Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why does an instructor have the responsibility to make accommodations for students with disabilities?
    Accommodations provide access, making it possible for a student with a disability to overcome barriers. The instructor also has a legal responsibility to provide appropriate accommodations, as provided for in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the EMU Board Policy Manual.
  • What constitutes as a disability?

    An individual with a disability is defined as anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, working, or learning. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) further defines "disability" as broadly covering people in three categories: people who currently have a disability; people who have a history of a disability; and those who are regarded* as having a disability whether or not they actually have a disability.

    *According to the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments, individuals who are regarded as having a disability are protected from discriminatory treatment but are not entitled to reasonable accommodations.

  • How do I know if my student is registered with the DRC?

    Disability-related determinations are conducted by the Disability Resource Center (DRC) and communicated to faculty via the student. Students registered with the DRC are given a Letter of Accommodation which states the student’s rights, lists the DRC contact information and specific accommodations that have been determined reasonable for the student. Students are responsible for initiating contact with faculty. It is also the responsibility of the student to discuss accommodation needs in a timely manner to avoid crisis and last minute implementation.

  • How are appropriate accommodations for a student determined?
    A student must submit acceptable medical documentation to DRC. The information is then reviewed, along with an intake interview with the student. Appropriate accommodations are determined based upon the substantial limitations of the student and the essential elements of the course.
  • Am I permitted to know the student’s disability?
    Students have the right to confidentiality. Information concerning the nature of the student's disability will be kept confidential only if the student chose to disclose their disability.
  • What are the rights and responsibilities of faculty when working with students with disabilities?
    A faculty member has the right to confirm a student’s request for accommodation, and to ask for clarification about a specific accommodation with the DRC. Faculty members do not have the right to refuse to provide an accommodation. Faculty have a responsibility to work with the DRC in providing reasonable accommodations, keep all records and communications with students confidential, and refer a student to the DRC who requests accommodations but is not currently registered. Faculty members do not have to provide accommodations for students who are not registered with the DRC.
  • What do I tell other students regarding the exam accommodations for students with disabilities?
    Since confidentiality is key, it is best not to discuss exam accommodations with other students or in a class setting. Discussing any information regarding a student's disability in the presence of other students can create an uncomfortable situation for the student. Also, confidentiality is a legal concern and a student's right to privacy concerning their disability is protected by Federal Law.
  • How do I know when I am providing “accommodations” or when I am over accommodating and going too far?
    You do not have to change the curriculum of the course or modify assignments when it alters core requirements. A change in testing formats and giving extended test time is not altering the requirement of learning course material, and therefore are reasonable academic accommodations. If you feel uncomfortable with an accommodation request, please feel free to contact the DRC.
  • What if a student with a disability is failing, even with accommodations?
    It is important for instructors to remember that providing accommodations to a student with a disability provides access, but does not guarantee success in the course. Students with disabilities have a right to not master the course material, just like any other student. If a student cannot meet the standards and requirements of your course, then they should be graded appropriately.
  • Am I required to lower the standards of a required assignment because the student has a disability?
    No. The standards should be the same for all students. However, students with disabilities may exhibit their knowledge, production or course expectations differently than their peers. Accommodations are designed to address those differences, but the quality of the end result should be the same.
  • What if a student with a disability is disruptive in class?
    A student with a disability who is disruptive in class should be treated just like any other student who is disruptive in class. If an instructor believes there is a medical reason for a DRC registered student’s behavior, the instructor can discuss this with DRC, to determine if there is a solution to the problem.
  • What if a student notifies the instructor of needed accommodations late in the semester?
    There could be numerous reasons why a student makes a late request. Sometimes students are not able to acquire documentation of a disability until later in the semester. In other instances, a student may try to take a class without accommodations, but find that they are not doing well and need to use them. In either situation, an instructor must remember that accommodations are not retroactive. The DRC encourages instructors to make a good faith effort at fulfilling the accommodation, however, in some instances a late request may make the accommodation impossible to provide.
  • What is a service animal?
    A service animal is an animal that is trained to work or perform active tasks for an individual with a disability. If it is unclear whether an animal is a service animal, anyone can ask following questions: (1) is the service animal required because of a disability? And (2) what work or task the animal has been trained to perform? If you are unsure whether these questions have been answered satisfactorily, allow the person and animal to proceed, and contact the DRC.
  • Statement for course syllabi
    Eastern Michigan University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all university programs, services and activities. Requests for accommodations by persons with disabilities may be made by contacting the Disability Resource Center (DRC), 246 Student Center, 734.487.2470. Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined, you will be issued a letter of accommodation (LOA). Please present your LOA to me at the start of the academic semester or once it has been distributed to you by the DRC.

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