There are two federal laws that protect students with disabilities from discrimination at the post-secondary level:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The laws function together to guarantee both physical and programmatic access to Bentley University courses, activities and events. The university is required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals. The academic accommodations outlined in the accommodation letter have been negotiated between the student and Disability Services. If you believe the requested academic accommodations are unreasonable for your course, please contact Stephanie Brodeur, senior assistant director of disability services at 781.891.2004 or firstname.lastname@example.org, to discuss your concerns.
Providing Academic Accommodations
If a student has requested academic accommodations, you are under no legal obligation to provide them without an official academic accommodation letter provided by the Office of Disability Services. Even if the student claims to be registered, they must present you with an official academic letter provided by Disability Services. Until you receive this letter, it is not appropriate to provide the requested accommodations. If a student has not registered, refer him or her to Disability Services to follow the appropriate procedures.
To familiarize students with the process for receiving accommodations, you should consider including a statement in your syllabus informing them that they must meet with the Office of Disability Services and receive an official academic accommodation letter at the beginning of each semester. You are encouraged to include the following statement on your syllabus:
- Bentley University abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 which stipulate no student shall be denied the benefits of an education solely by reason of a disability. If you have a hidden or visible disability which may require classroom accommodations, please make an appointment with the Senior Assistant Director of Disability Services, Stephanie S. Brodeur, within the first 4 weeks of the semester. The Office of Disability Services is located in the Callahan/University Police Building (POL, 2nd Floor, 781.891.2004). The Senior Assistant Director of Disability Services is responsible for managing accommodations and services for students with disabilities.
Students who request additional time for exams are instructed to maintain good communication with their professors, which may entail beginning the exam before class, finishing the exam after class, or completing the exam at a different time of day. This is to be negotiated between the student and you. The student must make the request in a timely manner, at least one week in advance of the scheduled exam. Students understand that next-day or same-day requests may not be honored.
Although you are encouraged to manage testing accommodations, at times an alternate site is needed. We do have a part-time exam space on campus for students with disabilities. You should complete a Test Room Request Form with your student. The Test Room Request Form should be delivered to the Office of Disability Services 48 hours in advance. The exam should be delivered to the Office Disability Services at least 24 hours in advance of the exam. This option should only be used when all other options have been exhausted.
If a student receives the academic accommodations of additional time to complete exams and a quiet, distraction-reduced location in which to take their exams, the procedures are essentially the same. Due to room demands at certain times of the academic year, space in the Test Room on a particular day and time cannot be guaranteed. The student must communicate with Disability Services and you to confirm that arrangement requests have been made and agreed upon.
Note Sharer Service
The Note Sharer Service is provided by the Office of Disability Services as a reasonable academic accommodation for students with documented disabilities that interfere with their ability to take class notes. The Office of Disability Services coordinates fellow classmates as note sharers. It is the responsibility of the student approved for the note sharer accommodation to locate the person who will take notes for him or her. The student and the note sharer will complete appropriate paperwork and return this to the Office of Disability Services. You may be asked to assist in this process by making the class aware of the need for a note sharer. In doing so, it is requested that you do not disclose the student’s name or disability. At the end of the class period, it is the responsibility of the the note sharer and the student receiving this accommodation to discuss the arrangements for the remainder of the semester.
Grading and Evaluations
Students with disabilities should not be evaluated or graded any differently than other students in the class. Academic accommodations are not provided to give a student an advantage or to raise or lower academic expectations. Rather, they are designed to “level the playing field” and compensate for any deficits in the learning process experienced by the student due to their disability. Academic accommodations may provide an alternative manner in which a student gains access to course information. All students, including those with disabilities, should be evaluated at the same level.
If you have a visually impaired or blind student in your class, academic accommodations you may be asked to provide include reformatted instructional and exam materials in an accessible format, such as Braille, audiotape, disc or enlarged print. We are available to assist you in this process.
If you have a deaf or hard-of-hearing student in your class, academic accommodations you may be asked to provide include the presence of a sign language interpreter, the use of FM listening devices (which require the instructor to wear a wireless microphone), and the use of open captioned films and videos when applicable. We are available to assist you in this process.
We work with students with temporary disabilities — such as a broken leg — to help them overcome their disability and continue to meet their academic requirements. Students with temporary difficulties with writing may work with Disability Services and their professors to ensure that they receive class notes and are able to complete scheduled exams, papers and presentations.
If you are struggling to reach students of various learning styles in your classroom, there is something you can do about it. A growing trend in college curriculum is universal design, which helps all students get the most out of their education. We are available to work individually with you or provide group workshops on how to integrate universal design into existing and new syllabi. For more information, contact Stephanie Brodeur, senior assistant director of disability services, at 781.891.2004 or email@example.com.
We do not offer on-campus, diagnostic assessments for a potential learning disability, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or psychiatric disabilities. However, we do have screening tools available to students who have concerns about a learning disability or ADHD. We also maintain a list of off-campus diagnosticians to whom students may be referred for professional testing.