Policies and Procedures

DISABILITY RESOURCES

Policies and Procedures
These are Tulsa Community College’s Policies and Procedures in regards to Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:

Purpose
It is the policy of Tulsa Community College (TCC) to offer educational opportunities and experiences to all students enrolled at the College on the basis of individual merit without interference from illegal, arbitrary, or capricious acts or omissions. TCC will not tolerate discrimination against any student because of gender, race, age, veteran status, national origin, religion, or disability. TCC embraces and commits itself and its faculty and staff employees to follow provisions of state and federal law prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities, including, but not limited to, the American with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

In order to assist applicants to and students of TCC regarding needed academic accommodations, TCC has empowered its Education Access Center Director with the authority to review complaints of potential disability discrimination and also has created the Disability Resources offices with the specific charge of working with students, staff and faculty to help ensure that appropriate steps are engaged in by the College in each case. The names of the current administrative officials overseeing those offices, and their addresses and telephone numbers, are identified in the Office of the President, the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, Office of the Provosts, the Office of the Deans of Student Services, the Offices of the Associate Deans, and the Office of the Directors of Academic and Campus Services.  

This policy statement is intended to formalize procedures already established for the provision of academic accommodations for students with disabilities and to outline mechanisms for resolving complaints concerning the provision of such academic accommodations. This policy statement is intended to supersede and control over any other policy of the College concerning whether the College is appropriately providing classroom accommodations to a student with a disability.

TCC will take steps as are necessary to ensure that no student with a disability is denied the benefits of, excluded from participation in, or otherwise subjected to, discrimination in activities, programs or accommodations operated by the College because of the absence of educational auxiliary aids.  Auxiliary aids may include, but are not limited to, taped texts, interpreters, or other effective methods of making orally delivered materials available to students with hearing impairments and visual impairments, classroom equipment adapted for use by students with manual impairments, and other similar resources and action.

Academic requirements that are essential to the program of instruction being pursued by a student with a disability or to any directly related licensing requirement will not be regarded as discriminatory.

Definitions
"Student with a Disability" is any student who:

  • has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities,
  • has a record of such impairment, or
  • is regarded as having such impairment.
  • "Physical or Mental Impairment" includes, but is not limited to:

- any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or

- any mental or psychological disorder, such as developmental delay, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

The term "Substantially Limits" means:

·        Unable to perform a major life activity that the average person in the general population can perform; or

·        Significantly restricted as to the condition, manner or duration under which an individual can perform a major life activity as compared to the condition, manner, or duration under which the average person in the general population can perform that same major life activity.

Objective criteria for diagnosis of a "specific learning disability" have yet to be succinctly defined by educational psychologists. TCC embraces the general guidelines suggested by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education in 1991, which acknowledge that while multiple approaches are used in this area, specific criteria for diagnosis of a learning disability include: average to above average intellectual ability; severe processing deficits; severe aptitude achievement discrepancies, despite adequate learning opportunities; and a condition of presumed neurological origin.

A "classroom accommodation" is one where an alteration in the manner in which a specific class is conducted is requested by a student. Such accommodations may include, but are not limited to, alterations in testing time limits, providing special tutoring, providing textual materials in alternative formats (such as on audiotape), note taking, and the like.

Determination of Eligibility
Any student desiring to receive classroom accommodations, as a mandatory prerequisiteto receiving any such accommodations, must register with the Education Access Center (EAC), provide appropriate professional documentation as requested evidencing the existence of a specific disability, and cooperate with a EAC professional staff member  in determining the type(s) of accommodations that may be warranted in the case. It is the affirmative obligation of the student not only to provide appropriate professional documentation as requested by the EAC professional staff member, but also to renew any additional requests for accommodations each new academic semester.

