Policies and Procedures Concerning Disability Services

Disability Services Policy

St. John Fisher College is committed to assisting students with documented disabilities who are otherwise qualified for admission to the College, in compliance with Section 504 of the 1973 Federal Rehabilitation Act and Title III of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Students with documented disabilities (physical, learning, and/or psychological) who may need academic accommodations are advised to refer to the disability services information on the Academic Affairs Disability Services website. For additional information, students may call or make an appointment with the Coordinator of Disability Services in the Office of Academic Affairs, Kearney 202, (585) 385-8034.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Requests for accommodations must be made in a timely manner, be supported by appropriate documentation/diagnosis, and be determined reasonable by St. John Fisher College. Students with disabilities must meet the standard academic requirements to be considered for admission and must also attain the same competencies in all courses as all other students. The objective is to accommodate the functional limitations of the student’s disability while maintaining the integrity of the College’s courses and programs. Disability information provided to the College is shared only with College personnel who work together in a cooperative effort to provide reasonable accommodations to students with documented disabilities. Final determination for providing reasonable accommodations rests with St. John Fisher College, based on the relevant documentation/diagnosis information submitted by the student. Academic accommodations at the graduate level vary by academic program.

In the event that a student wishes to appeal a College decision in response to a request for a reasonable accommodation, the student must submit a written appeal to the Office of Academic Affairs indicating the basis for the appeal within 20 calendar days of notification of the initial decision. The appeal will be forwarded to the appropriate College officer (the appropriate school dean for academic-related requests; the dean of students for non-academic-related requests). The Office of Academic Affairs will forward to the College officer receiving the appeal all documentation and related information submitted to the College in support of the request. The officer hearing the appeal may request additional information from the student, as well as seek expert opinion from sources outside the College. The student must cooperate if the opinion of an additional expert is sought. The officer hearing the appeal will meet with the student to discuss the request and may interview other individuals who have information relevant to the request. After reviewing the documentation and meeting with the student, the officer hearing the appeal may modify or sustain the original decision regarding the request for accommodation. The decision regarding the appeal will be made within 30 calendar days of receipt of the appeal.

Additional information about the College’s policy and procedures for compliance with Section 504 of the 1973 Federal Rehabilitation Act and Title III of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can be obtained from the Office of Academic Affairs in Kearney Hall.

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Documentation of Disability Policy

St. John Fisher College is committed to assisting students with documented disabilities who are otherwise qualified for admission to the College, in compliance with Section 504 of the 1973 Federal Rehabilitation Act and Title III of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (ADAAA).

Students requesting accommodations must submit appropriate written documentation to the Office of Academic Affairs. Disability information provided to the College is shared only with College personnel who work together in a cooperative effort to provide reasonable accommodations to students with documented disabilities. Final determination for providing reasonable accommodations rests with St. John Fisher College based on the relevant documentation/diagnosis information submitted by the student. Appeals of decisions made with respect to requests for reasonable accommodations must be submitted in writing to the Office of Academic Affairs.

Any documentation provided is not part of the student’s academic record. Educational documentation will remain in the Office of Academic Affairs and medical documentation will remain in the Health & Wellness Center for a minimum of seven years, after which it will be destroyed.

Our General Disability Documentation Guidelines section provides students, schools and professional diagnosticians with a common understanding of the components of documentation that are necessary to validate the existence of a disability, the impact on the individual's educational performance, and the need for accommodations.

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Attendance Requirements Policy

Students with and without disabilities are expected to attend all course-related activities. The attendance policy for each course is outlined on the course syllabus. Absences, for any reason, do not relieve the student from responsibility for completing the essential requirements of a course.

Attendance "flexibility" may sometimes be appropriate for students with health-related disabilities that occur episodically or for students with mobility impairments that are impacted by weather. Flexibility does not mean that attendance policies do not apply. Rather, it requires the instructor to consider the function of attendance for a particular class and to make a reasoned decision for the requirement. For some classes (primarily lecture based classes), attendance may not be essential and a certain amount of leniency may be made. However, in a seminar class, a class where group projects are completed or in field experiences, attendance often becomes an essential function of the class and absences may interfere with the student’s (and classmates) educational experience.

The faculty and student should discuss the attendance requirements at the start of the semester and may wish to outline in writing the parameters of any modification to ensure clarity of the plan.

The U.S. Department of Education recommends that the following facts be considered in determining whether attendance is an essential requirement of a course and thus not open to accommodation:

  • Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students, and among students?
  • Do student contributions in class constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  • Does the fundamental nature of the course rely on student participation as an essential method of learning?
  • To what degree does a student’s failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class?
  • What does the course description and syllabus say regarding attendance?
  • What method is used to calculate the final grade?
  • What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?

