SWC Policy 5140 Academic Accommodations
Academic Accommodations Policy
The Southwestern Community College District is committed to providing support programs and services for students with verified disabilities in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (1) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The fundamental principles of non-discrimination and accommodation in academic programs provide that (Policy No. 5140):
• No student with a qualified disability shall, on the basis of the disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefit of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any post-secondary education activity or program; ([84.43(a)] Section 504, Fed. Rehab. Act, 1973); and
• Reasonable accommodations or adjustments to academic activities shall be made as are necessary to ensure that such requirements do not discriminate or have the effect of discrimination on the basis of the disability; and
• The District shall maintain an educational environment where students with disabilities have equal access to instruction without compromising the essential components of the course, educational program or degree.
To ensure that students with disabilities receive appropriate accommodation in their instructional activities, the Southwestern Community College District adopted procedures to review any dispute regarding academic accommodations. Primary responsibility for implementation of the Academic Accommodation Review Procedures is assigned to the 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services, appointed annually by the Superintendent/President.
In compliance with state and federal laws and in order to create an educational environment where students with disabilities have equal access to instruction without compromising any course, educational program or degree, the procedures outlined below have been developed.
SWC Policy 5140 Academic Accommodations Procedures
Academic Adjustment Procedures
1 The student bears the responsibility of presenting Disability Support Services (DSS) with professional disability verification that describes specific educational limitations before an academic accommodation will be authorized.
2. If the student does not have appropriate disability verification, DSS will direct the student to the appropriate professional who can determine disability, or will initiate an assessment to determine and document a disability within the scope of assessment services provided by DSS and deemed necessary by a DSS professional.
3. The DSS professional, who meets the standards established by state regulations, will assess and document the extent and the effects of the current disability. Depending on the severity and educationally related functional limitations of the assessed disability, the DSS professional shall authorize accommodations immediately upon request of the student.
4. The student will submit to his/her instructors the authorized accommodations forms completed by the DSS professional.
4a. The College is charged with determining and providing what it believes to be the appropriate academic accommodation for a student. A student who disagrees with the academic accommodation(s) prescribed by DSS should discuss his/her concern with the DSS professional recommending the accommodation. If the student’s concern continues to be unresolved, the student should discuss his/her concern with the DSS Director. If the concern continues to be unresolved, the next step is to contact the 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services as outlined in number 5 below. Student must then file an Academic Accommodation appeal with 504 Compliance Officer prior to the posting of the final grade.
4b. If an instructor has questions about an accommodation requested by a student with a verified disability, the instructor should promptly contact the DSS professional who authorized the accommodation(s). Informal meetings and discussion among the instructor, department chair or designee, the student, the appropriate members of DSS, and/or other appropriate members of the college community are essential at the outset, and will be completed within five (5) instruction days following the student’s request or the accommodation.
5. If no informal resolution can be found within five (5) instruction days and the accommodation is not allowed, the DSS professional, student, or the instructor will refer the matter to the 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services as soon as possible for review. The 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services will conduct interviews with all involved parties, and will make a decision regarding the accommodation within seven (7) instruction days of having received the matter.
6. Following notification by the 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services, if either the instructor or the student disagrees with the decision, they will notify the 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services in writing within three (3) instruction days. Written notice must be hand-delivered or postmarked by the three (3) day deadline. The 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services will then proceed with the Academic Accommodation Hearing process.
7. The accommodation originally authorized by DSS will be allowed for a maximum of four (4) instruction weeks during which time a resolution will be achieved. If the decision of the Committee is that the accommodation is not reasonable, the accommodation will either be modified or rescinded depending upon the Academic Accommodation Hearing Committee’s recommendations.
Academic Accommodation Hearing Process
Students or instructors wishing to appeal a decision made by the 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services at the conclusion of the informal resolution process will file a formal written request for a hearing with the College’s 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services. The 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services is located on campus, in the Cesar Chavez Building, Room S109, 619-482-6369.
1. The 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services is responsible for informing the complainant of his/her rights, responsibilities, and procedures.
2. The accommodation originally authorized by DSS will be allowed for a maximum of four (4) instructional weeks during which time a resolution will be achieved.
3. An Academic Accommodation Hearing Committee will be scheduled by the 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services within five (5) instructional days to review the complaint. The hearing will be convened within ten (10) instructional days. The committee will be composed of the following voting members:
a. DSS Director or his/her designee
b. ADA Compliance Officer or his/her designee
c. Appropriate Department Chairperson
d. Academic Senate President or his/her designee
e. 504 Compliance Officer
4. The 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services shall serve as Chairperson and will vote only in case of a tie and will be responsible for appointing a secretary or providing a tape recording of the hearing.
5. All five (5) voting members, including the chair, shall constitute a quorum by which the hearing may proceed.
6. Both parties have the right to present witnesses, testimony, and evidence, but only as related to the case.
7. Both parties have the right to be accompanied by an advocate in the formal appeal hearing.
8. The hearing shall be closed to the public.
9. The Committee shall review both the written and oral testament presented and shall render a written decision within three (3) instruction days following the conclusion of the hearing. Copies of the findings shall be sent to the student, instructor, committee membership, and other cognizant administrative officers. In addition, a copy of the Committee’s findings shall be sent to the College Superintendent/President.
10. The 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services shall inform the complainant of the Committee’s action by certified mail within three (3) instructional days of the receipt of the Committee’s findings.
11. Upon notification of the Committee’s findings, either party may appeal the Committee’s decision to the College Superintendent/President. Any appeal to the Superintendent/President must be made in writing, and shall be either hand delivered or postmarked within three (3) instructional days following notification of the Committee’s findings.
12. The Superintendent/President will review the decision of the Committee and will either accept or modify the decision.
13. The Superintendent/President shall inform the complainant and the Committee of his/her final action by certified mail within fifteen (15) instructional days of the receipt of the appeal request.
14. The Superintendent/President’s decision shall be the final decision rendered and shall be implemented within five (5) instruction days.
15. The confidential tape recording of the proceedings shall be kept in a confidential file by the 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services and a copy shall be available to the parties. All documents shall be filed separately from the personnel file of Southwestern College employees.
1. The time limits specified herein shall be considered under normal circumstances and every effort shall be made to expedite the process. Time limits may be extended only by mutual consent, in writing.
2. The complainant may withdraw the appeal at any time. However, the same appeal shall not be filed again by the same complainant.
3. Either party may consult with the 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services regarding any of these procedures.
Students wishing to file complaints or grievances based upon discrimination on the basis of physical or mental disability should contact the 504 Compliance Officer/Dean of Student Services located on campus, in the Cesar E. Chavez Building, Room S109, 619-482-6369.