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Accessibility Resources

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  • Information & FAQ’s for Instructors

    To ensure equal access to all students, MSUM Accessibility Resources helps those who need special accommodations. The mission of Accessibility Resources is to assist Minnesota State University Moorhead in providing reasonable accommodations for enrolled or admitted students who have documented disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Under this Act, students with disabilities are eligible for reasonable accommodations that provide equal opportunity to obtain the same level of achievement while maintaining the standards of excellence of the University.

    MSUM Accessibility Resources also works closely with faculty and staff in an advisory capacity to assist in the development of reasonable accommodations for students. These services provide equal access for “otherwise qualified” individuals with disabilities. Accessibility Resources assists students with physical, sensory, cognitive, psychiatric, and other health-related issues. Deciding whether a student meets the definition of disability under the ADA is handled on a case-by-case basis, but the disability must substantially limit their ability to perform a major life activity. To be eligible for Accessibility Resources, the student must have a documented disability. A statement of disability on the letterhead of a qualified professional has to be provided to Accessibility Resources, to explain how the disability functionally limits the student in her/his academic environment. This document should also include possible recommendations for specific accommodations and rationale for those recommendations.

    There are several different types of accommodations. Common examples include:

    • providing a quiet room and/or extended time for test taking
    • providing the exam in an alternative format (e.g., electronic, audio)
    • providing written materials in alternative formats such as larger print, electronic format, PDF format, audio format
    • provision of auxiliary aids and services (e.g., providing sign language interpreters, note takers or scribes, readers, screen reading or dictation software, audio recording devices).
        

    Reasonable accommodations are provided free of charge to qualified students.

    FAQ’s

    Is the information regarding a student's disability and his/her need for academic accommodations confidential?
    Privacy of student information, including that regarding students’ disabilities or accommodation needs, should generally be handled according to guidelines of FERPA. Personal information of this nature should only be shared (if necessary) with those people within the institution who have an educational need-to-know.

    How can I encourage students with disabilities to talk with me about their accommodations?
    Announce at the beginning of the course that you are available to discuss instructional methods and appropriate course accommodations with students who have disabilities. In addition, include the accessibility statement on your course syllabus. This statement is sent as a reminder from the Accessibility Resources Director before the beginning of each semester.

    How do I know a student is qualified to receive disability-related accommodations?
    A student who wishes to receive disability-related accommodations must apply through Accessibility Resources. The student must provide documentation from an appropriate professional about his/her condition to determine eligibility for services. Once a student is determined eligible, reasonable accommodations are identified. The student meets with Accessibility Resources to secure an accommodation letter, documenting the need for academic accommodations. Accommodations are implemented by faculty/instructors or departmental designates to ensure equal access to the academic environment. In some cases, instructors will collaborate with Accessibility Resources to implement reasonable accommodations.

    How do I know whether an academic accommodation is reasonable?
    Accessibility Resources carefully reviews the documentation and other resource information to determine reasonable accommodations. The student will provide you with an official accommodation letter from Accessibility Resources. The accommodation letter will outline appropriate accommodations, indicating the student has followed procedures in obtaining accommodations. The student may also share strategies/instructional techniques or accommodations that have proven effective for her/him in previous classes. You can consult with Accessibility Resources if her/his requests do not seem reasonable.

    What if I do not agree with a recommended accommodation?
    The institution is required by federal regulation to establish formal grievance procedures for providing prompt and equitable resolution of disagreements. If there are concerns about accommodations that involve a specific course or academic program, these procedures provide for consultation between the faculty member responsible for the course, the student, and the Director of Accessibility Resources or a designated representative.

    How are instructors informed that a student needs an academic accommodation?
    Students who wish to exercise their right to disability-related accommodations must open a file with Accessibility Resources. The student must provide professional documentation of their disability. Students are encouraged to open a file and request accommodations prior to the beginning of the academic term. However, a student may open a file and request accommodations at any time during the course. Accessibility Resources informs the students that accommodations are not retroactive. Accessibility Resources provides an official accommodation letter to the student. The student is informed about how to deliver this letter to their instructor(s), and to discuss the approved accommodations they will need in each course.

    May I fail a student with a disability?
    Yes. It is possible to fail a student with a disability. The laws mandate access to education, not guaranteed academic success. A student with a disability is required to meet the same academic, performance, behavioral, or technical standards as a student without a disability.