The rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities receiving services at the college level differ from the K-12 school system. Education at the K-12 level is considered mandatory education and these types of services are provided to ensure that all students can receive an education. Education at the post-secondary level is voluntary, which means the Office of Disability Services (ODS) will provide accommodations to the student, but cannot mandate that they use services to which they are entitled. A helpful tool to read produced by Office of Civil Rights (OCR):
Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Students with Disabilities
As adults, our students have the right to choose whether or not they work with the Disability Services office. If a student with a disability does not want to work with our office or fails to follow the procedures required to receive an accommodation, that accommodation will not be given.
Responsibilities - Office of Disability Services (ODS)
The director is responsible for providing services and accommodations in a manner that promote independence, self-advocacy, and accountability for students with disabilities. The director and ODS staff will:
- Provide information regarding the Office Disability Services, accommodations and the initial paperwork needed for services.
- Receive and evaluate the documentation of a disability for eligibility for accommodations.
- Maintain a confidential file with documentation and past accommodations. ODS records will be retained for five years after withdrawal or graduation date. Students are encouraged to make copies of documentation and accommodations.
- Receive and facilitate requests for accommodations.
- Assist in communication with faculty members regarding classroom accommodations and other college departments as needed.
- Provide resources and referrals to campus and community services.
Responsibilities of the students
Students must initiate the process when requesting accommodations. Students are responsible for providing documentation to verify his/her disability and to follow the procedures for receiving those accommodations. Failure to follow these procedures can result in a delay in receiving the requested accommodations.
- Provide appropriate documentation and verification of disability to the Director of ODS.
- Arrange a meeting with the director at the beginning of each semester or as soon as an academic adjustment is necessary to request accommodations.
- Give professors a copy of the ODS accommodation letter which verifies your disability status and communicates the appropriate accommodations for each course.
- Follow the procedures required to receive the needed services in a timely manner.
- Communicate with the director when additional information is needed to provide an accommodation or academic adjustment.
- Understand if a requested accommodation changes a Learning Outcome or is a fundamental alteration of a course or college program, then a request for an accommodation may be denied.
- Meet all academic and behavioral standards set by Westmont and individual faculty members. A faculty member will not modify essential course structure or grading policies.
- Advise the director if there are any problems they perceive from faculty, staff or students regarding their accommodations or other disability related issues.