Resources for Students with Disabilities
Beginning an undergraduate or graduate career is an exciting and challenging experience. If you are a student with a disability, this experience can be especially challenging. Resources are available to students with disabilities through the Office of Disability Services to enable them to have equal access to Pace University’s educational programs and facilities.
The same rigorous admission and academic standards apply to students with and without a disability. In order to support the continued success of students with disabilities, the University prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and is committed to providing equal access for students with disabilities to its facilities, programs, and activities. The University’s commitment to equal educational opportunities for students with disabilities includes providing reasonable accommodations for the needs of students with disabilities.
Disabilities and Accommodations
Federal law, including the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, both as amended, as well as state and local laws prohibit institutions of higher education from discriminating against students with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act defines an individual with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities of the individual, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment.
Students with, among others, hearing, visual, or mobility impairments, or psychological conditions may be eligible for a reasonable accommodation. More specific examples of impairments include such things as specific learning disabilities, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, traumatic brain injuries, bipolar disorder, vision and hearing loss, cerebral palsy, paraplegia, and certain chronic health conditions.
Major life activities include, but are limited to, activities such as seeing, hearing, learning, reading, concentrating, communicating, standing, walking, eating, sleeping, speaking, caring for oneself, thinking, and the operation of a major bodily function.
Each student diagnosed with a particular disability will have a different level of functioning even within the same disability category. Further, compensation skills will also vary from one student to another and in the same student over time. Therefore, accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis according to a student’s documented needs, guidelines suggested by federal and state law, and criteria developed by the University.
Identifying and implementing a reasonable accommodation for a student with a disability is an interactive process that includes shared responsibility between the University and the student. Accommodations include, for example, academic adjustments or modifications, auxiliary aids and services, and adjustments to make the campus, residential housing and transportation accessible. Academic adjustments include such things as extended time to complete examinations, a distraction-reduced testing environment, permission to record classes, and course substitutions. Examples of auxiliary aids and services are note-taking services, readers and/or scribes for examinations, sign language interpreters, and caption services.
The University is required to provide a reasonable accommodation; it is not required to provide the specific accommodation requested by the student. In providing accommodations, the University is not required to lower or effect substantial modifications to essential requirements or to make modifications that would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program or activity. Thus, for example, although the University may be required to provide extended time within which to complete a test, it is not required to change the substantive content of the test. Personal attendants, individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study, wheelchairs, hearing aids, and other devices or services of a personal nature are the responsibility of the student, not the University. Finally, the University is not required to make adjustments or provide auxiliary aids or services that would result in an undue burden on the University.
Funding for auxiliary aids and services may be available from certain state agencies such as, for example, the New York State Adult Career and Continuing Education Services -Vocational Rehabilitation. For those auxiliary aids and services that are likely to be funded by a state agency, the University may require the student to apply to the agency for funding. The University may provide assistance with the application for funding.
Request for an Accommodation
To request an accommodation for a qualifying disability, a student must self-identify and register with the Office of Disability Services for his or her campus. The Office of Disability Services is housed in the Counseling Center on both the New York City and Pleasantville campuses. The Coordinator of Disability Services for the New York City campus may be contacted at 212-346-1526 or 156 William Street, 8th Floor. The Coordinator of Disability Services for the Westchester campuses may be contacted at 914-773-3710 or the Administration Center at 861 Bedford Road, Pleasantville. Notifying other University offices, faculty or staff does not constitute giving notice to the University of a request for an accommodation. No one, including faculty, is authorized to evaluate the need and arrange for an accommodation except the Coordinator of Disability Services. Moreover, no one, including faculty, is authorized to contact the Coordinator of Disability Services on behalf of a student.
It is the student’s responsibility to request an accommodation. Because some accommodations may take considerable time to arrange, students are urged to contact the Coordinator of Disability Services in order to request an accommodation as soon as possible after receiving notice of admission to the University. Untimely requests may result in delay, substitution, or an inability to provide an accommodation. If a request for an accommodation is submitted late, the Coordinator of Disability Services will, nevertheless, make every reasonable effort to process the request for an accommodation. Accommodations cannot be implemented retroactively, they are implemented only prospectively.
Before an accommodation will be provided, the student may be required to submit medical and/or other diagnostic information concerning the student’s impairments and limitations. If the information provided is unclear or incomplete, the student may be required to provide additionalinformation or participate in further evaluations.
The Coordinator of Disability Services will, in conjunction with others as may be appropriate, evaluate the information provided by the student and health care providers; refer the student for additional testing and evaluation as may be necessary; make recommendations for the accommodations to be provided to the student; and, assist in arranging for the implementation of the accommodation to be provided.
If a student experiences difficulties with the implementation of the accommodation or, if after it has been implemented, a student has concerns that the expected results of the accommodation are not being met, the student must promptly notify the Coordinator of Disability Services. The Coordinator of Disability Services will, as may be appropriate, endeavor to remedy the situation.
If a student disagrees with the accommodation recommended by the Coordinator of Disability Services, he or she should promptly appeal the recommendation to the Interim Director for Compliance at 914-923-2892.
Faculty members who have concerns about a reasonable accommodation recommended by the Coordinator for Disability Services for his or her class, should contact the Coordinator on the appropriate campus.
Depending on the nature of the disability and the accommodation provided, a student may be required periodically to submit medical and/or diagnostic information demonstrating the current status of the disability and/or to renew the request for an accommodation.
Any questions about the services offered by the University to students with disabilities or the procedures for requesting an accommodation should be directed to the Coordinator of Disability Services for the New York City campus at 212-346-1526 or for the Westchester campuses at 914-773-3710.
The information and documents provided to the University in support of a student’s request for an accommodation shall be maintained as confidential. Individually identifiable information will not be disclosed except as may be required or permitted by law or pursuant to a release signed by the student.
Complaints of Disability Discrimination
If a student has concerns that he or she has been discriminated against because of a disability, he or she should contact the University’s Affirmative Action Officer at 212-346-1310 or 914-773-3856.
Additional Services Offered by the Counseling Center
The Counseling Centers for the New York City and Westchester campuses offer a full range of personal counseling and group services to all students of the University. Students who wish to obtain information about the services offered by the Counseling Centers or to schedule an appointment, should call 212-346-1526 for the Counseling Center for the New York City campus or 914-773-3710 for the Westchester campuses.
Revised January 13, 2014