Welcome to Student Accessibility Services

 

Mission Statement


The mission of Student Accessibility Services (SAS) is to ensure that students with disabilities are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the programs, services, and activities of The University of the South through the identification and enactment of reasonable modifications to institutional policies and procedures, the provision of auxiliary aids and services, and the establishment of innovative educational services.  The University is committed to a culture of inclusivity that embraces students of all means and backgrounds.

SAS seeks to create an environment wherein the nature and degree of access to programs, services, and facilities, and the level of self-determination afforded qualified persons with disabilities are indistinguishable from those which are available to their peers without disabilities. Students with disabilities are afforded access as immediately and unobtrusively as possible at the point of institutional contact and are recognized for their abilities, rather than their disabilities, or stereotypical attributes ascribed to their respective physical or mental impairments.

 

Please use the categories below to find more information on the Accessibility department.

How to Apply for Accommodations

 

Accommodation Request

Self-Identifying and Requesting Accommodations

Student Accessibility Services is dedicated to the provision of services, resources, and programs to facilitate equal learning and working opportunities for students with disabilities at The University of the South.

Students seeking accommodations are required to self-identify their disability and need for accommodations with Student Accessibility Services. Student Accessibility Services will not seek out students with disabilities. Students may self-identify at any point during the semester.

 

Time of Request

To be considered for accommodations, please complete and submit our SAS Accommodations Packet with the appropriate supporting documentation to Student Accessibility Services. This request should be made a minimum of 21 days prior to the start of the semester in which you are requesting accommodations. You are urged to submit the intake application at your earliest opportunity. Prompt submissions ensure adequate time to access and make reasonable accommodations, as some requests may need additional time to be provided. Please note that accommodations are not retroactive.

Please see the Housing Accommodations section for information related to the deadlines specific to requests for housing accommodations.

 

Documentation Guidelines

Documentation of the disability are required by SAS from students seeking accommodations. It is a vital part of the accommodation process which equips the department with the ability to make an informed decision regarding the need for accommodations and the type of accommodations that may best serve the student.

The University of the South’s documentation guidelines is guided by the recommendations of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD). Documentation from external sources may include educational or medical records, reports, and assessments created by health care providers, school psychologists, teachers, or the educational system. This information is inclusive of documents that reflect education and accommodation history, such as Individual Education Program (IEP), Summary Of Performance (SOP), and teacher observations.

The required documentation may vary depending on the nature of a student’s disability. Its relevance and value are dependent on the original context, credentials of the evaluator, the level of detail provided, and the comprehensiveness of the narrative. SAS will be unable to proceed with intake unless the appropriate supporting documentation is provided. In the course of the review process, SAS may request additional documentation.

 

Process for Reviewing Accommodation Requests

During the intake process, the University engages in an interactive process to determine appropriate and reasonable accommodations. This process involves the Director of Student Accessibility Services, the student, and the student’s treating health care provider(s).

The Director of Student Accessibility Services will review the student’s request for accommodations and the supporting documentation provided.  Information submitted will be discussed during the student’s intake. When deemed necessary, Student Accessibility Services may request additional documentation from the student. 

While reviewing the student’s request for accommodations, the Director of Student Accessibility Services will first determine whether the student has a disability, as defined by the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Once disability status has been established, a determination regarding reasonable accommodations will be made and whether the student requires one or more reasonable accommodations and, if so, what those accommodations should be. In conducting the assessment, the granted accommodations will be discussed with the student and the student’s perspective on their needs will be considered. The final decision as to which accommodations may be reasonable rests with the Director of Accessibility Services. Students have the right to appeal any accommodations decision via the University’s Grievance and Appeal Process (information listed under that section below).

 

Accommodation Letter

Upon completion of the review process, a student who has been granted accommodations will be provided with an Accommodations Letter that describes the approved accommodations. A SAS staff member will review the letter with the student.  Upon receipt of the letter, the student should schedule a meeting with faculty to discuss the specific accommodations outlined in the letter and how they will be implemented. It is in the best interest of the student to do this early in the semester, as accommodations are not retroactive.

 

Information on Temporary Accommodations


Temporary Disabilities

Although Student Accessibility Services works primarily with students with permanent disabilities and chronic medical conditions, our office also serves students with a wide variety of temporary injuries due to accident, illness, hospitalization/surgery, or other situations which are not considered a disability under ADA. As a result, academic adjustments may be recommended for students with temporary injuries (e.g., broken bones, concussions, recovery from surgery). These students may benefit from services SAS can coordinate.

