B.1.c. Americans with Disabilities Act Policy
Table of Contents
II. STUDENT ACCOMODATION PROCEDURES
Middlebury is committed to ensuring equal access to its programs and activities for qualified individuals, including individuals with disabilities. Therefore, Middlebury supports the standards set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended, and similar state laws (hereinafter "applicable law" or "law[s]"), which are designed to eliminate discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. Disabilities may include physical or mental impairments which substantially limit one or more of a person's major life activities, and which necessitate modifications to Middlebury’s facilities, programs, or services. Middlebury is committed to making reasonable accommodations for qualifying students, faculty, and employees with disabilities as required by applicable laws. Middlebury is committed to making the campus and its facilities accessible as required by applicable laws. Middlebury cannot make accommodations that are unreasonable, unduly burdensome or that fundamentally alter the nature of its programs or services.
Middlebury’s Position and Policy are intended to be co-extensive with the requirements of applicable laws; nothing in this policy is intended to provide less substantive benefits or procedural protections than are required by these laws. Likewise, nothing in this policy is intended to provide greater substantive benefits or procedural protections than are required by these laws. Middlebury’s ADA Policy and Procedures may have limited or no applicability to Middlebury’s study abroad or other programs operated outside the United States. However, practical considerations of style and a desire to present information to the Middlebury community in a useful, efficient manner dictate that the precise wording of these laws is not restated verbatim in all provisions of this policy.
Therefore, the specific language of such laws and controlling interpretations thereof are incorporated by reference herein, and in the event of any apparent discrepancy between the language of this policy and such legal authority, Middlebury’s obligations will be determined exclusively by the latter.
Middlebury College is committed to providing equal access to students with disabilities and welcomes applications from students with disabilities. An applicant’s self-identification of disabilities is at the option of the applicant and is not required.
Middlebury has established a process to facilitate the reasonable accommodation of students with disabilities. Middlebury’s ADA Coordinator(s) certify eligibility for accommodation under the ADA for students presenting documented evidence of qualifying disabilities (including qualifying physical disabilities, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, psychological disabilities, medical disabilities, and covered students in drug or alcohol recovery), and reviews and acts upon all student requests for reasonable accommodations based on an individualized assessment of each request. The ADA Coordinator reserves the right to recommend and approve accommodations that differ from the specific approaches suggested by the student, or by individuals documenting the student's disability, so long as the accommodations achieve the objective of program accessibility as required by law.
The ADA Coordinator(s), in consultation with appropriate campus personnel, coordinates and facilitates the implementation of accommodations that have been deemed reasonable and appropriate in light of the nature of a student's disability and in consideration of the individual's academic requirements. Examples include the coordination and administration of ADA-related note-taking, reader, scribe, and interpreter services and ADA equipment services. The ADA Coordinator also serves as a liaison between students, faculty, staff, Facilities Services, the Admissions Office, the Office of Learning Resources, Residential Life, Commons Administration and Deans, Parton Center for Health and Wellness, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of the College, Language School deans, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Schools, program directors, College Advancement, Media Services, and ITS. The ADA Coordinator is the primary intake person and decision-maker for ADA-related issues and may also be able to provide information on ADA-related issues to members of the campus and local community.
Middlebury designates the Civil Rights and Title IX Coordinator to coordinate its efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504, where applicable, generally prohibits discrimination in educational programs and employment, against qualified individuals with disabilities, on the basis of disability. See also Middlebury’s Nondiscrimination Statement.
The Middlebury Institute has separate policies and procedures for qualified students with disabilities who seek reasonable accommodations. Middlebury Institute students seeking accommodations should contact the Institute’s Office of Student Services. The Institute’s ADA policies and procedures are available on the Disability Services webpage.
Faculty, staff, and other Middlebury employees who have ADA related concerns are assisted by Human Resources. For more information regarding the process by which employees can seek accommodations see “Middlebury College Human Resources Procedures: ADA Compliance.”
Middlebury will make its campus programs and events reasonably accessible to individuals with disabilities. Any individual, including visitors to campus, who requires an accommodation should contact the program planner or the events scheduling office at least ten days in advance of the event. Students may also contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC). Middlebury cannot ensure reasonable accommodations on less than 10 days notice.
Middlebury is committed to taking reasonable measures to support the accessibility of its digital resources, including its Information Technology Services (ITS), such as digital hardware, software, and systems for use by students, employees and/or the general public. Students who seek an accommodation based on a disability regarding access to ITS should contact DRC. Other individuals should contact Information Technology Services.