Reasons for Documentation
Appropriate professional documentation is required for two purposes:

(1)   to document the existence, nature, and extent of the learning, mental or physical  disability; and

(2)    to identify reasonable accommodations. Because the provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based on assessments of the current impact of the student's disabilities on his/her academic performance in a specific academic program, it is in the student's best interest to provide recent and appropriate professional documentation. In most cases, this means that the medical or psychological evaluation and report will have been conducted within the past five years. Learning assessments must be based upon adult-level learning. Assessments made at a pre-college level will qualify as acceptable documentation only if they reflect adult capabilities and the academic demands of higher education. Appropriate professional documentation, in order to be acceptable, must be rendered by a practitioner with credentials appropriate to the area in question. For example, for diagnosis of specific learning disorders or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders, the documentation should come from a licensed psychologist.

If a diagnostic report is incomplete or inadequate to determine the present extent of the disability or appropriate accommodations, the College may require supplemental assessment at the student's cost. If the diagnostic report is complete but the College requires a second opinion (which may include getting a second opinion regarding the diagnostic report or a reevaluation of the disability), the College may select the practitioner and shall bear the cost of the second assessment.

The Education Access Center may require a student to provide additional appropriate professional documentation evidencing the need for continued academic accommodations at any time that it appears that the student's learning, mental or physical disability has substantially changed in character or if a student who has been granted special academic accommodations and/or requests additional accommodations atthe student’s cost.

Verification of the existence of a disability will be retained in the Education Access Center and will be shared with other College personnel only as necessary and in conformity with applicable state and federal laws.

The Education Access Center will assist students with disabilities who are seeking classroom accommodations and will make recommendations to appropriate College personnel regarding accommodations, if any, that are believed to be needed by students.  If recommended accommodations are not agreed upon between a student, Education Access Center, faculty, or academic administrators, a request for further review may be filed by the student or the affected faculty member/academic administrator with the Deans of Student Services at the campus of their attendance.  Classroom accommodations as recommended by the Education Access Center will be implemented during such time as the matter is under review.

A student who believes that appropriate academic accommodations are not being afforded by the College may seek further review through informal or formal means. Such a student may either file for formal review of such determination by following the processes set forth below in this policy statement or, prior to doing so, may seek informal resolution of the dispute by discussing the matter with the Education Access Center Director.  During the time that the dispute is in informal review by the Education Access Center Director, the time frames for filing a formal appeal are set forth below.

Request for Review of Classroom Accommodations

Procedures for Initiating Request

Informal Process:  A request for review of special classroom accommodations in order to assist a student with a disability is initiated by the student filing a written request with the Education Access Center Director located at the Metro Campus. The Education Access Center Director will initially review the request to assess whether the student has provided recent appropriate professional documentation evidencing the need for the accommodation(s) being requested and to make a recommendation regarding classroom accommodation(s) to be provided to the student. The Education Access Center Director will notify the student of his/her determination and, if an accommodation is recommended, will also notify the appropriate faculty member(s) of that recommendation.

Formal Process: A student or faculty member disagreeing with a recommended classroom accommodation(s), or a recommendation from the Education Access Center Director that no accommodation is warranted, may request further review by the ADA Compliance Officer located at the Northeast Campus, Room 2163.  Such requests should be in written form, typed, signed by student or faculty member, dated and include their Tulsa Community College student identification number.   The letter and any desired attachments must be filed with the ADA Compliance Officer who will review the complaint within ten (10) business days of the date that the student or faculty member makes the request and informs the ADA Compliance Officer.  The ADA Compliance Officer will forward the decision to the affected student or faculty member(s), and to the appropriate Administrator or Associate Dean.  The faculty member(s), Administrator or Associate Dean must maintain confidentiality regarding the request.

If the student or faculty member(s) affected by the decision of the ADA Compliance Officer requests a further review, the student or faculty member will be given the opportunity to present a written response to the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs.  Such responses must be received by the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs within ten (10) business days after the receipt of the requested documents from the student or faculty member(s) unless additional time is needed for investigation purposes by the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs.  If no response is timely filed, the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs has the authority to make a determination without further delay.

The Associate Vice President for Student Affairs may seek technical and legal advice from the Associate Dean and/or Legal Counsel for the TCC Board of Regents regarding the matter.

After consulting with the Associate Dean, and/or TCC Legal Counsel, the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs will make a final decision regarding the appeal. The Associate Vice President for Student Affairs will normally make a final decision within ten (10) business days. A copy will be forwarded to the Education Access Center Director and ADA Compliance Officer for permanent retention with the student's file. There is no further appeal of such decisions.

The student, faculty member, Associate Dean and Education Access Center Director may mutually agree to some other form of accommodation at any time in the review process. If such an agreement is reached, such agreement should be in writing, signed by the student, faculty member, Associate Dean and Education Access Center Director, and the review process automatically will be terminated.

In addition to the above-stated appeals process regarding an accommodation decision, students who feel that they have been harassed or discriminated against on the basis of their disability, in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the ADA, or other applicable law, may file a formal or informal complaint under the College's Grievance policy.

Assistance/Service Animal Policy

Policy Overview

Tulsa Community College is committed to compliance with state and federal laws regarding individuals with disabilities. All requests for assistance or service animals should be directed to the Education Access Center at TCC’s Metro Campus.  The College will determine, on a case by case basis, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, whether the animal is a reasonable accommodation on campus. In doing so, the College must balance the needs of the individual with the impact of animals on other campus patrons. Where it is not readily apparent that an assistance/service animal, the College may require that documentation be provided on the letterhead of a treating physician or mental health provider, which permits the College to determine:

(1)   that the individual has a disability for which the animal is needed;

(2)   how the animal assists the individual, including whether the animal has undergone     

any training; and

               (3) the relationship between the disability and the assistance that the animal provides.

Assistance/Service Animals Permitted on Campus

Individuals with disabilities may be accompanied by their assistance/service animals on all Tulsa Community College’s campuses and locations where members of the public or participants in activities, programs or services are allowed.  By law, an assistance/service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not assistance/service animals.

The work or tasks performed by an assistance/service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. Examples of such tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting an individual with low vision with navigation, alerting individuals who are hard of hearing to the presence of people or objects, pulling a person's wheelchair; or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with a mobility disability.  Federal law does not require the individual to provide documentation that an animal has been trained as an assistance/service animal. The College may, however, ask if the animal is required because of a disability, as well as what work or task the animal has been trained to perform.

Exceptions to Assistance/Service Animals Permitted on Campus Policy

The College may exclude an assistance/service animal from campus if its behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or when its presence fundamentally alters the nature of an activity, program or service.  Furthermore, the College may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from campus if the animal is out of control and the individual does not take effective action to control it, or if the animal is not housebroken.

Responsibilities of Individuals with Assistance/Service Animals

The College is not responsible for the care or supervision of an assistance/service animal. Individuals with disabilities are responsible for the control of their assistance/service animals at all times and must comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including vaccination, licensure, animal health and leash laws. An assistance/service animal shall be restrained with a harness, leash, or other tether, unless an individual’s disability precludes the use of a restraint or if the restraint would interfere with the assistance/service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks. If an assistance/ service animal is not tethered, it must be otherwise under the individual’s control, whether by voice control, signals, or other effective means. Individuals are responsible for ensuring the immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste, licensure, leash control, cleanup rules, animal health, and community relationships.

Although the College may not charge an individual with a disability an assistance/service animal surcharge, it may impose charges for damages caused by an assistance/service animal in the same manner the College imposes charges for damages caused by students. Individuals must comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including vaccination, licensure, animal health and leash laws, as well as the University’s rules in lease provisions regarding vaccination

Exceptions to Responsibilities of Individuals with Assistance/Service Animals Policy

The College may exclude an assistance/service animal from TCC campuses and locations if the animal is not housebroken, would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others, would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others, would fundamentally alter the nature of an activity, program or service, or is not being cared for by the individual.

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