ADA Compliance Policies
Bay Atlantic University is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors with disabilities. Consequently, we work to ensure that students, employees and visitors with disabilities have equal access to university programs, facilities, technology and web properties.
The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, age, disability or veteran status in any student program or activity, or with regard to admission or employment. BAU works to ensure that students, employees and visitors with disabilities have equal access to university programs, facilities, technology and web properties.
What is ADA Compliance?
The Americans with Disabilities Act, its amendments, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act mandate an equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities. In compliance with these laws, the Student Services Office coordinates continuing efforts to make the campus and infrastructure accessible and to make BAU programs available to everyone. The Career Counselor and Student Life Coordinator is also the ADA Compliance Officer overseeing the coordination of reasonable accommodations for students and employees with disabilities, and serves as the central point of contact for information on physical and programmatic access at the University. The ADA Compliance Officer is available to address questions and concerns related to any accommodation issue from employees, managers, HR professionals and faculty members, and can also provide training on a variety of disability-related topics.
How is disability defined?
Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, a person is considered to have a disability if (1) he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (such as hearing, seeing, speaking, breathing, performing manual tasks, walking, caring for oneself, learning, or concentrating); (2) has a record of having such an impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment class.
In order to receive accommodations, an individual must have a mental or physical condition that substantially limits a major life activity. Types of disabilities include (but are not limited to): Blind or Low Vision, Chronic Health Conditions, Cognitive Disabilities (ADD, LD), Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Physical Disabilities, and Psychological Disabilities.
What is an Accommodation?
A reasonable accommodation is a modification or change in the academic atmosphere, workplace, or the way things are customarily done that provides an equal opportunity to a student or employee with a disability. Examples of reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to: acquiring or modifying adaptive equipment, extended time for test-taking, modified schedules, providing note-takers or interpreters, removing readily achievable physical barriers, and providing paid or unpaid leave.
General Documentation Guidelines
BAU acknowledges that once a person is diagnosed as having a disability the disability may be life-long. While the disability may continue, the severity of the condition and/or how it impacts an individual in different settings may change over time. The purpose for requesting documentation is to consider each person individually and to understand if and how the individual is currently impacted by their disability in a higher education or work environment. This information is necessary to make an informed decision about the need for accommodations and services and help identify effective options.
In order to determine if a specific accommodation(s) is reasonable and appropriate, the following factors will be considered:
- Disability (Disability Definition Form must be filled by a clinician)
- Accommodation history
- Personal self-reported statement
- Observations and Interactions with ADA Compliance Officer
- Previous accommodations received
- Accommodations being requested
- Unique characteristics of course and/or employment
- Any other documentation provided
Accommodation decisions typically are not made until, at a minimum, some written documentation is provided, and an interview has been conducted.
Documentation from External Sources
Appropriate disability accommodations are determined based on documentation which may include records of receiving accommodations at past educational institutions and reports, assessments, and letters from clinicians and/or psychologists. Documentation of accommodations previously approved for standardized tests is helpful supplementary documentation but no sufficient by itself. Medical records should not be submitted as they may contain information that is not needed.
A 504 Plan, Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Summary of Performance (SOP) can be submitted as documentation so long as the information provided indicates the functional limitations of the condition and helps to identify a connection between the disability and the appropriate accommodation(s) being requested.
The following documentation is requested:
For All Disabilities (except for Cognitive Disabilities):
A completed Disability Documentation Form or type written/signed letter from an appropriate professional is needed. The letter should include:
- History of the disability
- Description of the current impact and functional limitations as it relates to:
- Students: Meeting the various demands of higher education and residential living (academically, socially, emotionally, physically, etc.)
- Employees: The limitations caused by the condition and how those limitations impact the employee’s performance of the essential functions of the job (please refer to the position description)
- Expected progression or stability; anticipated return to work date (if applicable)
- Recommendations for accommodations or services
- Any relevant implications of existing co-morbid conditions
- Additional observations and/or recommendations
For Cognitive Disabilities (Learning Disabilities, conditions or incidents impacting the brain, Attention Deficit Disorder, Asperger’s and other Pervasive Developmental Disorders):
- A comprehensive neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluation that includes aptitude and achievement (preferably one with measures normed for an adult) in order to determine current functional impact and to support accommodation requests
- Rating scales and objective measure of attention (for ADD)
- Standardized scales of symptoms related to Autism (Asperger’s and PDD)
- Language learning related scales and interpretation (if student is requesting accommodations related to second language learning)
- Conclusions and recommendations
- Report should not have redacted content
In addition to the documentation you provide, you are also encouraged to send a letter from any institution you previously attended that includes the timeframe in which you were provided services and the accommodations used.
Accommodation needs can potentially change over time and updated information should be submitted so the most effective services and accommodations can be provided. Updates at reasonable intervals may be requested when needs are not considered ongoing.
Student Services also reserves the right to request additional documentation in order to support specific accommodations. If additional information is needed or it will take some time to obtain documentation, Student Services may determine that it is appropriate to provide provisional accommodations in the interim. Provisional accommodations will be determined based on the information that has been provided and are typically limited to the current term for students.
These guidelines are provided so that Student Services can respond appropriately to the individual needs of the student. Student Services reserves the right to determine eligibility for services based on adherence to these guidelines and established policies and procedures.
Information for Faculty
The Center for Teaching and Learning is available to come to any department meeting to do presentations on working with students with disabilities. For more information or to schedule a session for your department, please contact the program chair.
Requests for Housing Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities may be eligible for accommodations in the University’s student housing if they formally request them and provide appropriate supporting documentation. To be eligible for the former, students must meet the deadlines for applying for housing accommodations and follow all policies related to the housing selection process. Late requests for accommodations may be submitted. Such requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis and every effort will be made to grant them.
Registration with Student Services
1. All students seeking housing accommodations must contact the Director of Student Services to arrange an in-person meeting (if possible) or a telephone conversation to discuss the nature of the student’s need and the preferred manner for accommodation.
2. Students must then register with the Office of Student Services indicating which specific accommodations they are interested in receiving, and upload documentation that meets the Documentation Guidelines.
Students should make every effort to be fully registered with the Office of Student Services no later than May 15th for the receipt of student housing accommodations during Fall Semester.
Student Housing Accommodations
1. The Director of Student Services reviews the accommodation request to determine whether the documentation meets the University’s Guidelines.
a. If the student’s documentation meets the Guidelines, the Director contacts the Student Housing Coordinator to begin a discussion about the nature of the accommodation that can be provided.
b. If it does not meet the Guidelines, the Director contacts the student with information on where the deficiencies lie and an invitation to submit updated documentation as soon as possible and no later than June 13th (i.e. two days prior to the start of the Fall housing assignment process). The Director also contacts the Student Housing Coordinator to make him/her aware of the situation. NOTE: For certain complicated accommodations requests (e.g. Personal Care Attendants, Service Animals, etc.), the University’s ADA Compliance Officer is also contacted for expert opinion on how the request should be handled.
2. When the Director of Student Services and the Student Housing Coordinator discuss potential accommodations, the former communicates: (1) the nature of the student’s disability and its functional impact, (2) what type of accommodation was recommended within the documentation, (3) what type of accommodation the student has requested, and (4) what type of accommodations appear reasonable. The latter shares information on: (1) what types of accommodation are possible given current conditions, resources, and limitations within the residence halls, and (2) what has been done in the past for students with disabilities similar to the one under discussion.
3. As a function of the discussion, a final decision is made regarding: (a) whether a reasonable accommodation is possible and/or available, and (b) how to implement it.
4. If any form of accommodation is authorized (i.e. either exactly what the student requested or a reasonable alternative to it), the Student Housing Coordinator notifies the student of the accommodations decision via e-mail and invites him or her to a telephone conversation to discuss its implementation.
5. If no form of accommodation is authorized (i.e. the accommodation request is denied), the Director of Student Services notifies the student of the decision via e-mail and invites him or her to a telephone conversation to discuss the reasons for the denial.
Student Housing Deadlines
Deadline for registration with Student Services in the interest of student housing accommodations, including the submission of valid, comprehensive documentation, are as follows:
- Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors seeking accommodations during Fall Semester: February 7th
- Incoming freshmen and transfer students seeking accommodations during Fall Semester: May 15th
- Students making new housing accommodations requests for Spring Semester who weren’t residing on campus during Fall Semester (e.g. Transfer students, Students returning from Leave of Absence) must do so no later than November 15th.
Students who were authorized for accommodations during any Fall Semester are guaranteed the same accommodations during their subsequent Spring Semester without having to make an additional request for the accommodation.
Rising sophomores who were authorized for accommodations during previous academic years must formally re-request their accommodations before every Fall Semester, meeting the February 7 deadline listed above. These students will receive a letter from the Student Housing Coordinator in late January, reminding them of the need to make their request. Note: Students seeking continued accommodation need not re-submit documentation of their disability unless previously informed of the need to do so.
Steps for entry of Emotional Support Animals in Student Housing
1. Student’s registration with Student Services, including submission of valid documentation supporting the request for the accommodation.
2. Authorization of the accommodation by the Director of Student Services.
3. Initial meeting with Student Housing Coordinator to discuss responsibilities related to owning a support animal in the residence halls. Guidelines are reviewed and student provides signature
on Guidelines. Entry date for animal is discussed and estimated.
4. Submission of animal’s required paperwork to Housing (prior to animal’s entry)
a. Proof that animal meets all vaccination requirements (i.e. standard vaccination record from vet)
b. Documentation from a licensed veterinarian that the animal is in good health (i.e. brief letter from vet).
c. Contact information for an alternative caregiver for the animal in case of an emergency (e.g. a hospitalization)
d. Recent digital picture of animal.
5. Confirmation from Student Housing Coordinator that all paperwork is in order.
6. Dissemination of information on animal to staff members on campus.
Appeals of Accommodation Decisions
If the student is dissatisfied with the nature of the accommodations s/he has been offered or displeased with having been denied any sort of accommodation, the student is offered the opportunity to speak with the University’s ADA Compliance Officer.
- If the student expresses interest in doing so, the Director of Student Services contacts her immediately to apprise her of the situation and to forward her the student’s documentation.
- He also contacts the Student Housing Coordinator, as appropriate, so they can provide the Officer all the information they possess on the situation.
- The Officer decides whether an accommodation (or a different accommodation) is due, whether additional documentation is required, etc. and informs all parties.
Documentation Guidelines for Students Requesting Housing Accommodations
Students with disabilities who need specific accommodations or modifications to their student housing agreement due to their diagnosed disability or medical condition will need to submit additional documentation that specifically addresses this requested accommodation.
Accommodations are made on a needs-based and space availability basis. The required documentation needs to be submitted directly to Director of Student Services.
1. Students are required to submit Disability Documentation Form.
2. If submitted documentation does not provide sufficient supporting information for a housing, an additional letter from a medical professional may be required that includes information the following:
a. A current diagnosis, a history this is the basis for the request and a documented prognosis.
b. Description of the current impact as it relates to meeting the various demands of a living and learning environment.
c. Expected progression or stability
d. Functional living skills (ADL’s)
e. Notation of any required medical equipment
f. Notation of medications, potential impact and side effects g. Implications of existing co-morbid conditions
g. Student has current, substantial disability-based limitations that relate to the student housing environment.
h. What is the current impact on the student’s functioning if they do not have the requested accommodations?
i. Student’s current treatment, medication, and/or other mitigating measures used or recommended by the provider as they relate to the disability and housing needs.
j. A complete description of the desired accommodation or modification and discussion of why this is necessary (including why the student’s needs cannot be met without this accommodation or modification and the consequences of not receiving it)
k. Is the impact of the condition life threatening if not met?
l. Is there a negative health impact if the request is not met?
m. Is the request an integral component of a treatment plan for the condition in question?
n. Are there possible alternatives?