Students who are requesting additional support must submit medical documentation in order to be considered for any academic accommodations. In addition, students who anticipate being away from campus because of a scheduled surgery or hospitalization may find it helpful to contact the Dean of Students Office in order to prepare for potential assistance which may be needed upon their return to campus.

 

How to Register

If you have a temporary injury and need support services, please call Student Accessibility Services at 931-598-1325 to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. All students are required to have appropriate documentation from their physician and a completed SAS Accommodations Packet.  All students with temporary injuries are encouraged to check-in with University Health Services if they have not already done so. Students should also notify their advisors and/or professors of their situation as soon as possible.

Please note that SAS does not provide assistance with transportation around campus. 

 

Additional Information for Housing Accommodations


Housing Accommodations Deadlines and Additional Requirements


Residential Life collaborates with Student Accessibility Services to coordinate housing accommodations for students with disabilities that impact one's living situation. To be considered for housing accommodations, the student must submit a completed intake packet for disability accommodations, with supporting documentation, to SAS.  Please see the section on How to Apply for Accommodations above.

 

  • In addition to filing an application for a disability accommodation and submitting the supporting documentation, students must meet all housing deposit deadlines.

  • First-year and transfer students must submit the application for disability accommodations and supporting documentation by May 15.

  • Returning students must complete the application for disability accommodations and supporting documentation by January 1.

  • Any enrolled student who has a disability and would like to request special housing should submit an application for disability accommodations to SAS as quickly as possible.


Students requesting housing accommodations are advised to contact Residential Life and submit the application and supporting documentation to Student Accessibility Services as soon as possible. Students must always be mindful of housing deadlines, policies, and deposit requirements. Reasonable and appropriate accommodations depend upon the disability, the housing environment, and the steps necessary to create equal access for one's living situation. Requested accommodations need not be granted if it is deemed unreasonable if alternative accommodations are available, and/or if the student has already received desired placement through the normal room assignment processes.

Please be advised that single rooms are reserved for individuals with specific living needs. The housing accommodation process considers access for living purposes only and not for other aspects of the college experience, such as studying. In general, diagnoses such as ADD/ADHD or Specific Learning Disability do not lend themselves to single room accommodations.  A single room cannot guarantee a quiet environment. There are many options on campus where a student can study in an environment suitable for one's situation. We will evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis.

The provision of housing accommodations does not guarantee any request for a specific residence hall or theme housing. The University will make every attempt to provide the most appropriate housing assignment. Prompt submissions ensure adequate time to assess an accommodations request. Applications and documents received after housing deadlines may affect any assignment provided.  Implementation of a housing accommodations is subject to available inventory at any given time.

Information on Emotional Support Animals or Service Animals

 

Service and Support Animals on Campus

The University of the South complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in allowing the use of service animals by students, staff, faculty and visitors while on campus.  The University also complies with the Fair Housing Act in allowing students the use of support animals that are approved as an accommodation in student residence. Consistent with its obligations under the Tennessee Fair Housing Act (FHA), students may request to bring a support animal as a disability accommodation. Below is information describing the policies, procedures and offices responsible for evaluating and approving the use of service animals and support animals on campus.


Policies

The University of the South has a “no pet policy” in student residences.  Students with disabilities may request an exception to the policy by requesting a disability related accommodation. The following policies have been developed to provide guidance for students with disabilities with a process for requesting and evaluating animal-related accommodations:

 

Definitions


Emotional Support Animal.
  
Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are animals that provide emotional support and alleviate one or more identified symptoms or effects of an individual’s existing disability. To be considered an accommodation, an ESA must be required by an individual with a disability, in their residence, in order for the individual to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their residence/dwelling. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support are Emotional Support Animals, not Service Animals.

Neither dangerous, poisonous, nor illegal animals, nor any animal that poses a direct threat to the health and/or safety of the campus community, will be permitted as ESAs. Size restrictions may also apply.


Service Animal. A Service Animal is a dog or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. Service Animals include, but are not limited to: guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf/hard of hearing, and Service Animals for individuals with physical disabilities and seizure disorders. Service Animals/service dogs are not considered “pets” and are explicitly permitted under state and federal civil rights laws. 


Therapy Animal. A therapy animal is an animal owned by a therapist and selected to play an integral part of a person’s treatment process. A therapy animal is prescribed to an individual with a disability by a healthcare or mental health professional. A therapy animal is not a Service Animal; a therapy animal does not assist a person with a disability with activities of daily living, nor does it accompany a person with a disability at all times. Therapy animals are not allowed in University housing.