Middlebury offices conducting core academic and business activities are strongly encouraged to align web content with the guidelines of the most current version of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA (WCAG 2.0 AA)
Middlebury has adopted the following two-stage process for making reasonable accommodations to promote the accessibility of its courses, programs, goods, services, facilities, privileges, and advantages for students with qualifying disabilities:
a. Students are asked to complete an Accommodation Request Form on the the DRC website. The form requires, among other things:
i. a description of the disability, including the manner in which the disability limits major life activities relevant to a student's participation in Middlebury's programs;
ii. a description of the specific accommodations requested.
b. The form must be accompanied by documentation from an objective professional qualified to diagnose the student’s disability. Documentation should confirm the diagnosis and verify the manner in which the disability limits major life activities relevant to a student's participation in Middlebury's programs (see Section D: Documentation).
c. The Accommodation Request Form and required documentation should be submitted to Disbility Resource Center immediately in order to facilitate the completion of the accommodation process in as timely a manner.
d. An ADA Coordinator reviews the request for accommodation, and the accompanying documentation and will make one of the following determinations:
i. certifies the student as a person with a disability under the ADA; or
ii. finds that there is insufficient evidence to certify the student's eligibility, and
(a) denies the student's request for certification and informs the student of the available channels of appeal; or
(b) requests additional information.
Once a student has been certified as a person with a disability, the ADA Coordinator:
a. reviews the student's request for accommodation(s);
b. engages in the interactive process with the student, and other appropriate members of the Middlebury community as applicable;
c. approves, denies, or offers an alternative accommodation;
d. the student may appeal the decision of an ADA Coordinator regarding certification and/or accommodation(s) through the Appeals Process described in Section E of this document.
Students are expected to identify their need for accommodation(s) and suggest possible accommodations to meet their needs. It is the student's responsibility to initiate the certification process described above by submitting the Accommodation Request Form and all required documentation in a timely manner.
A student who has received disability certification must work cooperatively with designated staff and faculty to determine and sustain reasonable and appropriate academic accommodations. Once a written accommodation letter has been issued to the student, the student is responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure that the approved plan is meeting their needs. Students are therefore responsible for: (1) communicating their approved accommodations with faculty; (2) keeping appointments with faculty and designated staff to avoid delays in implementation; and (3) conferring with faculty and DRC regularly regarding the effectiveness of accommodations.
If a student perceives a need for additional accommodations or for the modification of existing accommodations, the student must request, in writing, a revision of the accommodation letter. Such requests should be addressed to an ADA Coordinator.
Providing proper accommodations requires timely student input. Immediate accommodations may be impossible to facilitate. Students who have received disability certification are encouraged to contact their professors at the beginning of the semester to make arrangements for the academic accommodations for which they have been approved. Such arrangements should be made at least 5 business days in advance of when the requested accommodation will be needed. It may not be possible to arrange accommodations requested on shorter notice.
The ADA requires that:
- all otherwise qualified students are provided with equal access to courses, programs, goods, services, facilities, privileges and advantages and;
- the impact of the disability on the student's learning and/or academic performance is mitigated without fundamentally altering the nature of the courses, programs, goods, services, facilities, privileges, and advantages.
Accommodations may involve modifications of the ways in which material is presented or learning is evaluated; for examples of accommodations, please visit the DRC website. However, accommodations which fundamentally alter the nature of the courses, programs, goods, services, facilities, privileges, and advantages shall not be required of Middlebury faculty.
Faculty are encouraged to communicate with DRC regarding any concerns they may have about an accommodation. DRC shall communicate with faculty within the limitations of privacy laws. The fact, nature, and/or extent of a disability which has been certified by DRC is not subject to challenge by faculty, nor may faculty review the underlying documentation of a disability without written consent of the student. DRC may provide faculty with information about the impact of the disability where necessary to implement the accommodations. If the faculty member disagrees with an approved accommodation, the faculty member may file an appeal pursuant to Section E below.
Faculty also have the right to receive a status report of a student’s accommodation request and clarification of the accommodations approved by DRC. Also, they may suggest alternative accommodations they think more appropriate in light of the nature of the course or program. Alternative accommodations must be as appropriate and as effective in mitigating the effects of a disability as those initially approved by DRC. Any alternative accommodations must be approved by DRC before implemented in the course. Faculty are, in turn, encouraged in appropriate situations to share with DRC information about the course and/or program, so that DRC is better able to consider appropriate accommodations. A cooperative effort should meet the needs of the student to the extent appropriate without fundamentally altering the nature of the academic course and/or program to maintain compliance with applicable law.
Accommodations should be implemented as soon as reasonably possible after the faculty member has received the letter of accommodation in writing from DRC. If no further consultation occurs between a faculty member and DRC, it is presumed that the accommodations will be provided as delineated in the letter of accommodation. Undue delays in the implementation of accommodations should be avoided, as they may undermine a student’s ability to fairly access the content of courses, programs, goods, services, facilities, privileges, and advantages.
