, or programs and services offered.

"Program accessibility" means that all programs, when viewed in their entirety, are accessible to persons with a disability.

"Core services" are those services listed by the Washington State Laws of 1994, Chapter 105, that are necessary to assure students with disabilities are reasonably accommodated at college.

Contact Center for Disability Services:

Student Center Building, Counseling Center
(360) 736-9391, ext. 320
From Olympia:
753-3433, ext. 320

Hearing Impaired:
7-1-1 or 800-833-6388
www.washingtonrelay.com