The same rigorous standards for admission 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 ensuring 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 of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 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, visual, hearing and mobility impairments, psychological disorders (including, but not limited to, specific learning disabilities, organic brain syndrome, attention deficient disorder, emotional or mental illness), and chronic health disorders such as diabetes, heart disease, and HIV infection (whether asymptomatic or symptomatic) may be disabled and therefore eligible for a reasonable accommodation. 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 adjustments to make the campus, residential housing, transportation and parking accessible, academic adjustments or modifications, and auxiliary aids and services. Examples of academic adjustments that may be made available to eligible students include priority registration, substitution of one course for another, a leave of absence, and extended time to complete an assignment or test. Auxiliary aids and services that may be provided to eligible students include, for example, note takers, recording devices, sign language interpreters, and computers equipped with voice recognition or other adaptive software.
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 modifications 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 Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disability. 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 Disability Services Office for his or her campus. The Office of Disability Services is housed in the Counseling Center on the New York City and Pleasantville campuses. The Coordinator of Disability Services for the New York City campus, Ms. Jenna Cler, may be contacted at (212) 346–1526 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org The Coordinator of Disability Services for the Westchester campuses, Ms. Elisse M. Geberth, may be contacted at (914) 773–3710 or by email, email@example.com 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.
Before an accommodation will be provided, the student may be required to submit medical and/or other diagnostic information concerning the student’s disability and limitations. If the information provided is unclear or incomplete, the student may be required to provide additional information or participate in further evaluations. In addition, the University may, at its expense, arrange for its own evaluation of the disability and needs of a student.
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 Vice President for Student Affairs, who may be contacted at (212) 346-1228 and (914) 773-3705.
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 at (212) 346–1526 or (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 University’s Counseling Center offers psychological services to all students. To make an appointment, call the Counseling Center at (212) 346–1526 or (914) 773–3710.
Revised: June 23, 2009