If a student approaches a faculty member directly to request an accommodation related to a physical or mental impairment, the faculty member is expected to direct the student to DRC. A faculty member is not individually authorized to agree to provide a student with a requested accommodation.
Middlebury requires appropriately current documentation of any or all disabilities for which accommodation is requested, provided at the expense of the student requesting accommodation, prior to determining what services and accommodations may be undertaken for students with qualifying disabilities. Documentation of disability will be kept confidential. Since insufficient information may jeopardize the accommodations process, Middlebury reserves the right to request additional documentation considered necessary to make a determination of reasonable and appropriate accommodations. The cost of obtaining any such additional documentation shall be the student's responsibility. Middlebury also reserves the right to request an independent evaluation by a professional of its choosing. The cost of obtaining any such independent evaluation shall be Middlebury’s responsibility. Documentation supplied as part of the process of applying to Middlebury is not part of the student's permanent educational record.
Generally, documentation verifying the disability must:
1. be prepared by an objective professional qualified in the diagnoses of such conditions;
2. include information regarding the testing procedures followed, the instruments used to assess the disability, the test results, and a written interpretation of these results as they pertain to an educational environment and/or participation in the Middlebury's programs;
3. reflect the individual's present level of functioning in the areas related to the particular accommodations being sought;
4. be appropriately recent.
The ADA Coordinator determines whether the documentation submitted is adequate to certify the student as a person with a disability under the ADA, supports the requested accommodation, and whether the individual preparing the documentation is qualified to make the diagnosis at issue.
Where a student seeks accommodation for a learning disability, the student must provide professional testing and evaluation results that reflect the student's present level of processing information and present achievement level, based on comparison to the general public.
The four criteria necessary to establish a student's eligibility for learning disability adjustments or accommodations are: (1) average or above average intelligence as measured by a standardized intelligence test which includes assessment of verbal and nonverbal abilities; (2) the presence of cognitive-achievement discrepancy or an inter-cognitive discrepancy indicated by a score on a standardized test of achievement which is 1.5 standard deviations or more below the level corresponding to a student's sub-scale or full-scale IQ; (3) the presence of disorders in cognitive or sensory processing such as those related to memory, language, or attention; and (4) an absence of other primary factors leading to achievement below expectations such as visual or auditory disabilities, emotional or behavior disorders, a lack of opportunity to learn due to cultural or socio-economic circumstances, or deficiencies in intellectual ability.
Documentation verifying the learning disability must:
1. be prepared by an objective professional qualified to diagnose a learning disability, including but not limited to a licensed physician, learning disability specialist, or psychologist;
2. include the testing procedures followed, the instruments used to assess the disability, the test results, and a written interpretation of the test results by the professional;
3. reflect the individual's present level of functioning in the achievement areas of: reading comprehension, reading rate, written expression, writing mechanics and vocabulary, writing, grammar, and spelling; and
4. reflect the individual's present level of functioning in the areas of intelligence and processing skills; and
5. be appropriately recent.
The assessment must provide data that supports the requests for any academic adjustment. In the event that a student requests an academic adjustment or accommodation that is not supported by the data in the assessment, or if the initial verification is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability, then it is incumbent on the student to obtain supplemental testing or assessment at the student's expense.
If Middlebury requires an additional assessment for purposes of obtaining a second professional opinion, then Middlebury shall be responsible for any cost not covered by any third party payer.
The President of Middlebury appoints an ADA Appellate Officer who decides appeals of ADA decisions when students, faculty, or staff cannot resolve the dispute. Currently, the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty serves as the Appellate Officer. The Appellate Officer shall be recused where a conflict of interest exists or when the Appellate Officer otherwise has reason not to review a particular case. The Appellate Officer shall appoint a substitute in such cases.
A student or faculty member may appeal any written decision of the ADA Coordinator to the Appellate Officer. All appeals shall be submitted in writing to the Appellate Officer within five business days after the student or faculty member receives written notification of the challenged decision. A copy of the appeal shall also be submitted to DRC. DRC shall provide any additional documents or information requested by the Appellate Officer in writing. All parties are encouraged to submit a complete statement, together with evidence and/or arguments that support their position.
In reaching a decision, the Appellate Officer may, at their discretion, rely solely on information supplied by the parties. Meetings shall be conducted only at the discretion of the Appellate Officer, and the nature of any such meetings shall be at the discretion of the Appellate Officer.
All appeals shall be decided as soon as possible, but generally in a time period not to exceed five days from the Appellate Officer's receipt of all information from the parties, and the completion of meetings. The Appellate Officer may extend this time period, if necessary.
