Table of Contents
- Accommodation Eligibility Process
- Rights and Responsibilities
- Confidentiality and Release of Information
- How to Request Accommodations Each Semester
- Types of Accommodations
- Accommodations for Student Employment
- Temporary Medical Conditions and Pregnancy Accommodations
- Assistive Technology
- Service and Assistance Animals
- Management of Disability Information
- Access Center Grievance Process
Section 1: Accommodation Eligibility Process
Students with a disability and who are interested in receiving accommodations for MSU Denver classes must first register with the Access Center. While the Access Center will consider requests for accommodations throughout the year, students are encouraged to start this process as early as possible so that the Access Center can implement accommodations prior to the start of classes.
To receive accommodations and services, the Access Center has established a simple and quick, interactive process:
- Contact our office to arrange an accommodations eligibility appointment with one of our Accessibility Coordinators: (303) 615-0200 or [email protected].
- Students can provide disability documentation during the accommodation eligibility appointment. Disability documentation guidelines can be found on the Access Center’s website: Disability Documentation. In the event a student does not have documentation, they should consult with an Accessibility Coordinator to discuss next steps. No student should delay scheduling a meeting out of concern for not having appropriate documentation.
- The accommodation eligibility appointment usually lasts between 60 to 90 minutes. The meeting involves the student engaging in an interactive process with their Accessibility Coordinator to assess and determine eligibility for accommodations.
All appointments occur in a private office. Disability information and documentation is treated in a confidential manner. The rationale for seeking disability documentation is to determine the nature of the student’s disability and the need for requested accommodations. Disability documentation should include a clear statement of the student’s diagnosed disability(s) and information regarding the impact of the disability on areas of functioning. While documentation may include recommendations for accommodations, the Access Center staff will make the determination whether a recommended or previous accommodation will be approved for MSU Denver classes.
The Accessibility Coordinator will also provide an orientation to the Access Center’s website and relevant policies, procedures, and forms that the student will use to access and implement their accommodations. This orientation to Access Center policies and procedures may occur in the initial accommodation eligibility appointment with the student or at later follow-up appointment scheduled closer to the start of the academic semester.
Upon completion of the accommodation eligibility appointment and process, the student’s Accessibility Coordinator will email a copy of the student’s Accommodation Notification Letter (see appendix for example) to the student. The student may opt to have the Access Center send a copy of the Accommodation Notification Letter directly to their professors for the upcoming/current semester.
NOTE: It is recommended that you establish an ongoing relationship with your accessibility coordinator to ensure your needs are appropriately met. Students that tend to be more successful in this academic environment are the ones who utilize all the resources available to them.
Denial of Accommodations: The Access Center may deny a student’s request for an accommodation. Denials may be based on a variety of reasons including (but not limited to): a lack of documentation to support the need for the accommodations, the determination that the requested accommodation will result in a fundamental alteration of the course requirements and objectives, and/or the requested accommodation is not reasonable or results in an undue burden. Students have the right to appeal accommodation decisions, including denials of requests. Please see Appeal Process section in the appendices.
Section 2: Rights and Responsibilities of Students with Disabilities
Students have a right to:
- An equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from employment, courses, programs, services, or activities offered through the university;
- An equal opportunity to work and to learn, and to receive reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services;
- Appropriate confidentiality of all information regarding their disability and to choose to whom information about their disability will be disclosed, except as disclosures are required/permitted by law;
- Information, reasonably available in accessible formats.
Students are responsible for:
- Meeting academic qualifications and maintaining essential institutional standards for courses, services, or activities;
- Self-identifying as an individual with a disability when an accommodation is requested, and to seek information, counsel, and assistance as necessary;
- Demonstrating and/or documenting (from an appropriate professional) how the disability limits their access to courses, programs, services, or activities;
- Following published procedures for obtaining information, services and reasonable accommodations. (Some accommodations may require additional steps by the student, see “Types of Accommodations” section for specific information.)
Rights and Responsibilities of the Access Center
- To evaluate and/or identify functional limitations of a student’s disability to determine appropriate accommodations needed for courses, programs, services, and university activities;
- To request and receive from student, current documentation that supports requests for reasonable accommodations and/or auxiliary services;
- To deny a request for reasonable accommodation and/or auxiliary services if the documentation demonstrates that they are not warranted, or if the individual fails to provide appropriate documentation;
- To select among equally effective reasonable accommodations and/or auxiliary services;
- To deny a request for an unreasonable accommodation and/or auxiliary service or one that imposes as undue burden or fundamental alteration on a program or activity of the university.
