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Office for Students with Di...
Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended (ADA) is the civil rights guarantee for persons with disabilities in the United States. It provides protection from discrimination for individuals on the basis of disability. The ADA extends civil rights protections for people with disabilities to employment in the public and private sectors, transportation, public accommodations, services provided by state and local government, and telecommunication relay services.
A “person with a disability” is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, and the operation of major bodily functions. In addition to those people who have visible disabilities, persons who are blind, deaf, or use a wheelchair, the definition includes people with a range of invisible disabilities. These include psychiatric or learning disabilities, chronic health impairments such as epilepsy, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, cardiac problems, HIV/AIDS, and more (documentation of the disability may be required.) A person is considered to be a person with disability if that individual has a disability, has a record of a disability, or is regarded as having a disability.
The ADA upholds and extends the standards for compliance set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to employment practices, communications, and all policies, procedures, and practices that affect the treatment of students with disabilities. Employment issues for all institutions are covered under Title I. For all activities, public institutions are covered under Title II and private institutions are covered under Title III.
Public and private institutions and programs of postsecondary and higher education are obligated to comply with the ADA in their programs, services, facilities, employment, and other related aspects.
University and college personnel will be asked to make “reasonable accommodations” within the employment process to ensure nondiscrimination on the basis of disability. Institutions should be prepared to accommodate persons with disabilities qualified to work in campus offices and departments in all aspects of employment including recruitment, application, hiring, benefits, promotion, evaluation, and termination.
Public institutions of higher education are responsible for having a clearly established grievance procedure for persons with disabilities who feel their rights have been violated under the ADA. Moreover, each institution is responsible for conducting a self-evaluation of its preparedness, as well as ongoing review of possible barriers in the following areas:
Of particular importance in making appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities are the mandates for making modifications as needed in policies, practices, and procedures and for assuring accessibility of examinations and courses. As required under Section 504, this includes all aspects of academic and nonacademic activities including admissions and recruitment, admission to programs, academic adjustments, housing, financial assistance, physical education and athletics, and counseling.
This section is derived from the pamphlet, “The Americans with Disabilities Act: The Law and its Impact on Postsecondary Education”, Association on Higher Education and Disability, Columbus, Ohio; 2010.
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
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