An ADA Coordinator may, at their discretion, provide temporary accommodations, pending an appeal. The Appellate Officer does not grant temporary accommodations. The Appellate Officer shall notify the parties in writing of the appeal decision.
The Appellate Officer may: (1) remand the decision to the ADA Coordinator for reconsideration with or without recommendations (the ADA Coordinator will usually, absent extenuating circumstances, issue a decision on reconsideration within five days), (2) grant the requested relief of the appellant, including ADA certification and/or accommodations; (3) appoint another ADA Coordinator to review the matter and issue a decision, which will ordinarily occur when the original outcome was based on an abuse of discretion or (4) uphold the ADA Coordinator’s decision.
The decision made by the Appellate Officer to grant or deny the appeal is final. If the Appellate Officer grants the appeal and remands the matter to an ADA Coordinator for reconsideration or appoints another ADA Coordinator to decide the matter the decision of the ADA Coordinator in either of those circumstances is final and there is no further right of appeal.
The time periods stated herein for action on the part of the ADA Coordinator and Appellate Officer are advisory rather than mandatory, and these officials may extend the deadlines as necessary.
In addition to the above-stated appeals process regarding certification and/or accommodations decisions, students who feel that they have been harassed or discriminated against on the basis of their disability, in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the ADA, or other applicable law, are encouraged to file a complaint under Middlebury’s Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy (“AH/D Policy”). Complaints should be directed to a Human Relations Officer and will be handled in accordance with the procedures set forth in the AH/D policy.
Records pertaining to a student are disposed of seven (7) years after the student's graduation or seven years from the student's last contact with the DRC after leaving Middlebury. Students may stipulate that information may not be discussed with their parents without the student's written release.
Academic accommodations are intended to preserve essential academic program requirements while minimizing the effect of a certified disability upon a student's performance. For examples, please visit the DRC website online. These examples are not intended to be exhaustive, or appropriate in all cases; each student's needs are individually assessed on a case-by-case basis.
The ADA Coordinator works in collaboration with appropriate staff to arrange for reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities living in the residence halls. Live-in professional staff may be notified in advance of students with disabilities for whom residential accommodations have been approved. Middlebury encourages regular communication between students with disabilities and appropriate staff. It is the responsibility of the student to consult with Middlebury staff if there is a need to revise or modify the measures taken to accommodate the student's needs. Students who require quiet floor housing may request such accommodations through the DRC.
Students requesting a single room as an accommodation are advised that such requests will be determined on an individual case by case basis. Requests should be submitted in a timely manner prior to room draw and be supported by documentation which recommends a single room and explains why a single room is needed as an accommodation given the specific nature of the student's disability. An ADA Coordinator will work in conjunction with appropriate staff to determine room assignments for eligible students.
Assignments are made on the basis of availability of space and the level of need. In order to maximize Middlebury’s ability to grant such requests, notification for undergraduate students is requested by March 1st for the following academic year. Students who plan attend other Middlebury programs should notify the DRC of their need for housing accommodations upon enrollment. Requests made after this date may be more difficult to fulfill. The ADA Coordinator reserves the right to suggest alternative accommodations where appropriate to satisfy the request.
Students requesting an air conditioner as an accommodation are advised that such requests should be made in accordance with the guidelines established in Middlebury’s Thermal Comfort Policy.
Students are expected to play a substantial role in specifying their needs and following through on arrangements for accommodations. It must be understood that arrangements for equipment, housing assignments, and other accommodations require advance notice.
To initiate the process for dining related accommodations, students must fill out an Accommodation Request Form (ARF) online or contact the DRC to obtain an alternative format of the form. The information that students provide regarding any need for accommodation(s) will be shared only with those individuals involved in the coordination and facilitation of services and accommodations that are required to make Middlebury’s programs accessible.
At the discretion of the ADA Coordinator, a student may be denied or granted provisional services pending submission of documentation and official certification. Absent extenuating circumstances such services will not be provided for more than one semester. The nature of provisional services will be determined at the discretion of the ADA Coordinator. Provisional services do not grant a student the status or rights of a student with a qualifying or certified disability, and it must be understood by students that a short-term grant of provisional services does not guarantee the continuation of such services or affect the ADA Coordinator’s decision as to whether requested or provisional services are reasonable accommodations.
In keeping with Middlebury’s commitment to supporting students, the Center for Disability Resources (DRC) may be able to arrange limited assistance for temporarily impaired students at the discretion of the DRC and other Middlebury offices or programs. It must be understood that the DRC voluntarily providing or arranging such help does not mean the temporarily injured or impaired students qualify as individuals with a disability under the law or this policy. If you have questions about what assistance Middlebury may be able to provide in the event of a temporary impairment, contact the DRC.
Updated on September 9, 2019.