Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
STATEMENT OF POLICY
Penn State Law is fully committed to (a) making its programs available to all qualified individuals, regardless of disability and (b) making reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources (SDR) office, located on the campus of Penn State-University Park is the designated university office that obtains and files disability-related documents and develops plans for the provision of reasonable accommodations. Student Disability Resources will send written notification regarding recommended accommodations to the law school’s Office of Student Services.SDR may be contacted at 814-863-1807 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accommodations for disabilities are granted and administered solely by the Office of Student Services. Faculty members are not authorized to grant or deny disability accommodations*. (*The faculty member’s role is explained in detail below):
- Any student requesting accommodations because of a disability must meet with the office of Student Disability Resources (SDR) office to request the accommodation. The meeting should normally occur within the first two weeks of the student’s first semester in law school, or, in the case of a disability which is discovered after the student has begun law school, within two weeks of the student’s discovery of the disability, and in no event shall the meeting occur later than is necessary to permit an adequate period of time for consideration of the request under these procedures before the time for which the accommodation is sought.
- After the initial meeting, SDR will inform the Office of Student Services that the individual has provided the required documentation and propose specific accommodations for the student.
- Any student requesting an accommodation must present appropriate documentation, from a qualified professional, establishing (a) that the disability exists and (b) that the requested accommodation is necessary to provide the student with the opportunity to achieve or participate in the program to the same extent as a similarly-situated person without a disability. The documentation should be provided to SDR. The following requirements apply to documentation of disabilities:
- The documentation should reflect functional limitations that are currently impacting the student as determined by the appropriate professional who is qualified to evaluate the functional impact of the disability and render conclusions about the need for accommodations.
- Student Disability Resources has not adopted a documentation currency requirement, but documentation will only be accepted if it reflects the present-day status of the student’s functional limitations.
- Student Disability Resources may waive documentation requirements for a student whose disability is readily apparent or obvious (e.g., paralysis, total blindness, deafness).
- For students whose disabilities or need for accommodations are not readily apparent, Student Disability Resources has established disability-specific criteria highlighting functional areas of impact that must be met in order for a student to receive services.
- Links to the disability-specific documentation guidelines can be found below. Examples of documentation that may meet Student Disability Resources’ guidelines include, but are not limited to:
- Neuropsychological evaluations
- Psychoeducational evaluations
- Medical evaluations
- Physiological assessments
- Please note that recent secondary school documentation, such as Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or Section 504 Plans, may assist in Student Disability Resources’ determination for services, but their sole submission may not meet Penn State's Student Disability Resources documentation requirements.
- If a student does not have comprehensive disability documentation available for submission, Student Disability Resources provides verification forms for all disabilities to facilitate the documentation process. Many of the forms can be used independently to document the functional limitations associated with a disability or they can be used to supplement current documentation.
- Some verification forms, where noted, cannot be submitted alone and must accompany additional documentation as indicated. Any documentation submitted, including a completed verification form, must meet Student Disability Resources’ disability-specific guidelines for acceptance.
- Student Disability Resources reserves the right to determine whether submitted documentation supports the need for reasonable accommodations based on the functional impact of the disability in the college environment.
DETERMINATION OF APPROPRIATE ACCOMMODATION
Once documentation has been submitted as described above and approved, the Assistant Dean for Student Services will receive from the requesting student an approved classroom and/or exam accommodation plan. The student will submit to each applicable faculty member their approved classroom accommodation plan.
A faculty member who is notified of an accommodation which is available to a student in the faculty member’s course or program may inform the Office of Student Services of special circumstances which the faculty member believes make the accommodation unreasonable or inappropriate. The Office of Student Services in consultation with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and SDR shall consider such information and, where consistent with ADA standards, suspend or modify the established accommodation for the particular situation involved.
No details regarding the nature of any student’s documented disability shall be made available to any person except for the information described immediately above. The law school will make best efforts to conceal the identity of any student who is receiving a exam accommodation to any professors or other persons. However, the law school may reveal the identity of a student receiving an accommodation when it is not reasonably feasible to maintain confidentiality. Instances in which a professor or other staff member working with a professor may be made aware of the student’s name, the requested services, and the fact that the requested services are being made in order to accommodate a documented disability include but are not limited to:
- Accommodations for non-degree seeking students;
- Classroom accommodations;
- Accommodations for formative assessments delivered through electronic means; and
- Final exam accommodations delivered through electronic means.
Faculty members shall ensure that our disability accommodation policies are followed where applicable, including the application of these policies to midterms and quizzes. Where a disabled student is entitled to an accommodation on a midterm and/or quiz or series of quizzes, the Office of Student Services shall perform its normal functions (including exam administration) regarding such accommodations. Where a disabled student is entitled to an ADA accommodation on an online midterm and/or quiz or series of quizzes, the faculty support staff shall consult with the Office of Student Services to coordinate such accommodations and to ensure anonymity is preserved. Student Services will coordinate student disability accommodations for final examinations.
RECERTIFICATION IN SUBSEQUENT SEMESTERS
Each student shall, at the beginning of each academic semester, provide the Office of Student Services and applicable faculty members with an approved classroom and/or exam accommodation plan.