Your rights as an individual with a disability are protected under federal law; primarily Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of of 1973. It is as follows:
"No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United states...shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity provided by an institution receiving federal financial assistance."
These are the major points of the law:
Students with disabilities must be given equal opportunity to gain the same results or level of achievement as non-disabled students.
The college does not have to change any requirements of a course that are essential to show you have mastered the course.
However, if there is a part of the course that is not essential, and that part is preventing you from displaying your ability to master the content of the course, the college must alter its methods.
The results of tests should reflect your level of achievement in the course, and not your area of disability.
As an example, let's say your disability is in the area of written language. You are taking an American History class in which the instructor gives an essay exam on the course material. You are able to understand, remember and explain the course material. However, your spelling is so poor you can't get your thoughts down on paper and your instructor can't decipher what you have written.
Learning the causes of the Civil War is an essential requirement of American History, showing you can spell is not. In this case, it would be appropriate for you to either use a spell checker, tape record your answers, or have a scribe write the answers you dictate. In this way, the instructor is grading you on your knowledge of the course material and not on your disability.
Before any academic accommodations or adjustment will be arranged, the GCC student must give the Center for Students with Disabilities adequate and verifiable evidence of disability.
Upon applying for services from the CSD, the student agrees to the following:
Student must identify himself/herself to the Center for Students with Disabilities.
Student will provide the CSD with the information, documentation, and/or forms (medical, educational, etc.) deemed necessary by the CSD in order to verify the disability and recommended/requested accommodations.
Student will meet with a CSD counselor to complete a Student Educational Contract, and agree to meet with that professional at least annually to update the Student Educational Contract.
Student will utilize the CSD programs and services in a responsible manner.
Student agrees that the CSD uses written service provision policies and procedures that must be adhered to for continuation of services.
Student must comply with the Student Code of Conduct adopted by the college.
Student agrees to use approved services appropriately, and recognizes that failure to do so may result in suspension or termination of services.
Student assumes responsibility for loaned equipment and agrees not to allow another individual to use such equipment.
Student agrees that CSD services may be terminated if he/she fails to make measurable progress toward the goals established in the Student Educational Contract.
Specifically, the student should be prepared to agree to the following:
- I will provide the Disabled Student Programs and Services with the information, documentation, and/or forms (medical, educational, etc.) deemed necessary by DSP&S to verify my disability.
- I will meet with a Disabled Student Programs and Services professional to complete a Student Educational Contract, and agree to meet with the professional at least annually to update the Student Educational Contract.