Pet. A pet is an animal kept for pleasure and companionship. A pet is not considered an Emotional Support Animal or Service Animal. Individuals are not permitted to keep pets on University property or bring pets into University buildings without authorization.

 

Students Requesting Service or Support Animals

Students using service animals are permitted in all campus buildings, including university housing. Students using support animals are restricted to the individual’s assigned housing unit and are not permitted in other campus buildings. Students requesting a support animal while on campus must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) and receive approval prior to bringing the animal to campus. Students must submit their request and appropriate supporting documentation (as needed) for evaluation. If a disability is not obvious, SAS will require documentation from a licensed health care provider.  Support animals brought to campus before approval are subject to the University's pet policy and any related penalties.

Students utilizing a service animal should contact SAS prior to bringing the animal to campus.

Students approved for the use of a service or support animal must adhere to University guidelines regarding responsibilities of owner. Residential Life will review these guidelines with the owner and will work closely with the student to identify housing options based on availability.  Approved animals must meet community and campus health standards, including being current on any state required vaccinations and being neutered or spayed.

 

Visitors Requesting Service or Support Animals

Visitors should note that the University restricts pets and support animals from public spaces on campus, with the exception of service animals. Visitors accompanied by their service animal shall be accommodated in all public spaces such as auditoriums, athletic venues, cafeterias, etc. Visitors must adhere to University guidelines regarding the use of a service animal while on campus.

If frequent and/or prolonged visits will occur, such as attending conferences, participation in a summer program, etc., visitors should contact Student Accessibility Services to coordinate their accommodation request. Medical documentation from a licensed healthcare provider may be requested if a disability is not obvious.

 

Reporting Concerns Regarding Service or Support Animals

The University of the South may require any individual to promptly remove any service or support animal from campus that does not abide by the above requirements and expectations, or that poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. In such an event, the individual, but not the animal, will remain welcome on campus; and the University will need to engage in an interactive discussion with the individual with a disability to determine whether an alternative form of accommodation can be implemented.

University officials may also report any service or support animal to the city and county animal control authorities which it reasonably believes is not being maintained in compliance with animal health and safety provisions, or any instance where the University believes that an animal is being abused by the person it serves.

Emergencies related to service or support animals: Dial 911 immediately for any emergency, health or safety concern related to any animal posing a direct threat to the health or safety of anyone on campus.

To report a concern of discrimination on the basis of disability or those who may not have received a disability-related accommodation, please contact the ADA Coordinator.

 

 

Additional Information on Dining Accommodations

 

Dining Service Accommodations

The University of the South is a residential campus with a required meal plan.  We recognize that certain food-related conditions, such as an autoimmune disease like celiac disease or allergies to foods like shellfish, wheat, milk, peanuts, or eggs, constitute a disability for some students. The University encourages students to socialize over meals as part of their campus experience.  To this end, Sewanee dining makes reasonable, but substantial, accommodations for students who have food-related disabilities that limit their opportunities to fully participate in meal-plan offerings. Students are expected to take an active role in managing their dietary concerns and to work with Student Accessibility Services and Sewanee Dining to realize the benefit of the meal plan to the fullest extent possible.  Special service accommodations will be the result of an interactive process among the student, the Director of Dining Services or their designee, and Student Accessibility Services.

When visiting dining facilities students are to inquire ONLY with Sewanee Dining management regarding menus, recipe ingredients, service accommodations, or any other aspect of their dietary disability.  Depending on the severity of the disability, a student may be directed by dining management to menu items planned for service that meal period that addresses their restrictions. As necessary, food will be prepared separately of other food preparation in the dining hall to avoid problem food ingredients and to reduce the risk of food cross-contamination.  Other possible accommodations, depending on specific circumstances, might include certain meal plan revisions.


Dining accommodation request procedure:

The student will contact Student Accessibility Services and request a meeting with a staff member. During this meeting, the student and SAS professional will discuss Sewanee Dining service accommodations based upon the submitted request and supporting information from the student. SAS may request additional supporting documentation.

The student will make an appointment with the Director of Dining Services to review the service accommodations requested to the meal plan and to determine suitable meal options.  The student and the Director of Dining Services will discuss specific details pertaining to the student’s options and responsibilities as stated above. The Director of Dining Services will communicate to the Student Accessibility Services Review Committee the outcome of that meeting and their ability to reasonably accommodate the student’s request.