- To provide information to students with disabilities in accessible formats upon request;
- To ensure that qualified students receive accommodations for courses, programs, activities, and services in a timely manner;
- To engage in an interactive process when determining reasonable accommodations;
- To maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communication, except where permitted/required by law.
Section 3: Confidentiality and Release of Information
The Access Center views all materials pertaining to a student’s disability as confidential. Documentation provided to the Access Center is used to verify the disability and to determine appropriate accommodations. The following guidelines are used by the Access Center regarding disability related information:
- Disability documentation provided to the Access Center is housed in a secure database.
- Only the Access Center staff is authorized to have immediate access to disability-related files.
- A student may request a copy of their disability documentation; however, the Access Center will not release information to a student, outside agency, parent, etc. that was provided directly from a third party (e.g., if documentation, records or information regarding a student is obtained directly from a physician, the information will not be released). The student, outside agency, parent, etc. will need to obtain the documentation, records or information directly from the third party who originally supplied the information.
- Disability-related documentation is treated confidentially and will not be released to anyone who is not involved in the accommodation and service-delivery process with the following exceptions:
- (a) the student gives the Access Center a signed release to share disability-related information with the person(s) named on the release;
- (b) the Access Center will release disability-related information as required and/or permitted by the law and/or a court order;
- (c) the student threatens to harm themself or others, or is suspected of abuse of a child or incapacitated adult;
- (d) the student files a disability-related complaint, appeal, grievance, or lawsuit against a university office or employee(s).
- In each case described above, information will be shared only with those who need to know or are authorized to know.
- When a student with a disability requests accommodations, they understand that some information may be provided regarding possible impact of the disability on a need-to-know basis to university faculty and staff to help ensure that the student receives appropriate accommodations.
- Under most circumstances, university faculty and staff need to know only (1) the student’s Access Center registration status; and (2) the student’s approved accommodations.
- The student’s Access Center status will not appear on university transcripts, financial aid forms, and other official documents of a similar nature unless provided by the student.
- An individual has the right to review their Access Center file.
- Access Center student records are maintained for 5 years from the date the student last attended the institution. All records will be purged only after the 5-year time period.
Release of Information
- A student may give written permission for the release of information when they wish to share it with others. Before giving such permission, the student should understand the information being released, the purpose of the release, and to whom the information is being released. Information will not be released without student’s consent unless required by federal or state law.
- The Access Center will not release information to a student, outside agency, parent, etc. that was obtained directly from a third party (e.g., if documentation, records or information regarding a student is obtained directly from a physician, the information will not be released). The student, outside agency, parent, etc. will need to obtain the documentation, records or information directly from the third party who originally supplied the information.
- A student may specify that they would like information shared or released by completing a Release of Information Form and returning it to the Access Center. Please review the Release of Information form in the Appendix.
Section 4: How to Request Accommodations Each Semester
For students who have completed an accommodation eligibility appointment and have been approved for accommodations:
- Students need to complete and submit the “Request Accommodation Letter” form for the applicable semester, which can be found on the Access Center website: https://www.msudenver.edu/access/
- Once the student submits an accommodation request, accommodation letters will be emailed to their instructors by the student’s Accessibility Coordinator unless otherwise specified by the student.
- Students are not required to meet with their instructors to negotiate approved accommodations.
- Students may request changes to your accommodations at any time by scheduling a meeting with their assigned Accessibility Coordinator.
- Accommodations cannot be applied retroactively.
- Students have the right to determine when and if they want to use their approved accommodations; therefore, they can choose to refrain from using accommodations in one or more classes.
Students are encouraged to:
- Maintain communication with their assigned Accessibility Coordinator – Schedule follow-up appointments as needed.
- Maintain communication with their instructor – Stay in contact throughout the semester.
- Inform their assigned Accessibility Coordinator and/or instructor if they are having difficulties with any accommodation, service, or class.
Section 5: Types of Accommodations
A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment that will enable a qualified student with a disability equal access to a course, program, facility, activity or service. Reasonable accommodations may include auxiliary aids, services, or modifications to facilities.
The goal is to give the student with a disability equal access to the learning environment. Individualized accommodations are not designed to give the student an advantage over other students, to alter a fundamental aspect of the course, nor to reduce academic rigor.
The Access Center determines reasonable accommodations as mandated under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services are determined on a case-by-case basis. The following is a list of potential accommodations which may be granted based on the students’ disability and how it impacts them in a postsecondary educational environment.
Testing accommodations are available to eligible students who experience barriers related to timed assessments or other aspects of evaluations. The Access Center is committed to providing an equitable testing environment for students. Testing accommodations may include but are not limited to the following:
- Distraction-reduced space
- Extended time
- Assistive technology (e.g. CCTV, screen-reader software)
- Accessible formats (e.g. Word Doc, large print, braille)
- Computer/Microsoft Word for written exams
Please review the Accommodated Test Procedures in the Appendix.
