Disability Services

How do I contact the Disability Services and ADA Compliance office?

Disability Services and ADA Compliance can be contacted by phone at 601-979-3704 or fax at 601-979-6918. 

How do I know whether or not an academic accommodation is reasonable?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) stipulates that postsecondary institutions are responsible for providing necessary accommodations when a student discloses a disability. Jackson State University is required to make reasonable adjustments or modifications to practices, policies and procedures, and to provide auxiliary aids and services for students with disabilities, unless to do so would "fundamentally alter" the nature of the programs or result in an "undue burden.” Providing accommodations do not compromise the essential elements of a course or curriculum; nor do they weaken the academic standards or integrity of a course. Accommodations simply provide an alternative way to accomplish the course requirements by eliminating or reducing disability-related barriers. They provide a level playing field, not an unfair advantage.  Staff in the DS office carefully review each student’s documentation and other resource information to determine reasonable accommodations.  The student will provide you with some form of verification from the DS office, such as a Course Accommodation or Exam Reservation form.  This verification will outline appropriate accommodations, indicating the student has followed procedures in obtaining accommodations.  The student may also share with you strategies/instructional techniques or accommodations that have proven effective for her/him in classes.  You can consult with DS staff if her/his requests do not seem reasonable.

 

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.

Some students with disabilities are provided extended time on examinations. Is this fair to other students?

The Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states: “the results of an examination should accurately reflect an individual's aptitude or achievement level or whatever the test purports to measure, rather than reflecting an individual's impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills.”  The courts have held repeatedly that a lengthening of the standard examination period is a fitting accommodation for some students with disabilities.

How do I know a student is qualified to receive disability-related accommodations?

At Jackson State University, a student who wishes to receive disability-related accommodations must register with the Disability Services office.  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. Disability Services and ADA Compliance can be contacted at 601-979-3704. 

Can a faculty member forbid a student with a disability to use a tape recorder in class?

No. An instructor is typically required to allow a student to audio record the course if audio access to the class is determined to be an appropriate accommodation for the student’s disability.  Audio recording is specifically mentioned in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as a means of providing full participation in educational programs and activities.   Occasionally, classroom discussion reveals items of a personal nature about students.  During these times, it would be appropriate to ask the student with a disability to stop recording during these discussions.

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 a note on your course syllabus.

Is it acceptable to ask a student who is having obvious difficulties whether he/she has a disability, or to refer the student to the office that provides disability support services?

No. It is not a good idea to ask directly about a possible disability for a couple of reasons.  First, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that a public entity may not make unnecessary inquiries into the existence of a disability.  These inquiries usually relate to hiring or pre-admission screening, but when talking with students such inquiries should also be avoided.  A direct inquiry such as this could be considered intrusive or insensitive.  You may simply tell the student that you notice he/she is having academic difficulty and encourage him/her to talk with you about gaining assistance, just as you would any other student.

Is the information regarding a student’s disability and his/her need for academic accommodations confidential?

Yes. Privacy of student information, including that regarding students’ disabilities or accommodation needs, should generally be handled according to guidelines of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  Personal information of this nature should only be shared with those people within the institution who have an educational need-to-know.