The Student Accessibility Services Review Committee will meet to determine and finalize reasonable accommodations.  If granted, the student will be given a meal plan accommodation letter detailing the specific service plan tailored to the student’s dietary requirements.  It is the student’s responsibility to take the accommodation letter to the Director of Dining Services.
It is the student’s responsibility to notify SAS of any changes in the requested accommodations during their enrollment in the university.

Accommodations while Studying Abroad

 

Students With Disabilities Studying Abroad

The University of the South strives to create an inclusive environment that responds effectively to the needs of students. Any student planning to study abroad who may need an accommodation based on the impact of their disability should discuss their plans to study abroad with Student Accessibility Services. This will provide an opportunity early on in the information gathering and application process to discuss, determine, and arrange specific accommodations. While you do not need to disclose your diagnosis or information related to your disability you should consult with the Office of Global Citizenship about the need and implementation of accommodations.

Please note: Study Abroad/Away programs are not obligated to meet a request for accommodations without prior notification of the need. Formal notification of need and necessary accommodations would come from the Student Accessibility Services office.

 

The choice to use accommodations is the student’s. Please carefully consider the needs you may have that will allow you to have full access to the study abroad experience.

 

The student will:

  • Research study abroad programs

  • Meet all required deadlines

  • Disclose and provide documentation of disability to SAS within the planning process to study abroad

  • Communicate needs to SAS and Study Abroad staff as planning accommodations requires extra preparation time to ensure equal access

 

SAS will:

  • Serve as a resource for students with disabilities that are researching accommodation options for studying abroad

  • Ensure the student's right to confidentiality regarding disability-related matters

  • Review student's documentation and determine appropriate accommodations for study abroad

  • Make any recommendations to the Office of Global Citizenship regarding the student’s need(s)

 

For more information and to schedule an appointment with Student Accessibility Services call 931-598-1325 or email at sas@sewanee.edu



Personal Care Attendants

 

Personal Care Attendants

A student with a disability who anticipates needing a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) should contact the University of the South’s Residential Life office and Student Accessibility Services as soon as they make a deposit to reserve a space in the residence halls. A formal application for disability accommodations, with supporting documentation, must be completed by the student and submitted to SAS stating the requested accommodation. A SAS staff member will review all documentation to determine if the request for a PCA to live in University housing or be granted access to University housing and facilities is a reasonable accommodation.

A Personal Care Attendant (PCA)  is a person who has been hired to support a student with a disability to live a more independent life by performing personal care duties or services. A PCA works directly for and is employed by the student with a disability. The kind of tasks a PCA performs is comparable to those that a family member or medical personnel would perform and will vary from person to person.

 

Policy and Procedures

Any student that requires the service of a PCA must initiate contact with Student Accessibility Services and the Office of Residential Life at least 4 weeks in advance. Students must follow these guidelines to arrange services.

 

Submit Documentation

Students must provide medical documentation from the appropriate professional to verify that the requested accommodation related to the student’s current medical condition is necessary for the student to live in University housing. SAS will review this documentation, and, if needed, may seek further clarification from the student and their physician or medical professional regarding the request for accommodation.

 

Register PCA

The PCA must register with SAS. A copy of the agreement between the PCA or the PCA’s agency should be submitted at this time. The agreement could cover a specific person or the agency providing services. The agreement must specify that the services required by the student will be provided by the PCA. The PCA and student will also be required to sign the University’s PCA Policy and Agreement.

 

Background Check

The student must submit a current copy of their PCA’s criminal background check to Residential Life. The student is responsible for notifying Residential Life if the personal attendant is charged with any crimes that would create a concern of safety by the university community. If a criminal background check is not submitted or if there is any question or concern about the PCA’s criminal history, Residential Life has the authority to conduct a criminal background check of the PCA at the expense of the student.

 

Compliance

PCA(s) are required to follow all University rules, regulations, policies, and procedures. PCA(s) determined not to be abiding by this policy can be immediately removed from campus, regardless of the contractual arrangement with the student. In this situation, the University will notify the student of the issue as soon as possible.

 

***Students should have a backup plan in mind should the primary PCA become ill or is otherwise unable to attend class or scheduled activity in which the student wants to participate.

