Aurora University will make reasonable adaptations to address the potential impact of course design and environmental barriers on disabled students' equitable access and participation in the university's curriculum, services, and activities.
Disability Statement for Inclusion in Aurora University Syllabi*
Aurora University values diversity and inclusion and recognizes disability as an aspect of diversity. Our shared goal is to create learning environments that are accessible, equitable, and inclusive. If you anticipate barriers related to the format, requirements, or assessment of this course, you are encouraged first to contact the Disability Resource Office (DRO) in the Center for Teaching & Learning (630-844-5267), then to meet with the instructor to discuss options or adaptations.
*This statement reflects language used in The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University "Diversity and Disability Statement."
Disability and the Law
Disabled individuals have full civil rights protection at the University. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended, prohibit discrimination based on disability, furthermore requiring colleges and universities to make programs and facilities accessible and mandating reasonable course design and environmental adaptations for disabled individuals.* At Aurora University, the student, DRO personnel, and faculty work interactively to address potential course design barriers to student learning, academic achievement, and assessment. Adaptations are intended to eliminate competitive disadvantages in this environment while preserving academic integrity.
*U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, "Disability Discrimination."
Upon admission to the University, students requesting adaptations must self-identify to the Disability Resource Office (DRO). If a request comes to the Office of Admission, staff will notify the applicant of the need to contact the DRO. An applicant's request will in no way impact the admission decision of the University. The student and the DRO staff will review and discuss the student's disability documentation and academic history and together decide which adaptation(s) would best promote access. The DRO staff will then prepare a letter listing the adaptations for the student to distribute electronically to his or her instructors. Additionally, students are encouraged to discuss adaptations with each of their instructors.
Documentation serves two primary purposes:
- It establishes that the individual is entitled to legal protections under the ADA and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; and
- It helps to determine what, if any, course design/environmental adaptations are necessary for the individual's equitable access to courses, programs, services, and activities.
The documentation from the diagnosing practitioner should include the following:
- Determination of a diagnosis, including duration (if applicable);
- A description of the expected impact on the student's learning and equitable access resulting from the interaction between the student's condition and the given environment;
- Recommendations for adaptations to address the impact on the student; and
- Name, address and credentials of the practitioner.
Recency of documentation may be a factor in determining its relevance in decisions about adaptations. If the student does not have sufficient documentation, the DRO will assist the student in locating qualified practitioners who can provide an evaluation. If a diagnosis is not determined, the DRO will discuss with the student other appropriate sources of assistance on campus.
What Is a Reasonable Adaptation?
A reasonable adaptation is any adaptation offered by an instructor, department, academic program, or the University that enables a student to participate equitably in a class and access course materials without fundamentally altering the service being provided. Reasonable adaptations may include, but are not limited to, the following: additional testing time; testing in a distraction-reduced environment; and course materials in an alternate format (e.g., digital textbooks). In considering requested adaptations, the instructor may choose to suggest appropriate alternative adaptations. In the event that the instructor and student are unable to agree on an appropriate adaptation, they are encouraged to contact the DRO. It is ultimately the decision of the instructor whether or not to implement the recommendations of the DRO; however, the instructor shall adhere to the University's policy of non-discrimination and to all applicable laws in making that decision.
Any documentation provided by a student to the Disability Resource Office (DRO) is confidential. The faculty and staff will not have access to these materials unless a student specifically requests, in writing, that an individual be allowed to view these documents or share in this information. In the event that a student were to challenge a determination made by the DRO staff, it would, of course, be necessary for the appropriate University officials to access these materials in order to review the staff's determination.
The student is responsible for requesting adaptations from the Disability Resource Office. It is understood that it may be necessary for any student to devote additional hours to coursework, use a tutor, and/or seek assistance outside of class. All students have a responsibility to fulfill their part by continuing extra help as necessary to succeed in their courses of study. If a student requires specialized services beyond what is typically provided by the University, these services must be paid for by the student.
Any student who desires to challenge the adaptation decisions made in his or her case should follow the procedures outlined below:
Informal Review: The dean of the school or college in which the student is majoring will review the student's complaint and work with the Disability Resource Office to resolve the complaint.
Formal Review: If the informal review process does not resolve the issue, the student may request a formal review. The provost will ask the Faculty Senate to appoint a three-person committee to investigate and make a recommendation for its final decision on the matter.