Students that have been diagnosed with a chronic physical or mental health condition/disability with brief, periodic flare-ups that adversely impact course attendance could be eligible to receive attendance flexibility consideration. This flexibility is determined collaboratively between the Access Center and the instructor. It is the student’s responsibility to request this accommodation as early in the semester as possible by completing the “Request Attendance Flexibility” form located on the Access Center website. The accommodation determination is put in writing as early in the semester as possible, ideally within the first few weeks of the course. The accommodation must be reasonable, meaning it cannot compromise the essential requirements or learning outcomes of the course. Course requirements vary widely due to course structure and additional flexibility cannot always be guaranteed.
Please review the Accommodated Attendance Procedures in the Appendix.
Access to Lecture Content
Students who have trouble capturing learning content that is shared during class due to their disability can be approved for accommodations. The student’s Accessibility Coordinator will share with the various options with the student and then collaborate with the instructor, if needed, to coordinate access to lecture content.
Alternate Formats for Print Materials
Students with a documented condition/disability that prevents access to traditional print materials are eligible to receive printed course materials in accessible electronic versions. Students are responsible for notifying their instructor and the Access Center if course materials are not accessible. Students needing to request course textbooks should use the request form located on the homepage of our website, www.msudenver.edu/access. See the Appendix for alternate format procedures.
Assignment Deadline Extensions
The purpose of this accommodation is to allow for periodic consideration of providing additional time to complete an outside of class assignment/paper/project due to the severe adverse effects of the student’s disability. Assignment deadline extensions will be determined by the Access Center on a case-by-case basis which may include obtaining information from faculty about how not submitting assignments by the indicated deadline may be a fundamental alteration to the course. It is the student’s responsibility to complete the “Request Deadline Extension” form located on the Access Center website at least 2 business days prior to the deadline unless significant extenuating circumstances arise (e.g. hospitalization). The submission of this form does not guarantee an extension.
Please review the Accommodated Deadline Extension Procedures in the Appendix.
ASL Interpreting & CART Services
The Access Center will coordinate interpreting and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services for Deaf and hard of hearing students registered with our office. Students needing interpreters or CART for meetings with faculty, advisors or other types of meetings with staff on campus should use the request form located on the homepage of our website, www.msudenver.edu/access.
Accessible Classroom Furniture
The Access Center is committed to ensuring students’ learning environments are accessible which could include the need for accessible classroom furniture (e.g. tables, chairs). The student will then be directed to use the request form located on the homepage of our website, www.msudenver.edu/access. Furniture requests usually take 1-2 business days to get placed into the classroom.
Priority Course Registration
To assist students in planning their schedule while taking disability issues into consideration, students may be eligible for priority course registration. This accommodation allows students the opportunity to register earlier than other students for upcoming semesters. Students are responsible for meeting with their academic advisor to plan for appropriate classes and registering for courses at or after their scheduled registration time. The Access Center has no ability to remove registration holds.
Note: This is not an exhaustive list of potential accommodations.
Note: Under ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act a postsecondary institution is not required to provide accommodations that would be considered personal services. The Access Center does not provide personal services (i.e. administering medicine and storing of medical supplies, personal aides and mobility aides, transportation to school.)
Section 6: Accommodations for Student Employment
The University’s policy is to fully comply with the reasonable accommodation requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under the law, agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to qualified employees or applicants with disabilities, unless to do so would cause undue hardship. The University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to its student employees and applicants for employment in order to assure that individuals with disabilities enjoy full access to equal employment opportunity at the University. The Human Resource Department is responsible for providing reasonable accommodations:
- When a student applicant with a disability needs an accommodation in order to be considered for a job;
- When a student employee with a disability needs an accommodation to enable him or her to perform the essential functions of the job or to gain access to the workplace; and
- When a student employee with a disability needs an accommodation to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment.
The University will process requests for reasonable accommodation and provide reasonable accommodations in a prompt, fair and efficient manner where appropriate.
To request an accommodation as a student employee, please complete the Request ADA Information form on the Human Resources website.
For more information and to view the ADA Accommodation Employee Handbook in PDF, visit Human Resources’ ADA page.
Section 7: Temporary Medical Conditions and Pregnancy Accommodations
Although temporary medical conditions are not covered as disabilities under the ADA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the institution recognizes that such injuries/illnesses can occur during the school year that may adversely affect a student’s ability to fully participate in classes. Examples of temporary medical conditions may include, but are not limited to: broken limbs, hand injuries, or short-term impairments following surgery or medical treatments. Students seeking temporary accommodations should contact the Access Center to discuss possible options, (303) 615-0200.