 

Rights and Responsibilities

 

Students with disabilities have the right to:

  • Full and equal participation in the services and activities of The University of the South

  • Reasonable accommodations and accessible programs and services

  • Privacy–confidential information will not be freely disseminated throughout the campus

 

Students with disabilities have the responsibility to:

  • Meet qualifications and maintain essential institutional standards for courses, programs, services, jobs, and activities

  • Identify as an individual with a disability when an accommodation is needed and to seek information, counsel, and assistance as necessary

  • Demonstrate and/or document how the disability limits their participation in courses, programs, services, jobs, and activities

  • Follow published procedures for obtaining reasonable accommodations, academic/work adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services, or when requesting barrier removal

 

The University of the South has the right to:

  • Establish essential functions, abilities, skills, knowledge, and standards for courses, programs, services, jobs, and activities or facilities and to evaluate individuals with disabilities on this basis

  • Determine the appropriate standards in developing, constructing, remodeling, and maintaining facilities; Confirm disability status and use an interactive process to determine whether requests for accommodations, academic/work adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services are reasonable

  • Select among equally effective accommodations, academic/work adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services; and Refuse unreasonable accommodations, academic/work adjustments or auxiliary aids and services, and/or facility-related barrier removal requests

 

The University of the South has the responsibility to:

  • Provide information in accessible formats upon request (please refer to the accommodations section on Time of Request for additional information)

  • Ensure that courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities, when considered in their entirety, are available and usable in the most integrated and appropriate settings

  • Respond to requests on a timely basis

  • Provide or arrange reasonable accommodations, academic/work adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services in courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities

  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communication except where permitted or required by law

Our Statement of Confidentiality

Statement of Confidentiality

Student records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

The University of the South respects the confidential nature of disability-related information. The University is obligated to maintain the confidentiality of such documentation.

Access to disability-related information by University personnel is on a need-to-know basis and only for the purpose of assuring appropriate accommodations. Instructors are regularly apprised of the confidential nature of disability-related information. Letters of Accommodation prepared by SAS do not give specific diagnoses. A list of the approved academic accommodations for that student is sufficient. 

On a legitimate, educational need-to-know basis, SAS may discuss the impact or impairments caused by the disability and the corresponding accommodations approved with appropriate individuals on campus. Circumstances may include housing arrangements, academic accommodations, instructional strategies, and resources or other circumstances specific to the individual. Whenever possible, SAS consults with the student prior to these conversations.

The University of the South and SAS are prohibited by law from releasing any disability-related records or personally identifying information to any entity outside of the University of the South, including documentation provided to SAS by the student unless the student provides written permission or there is a court order. Students may request or approve the release of such information to persons or agencies outside of the University by signing a Release of Information. Entities outside the University includes parents of students over the age of 18. To discuss student-specific information with parents, a specific release of information must be signed by the student and placed in a student's file.

 

Grievance Procedure


Student Accessibility Services Grievance Procedure

The University of the South prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities and protects qualified individuals with a disability from discrimination of services, program, or activities by providing equal educational access. To further that commitment, procedures have been developed and implemented for students seeking to file a grievance within the University.

Student-Instructor Grievance

If the student and instructor come to a disagreement regarding their approved accommodations, the student is encouraged to discuss their concerns with the Director of Student Accessibility Services. The Director of Student Accessibility Services will attempt to resolve the matter by addressing the faculty member, involved parties, and/or appropriate department chair. The student and other involved parties will be notified by Student Accessibility Services with a resolution typically within ten (10) business days.


A student may take further action if they do not believe that the matter has been resolved by notifying the Associate Dean of the College for Undergraduate Academic Affairs with disability-related academic concerns, the Dean of Students for disability-related non-academic concerns, and the ADA Coordinator for matters regarding discrimination based on disability.


Grievance Against Student Accessibility Services

The student is encouraged to resolve their complaint with the Director of Student Accessibility Services before filing a formal grievance. If a resolution cannot be reached, the student should contact the ADA Coordinator to further discuss and seek a resolution. After conducting an investigation, the ADA Coordinator will inform the student and involved parties of the progress and findings within ten (10) business days. A student has the right to bypass the Student Accessibility Services and go directly to the ADA Coordinator for resolution.


Office of Civil Rights- Department of Education

As per the U.S. Department of Education, “prior to filing a complaint with OCR against an institution, a potential complainant may want to find out about the institution’s grievance process and use that process to have the complaint resolved. However, a complainant is not required by law to use the institutional grievance process before filing a complaint with OCR. If a complainant uses an institutional grievance process and also chooses to file the complaint with OCR, the complaint must be filed with OCR within 60 days after completion of the institutional grievance process.”

Additional information can be found at: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html