In the final analysis, the instructor needs to determine how much attendance flexibility can be allowed without altering the essential requirements of the course. The determination of what is ‘reasonable’ at any point in time depends on the impact of the student’s disability and the essential nature of class attendance. If students cannot meet the attendance requirements with or without a reasonable accommodation, withdrawal from the course may be the only option to avoid academic penalty. Students are responsible for knowing the withdrawal deadlines posted on the academic calendar.

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Service and Therapy Animal Policy

St. John Fisher College is committed to allowing individuals with disabilities the use of Service or Therapy Animals on campus to facilitate their full participation and equal access to the College’s programs and activities. This policy ensures that individuals with disabilities, who require the use of a Service or Therapy Animal as a reasonable accommodation, receive the benefit of the work or tasks performed by such animals or the therapeutic support they provide.

Service Animal

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) defines "Service Animal" as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Examples of such work or tasks include: guiding an individual who is blind, alerting an individual who is deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting an individual who is having a seizure, reminding an individual with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming an individual with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. The work or task a Service Animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person's disability. In some cases, a miniature horse may be permitted as a Service Animal. Other animals, whether wild or domestic, do not qualify as Service Animals. Service Animals in training and those whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as Service Animals. Service Animals are working animals, not pets.

Service Animals are generally allowed on campus anywhere it is safe for them to be. After consultation with the individual, the College will determine if there are any parameters necessary regarding where a Service Animal is allowed on campus. Consideration will be given to other persons with disabilities, safety, and other factors.

Registering a Service Animal:

An individual with a disability who requires a Service Animal is responsible for completing the Service Animal Registration Process and Form [pdf] to register the Service Animal with the College prior to bringing the animal to campus.

Therapy Animal

A Therapy Animal is generally prescribed to an individual with a disability by a healthcare or mental health professional an integral part of a person's treatment process to assist in alleviating the symptoms of an individual's disability. As such, a Therapy Animal is necessary for an individual to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy College housing. There must be a relationship, or nexus, between the individual's disability and the assistance the animal provides.

Therapy Animals are not Service Animals and do not accompany an individual at all times. Therapy Animals are only permitted in a student’s assigned residence hall and, if appropriate, outdoor spaces. These animals are not permitted in other campus areas or buildings without the written permission of the Student Disability Review Committee. When the animal is transported outside the residence hall it must be in an animal carrier, on a leash or harness, and controlled at all times.

Requesting a Therapy Animal in Residence as a Disability Accommodation:

A student with a disability who is requesting a housing accommodation of a Therapy Animal must complete the Therapy Animal in Residence Request Process [pdf], including the Therapy Animal Statement.

Requirements for Faculty, Staff, Students, and Other Members of the St. John Fisher College Community

Members of the St. John Fisher College community are required to abide by the following practices:

  • They are to allow a Service Animal to accompany its owner at all times and in all places on campus, except where animals are specifically prohibited.
  • They are not to touch or pet a Service or Therapy Animal unless invited to do so.
  • They are not to feed a Service or Therapy Animal.
  • They are not to deliberately startle a Service or Therapy Animal.
  • They are not to separate or to attempt to separate an owner from his or her Service or Therapy Animal.
  • They are not to inquire for details about the individual’s disability. The nature of an individual’s disability is confidential.

Conflicting Health Conditions

Students should contact the Coordinator of Student Disability Services if they have a health or safety related concern about exposure to a Service or Therapy Animal. Employees with such concerns should contact Human Resources. The College is prepared to reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities that are affected by being in proximity to animals.

Notification

The Office of Student Disability Services will make a reasonable effort to notify the faculty and students enrolled in classes impacted by the accommodation.

The Office of Human Resources will make a reasonable effort to notify coworkers impacted by the accommodation.

Office of Residential Life will make a reasonable effort to notify students in the building where the Service or Therapy Animal will be located.

Removal of Service Animal or Therapy Animal

The College may exclude/remove a Service Animal or Therapy Animal when:

  • the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or
  • the animal's presence results in a fundamental alteration of the College's program, or
  • the animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the College community, or
  • the owner does not comply with the Service Animal Agreement, or
  • the owner does not comply with the Expectations for Service Animals in Residence Halls.

Deadlines for Students

  • Requests for housing accommodations and supporting documentation for new students must be received at least six (6) weeks prior to the start of classes.
  • Requests for housing accommodations and supporting documentation for returning students must be received by January 30 for the following fall semester.

The College reserves the right to amend this policy as circumstances require.

For questions regarding this policy, College Employees should contact Human Resources and students should contact the Coordinator of Student Disability Services.

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