Students seeking accommodations because of medically related complications due to pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery should also contact our office, (303) 615-0200.
Section 8: Assistive Technology
Technology currently plays an important role in the world, particularly in higher education. The term ‘assistive technology’ (AT) is a broad term often applied to any sort of tool used to ensure a student has an equal opportunity to access information and environments that would otherwise be challenging or impossible to access. There is a large variety of AT in existence today that students can take advantage of to ensure they have the most ideal access possible. The Access Center is dedicated to ensuring we have the most up-to-date knowledge on the latest developments in AT and provides services to students to ensure they get the best possible use from their AT.
AT Services offered by the Access Center:
- Information and Resources: The Access Center maintains an online list of software applications to address a variety of student needs, some of which are available to students free of charge. Access Center staff may also have information on other AT tools and resources students may find helpful and are happy to respond to any requests for such information.
- Consultations: Students wishing to explore possible AT options to help meet their need can schedule a consultation appointment. During consultation appointments, students can expect to receive recommendations on specific tools and/or other resources that can help meet the identified need.
- Training: Students wishing to learn how to use all or part of a specific AT can schedule a training appointment. Depending on the student’s exact need, training can take place in a stand-alone appointment, or over multiple appointments.
- Support: Students who are experiencing technical problems with an AT or have follow-up questions regarding an AT can contact the Access Center for support. In many cases, technical support may necessitate an appointment to ensure the issue can be adequately addressed.
Section 9: Service and Emotional Support Animals
In compliance with the ADA, service animals are welcome in all buildings on campus and may attend classes, meetings, or other events. Students with disabilities desiring to use a service animal on campus are invited to contact the Access Center to register as a student with a disability. Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA and are not allowed in the classroom unless as an approved accommodation by the Access Center.
Please review the Service Animal Policy in the Appendix.
An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is defined as an animal that provides companionship, emotional support, wellbeing, or comfort, which eases one or more identified symptoms or effects of a disability. Emotional support animals are not individually trained or trained to perform specific actions or tasks to assist individuals with disabilities. An ESA is not considered service animal under the ADA.
Individuals with disabilities may request from the Access Center approval to have their ESA accompany them to MSU Denver classes, meetings and events. The Access Center will engage in an interactive discussion with the individual, review any documentation to support the individual’s need for the ESA to accompany them to class, and give consideration to the type of animal and other relevant factors including how the presence of the ESA could adversely impact the learning and/or instructional process in the classroom. An ESA is not allowed in the classroom until this process has been completed and Access Center approval has been given in writing.
Section 10: Management of Disability Information
All information about a student that is registered with our office is kept in a secure database system that is only accessible by Access Center staff. This includes disability related documentation, case notes and copies of all accommodation letters that have been distributed. The student’s information in the database will be purged five years from the date the student last attended the University and will no longer be available to the student.
Section 11: Access Center Grievance Process
The University and Access Center support you in your right to file a grievance when you believe you have been denied equal access in the form of appropriate accommodations, modifications, auxiliary aids or effective communication or suffered discrimination based on your disability as described in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The general grievance procedures, which apply to all students, are available to students with disabilities. The grievance procedures listed below are additional procedures that apply to students with disabilities who feel their rights have been violated under 504 and ADA.
Informal Resolution Process
Students are invited to utilize the informal resolution process first to address any concerns they have related to their approved or denied accommodations. This includes any issues students experience related to receiving their approved accommodations in any of their courses.
Students are encouraged to discuss their concerns with their Access Center Accessibility Coordinator. The Accessibility Coordinator will attempt to resolve the issues by assisting the student in discussing issues with the faculty member, department or program. In some instances, the Access Center Director may be consulted to develop a resolution. Most situations are positively resolved through Access Center support and collaboration.
Resolving Conflicts with Access Center Staff
The procedure for resolving conflicts with Access Center staff is similar to the steps explained above. Initially, the student should discuss the complaint with their Accessibility Coordinator. If the complaint is not resolved, or there is a specific reason the situation cannot be discussed with the Accessibility Coordinator, the student should meet with the Director.
Formal Grievance Process
Students can elect to forgo the informal resolution process and file a formal grievance. Information regarding filing a formal grievance can be found on the Office of Equal Opportunity website, https://msudenver.edu/eoo/. The Office of Equal Opportunity is located in Jordan Student Success Building (JSSB), Room 306 and the phone number is 303-615-0036.
Please review the complete Grievance Policy in the Appendix.
Hours of Operation
Main Office: Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Accommodated Testing: Monday - Thursday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm