Faculty and Staff Information

Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities are represented in every department/division and field of study on our campus. With the steady increase in numbers, chances are that every advisor will be faced with some decisions regarding how to handle a student’s disability-related issues. This section includes information on the disability accommodations provided at Minot State through Access Services.

Accommodating Students with Disabilities

The mission of Access Services is to assist faculty in providing equal access in the classroom to students with documented disabilities while maintaining academic standards.

Access Services determines a student’s eligibility for reasonable accommodations and identifies the specific accommodations each student is authorized to use. Once accommodations have been authorized, it is the student’s responsibility to request and discuss the accommodations with faculty members and make any necessary final arrangements for their provision.

If not sure how to respond to a request, faculty members are encouraged to consult with Access Services about what is reasonable before getting back to the student.

Faculty members should include a disability access statement on each course syllabus. Access Services recommends the following:

Disability Statement: In coordination with the Access Services, reasonable accommodations will be provided for qualified students with disabilities (LD, Orthopedic, Hearing, Visual, Speech, Psychological, ADD/ADHD, Health Related, TBI, PTSD and Other). Please meet with the instructor during the first week of class to make arrangements. Accommodations and alternative format print materials (large print, audio, disk or Braille) are available through the Access Services, located on campus at the lower level of the Gordon B Olson Library, by calling 701-858-3372, or by e-mail at kelli.c.sem@ndus.edu. Students with disabilities can request their accommodations anytime during the semester.

Other Considerations

Videos/DVDs: To ensure that videos and DVDs are accessible for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, check to see if captioning is present or there is a captioned version available.
Contact Access Services for assistance with scripting or captioning your video/DVD. If the student is blind, review the video/DVD to see if some of the visual content will need a verbal description.

Accessible Seating: If the reason a student requests an accessible table or chair is obvious, there is no reason to contact Access Services for verification of need. In addition, some students may not have a disability-related need but do need a table and chair (e.g., a person of large stature). Faculty members can make these arrangements directly with Facilities Management.

Universal Design: Access Services encourages faculty to use Universal Design principles to make courses accessible and welcoming to a diverse population, including students with disabilities. Examples of common practices that reflect universal access are: faculty members posting notes online and scheduling longer time periods for testing when time is not essential to the assessment. These practices give some students with disabilities the option to manage their accommodation minimizing the involvement of Access Services or the instructor. However, involvement is necessary when students require more specific accommodations or if authorized accommodations are at odds with the essential requirements of a course.

The Law - Section 504 and 508

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, a person with a disability is defined as any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity as compared to the average person in the general population. Individuals who have a record of a disability, or are regarded as having such a disability, have certain protections under the law and cannot be subject to discrimination.

  1. Students with disabilities have the right to be in higher education if they are otherwise qualified to be there. Once a student with a disability has met the university entrance or admission criteria, with or without the use of accommodations he/she has the same right as any other student to the educational experience. Just like any other student, those with disabilities are responsible for determining their own level of success.
  2. Once they are enrolled, students with disabilities have the right to access all programs, academic and non-academic, that are available to other students. Instructors cannot refuse to work with a student simply because they know he/she has a disability or because they are concerned that having a disability would prevent him/her from being successful. Furthermore, students with disabilities should be held to the same set of standards and criteria as students without disabilities.
  3. Students with disabilities are eligible for some accommodations that relate to their disabilities. Instructors need to be prepared to make adaptations or reasonable accommodations to their procedures and practices so that students with disabilities are able to do the same things that other college students are required to do. This may include altering or making changes in the delivery of lecture or course materials or in the assessment of knowledge in order to counter the effects of the disability.
  4. Students with disabilities have a right to confidentiality of all disability-related information. As a result, there may be times when faculty and instructors may receive a request for an accommodation(s) without being told who the accommodation(s) is/are for. Other times, the student may approach their instructor and tell them that he/she has a disability that will require some accommodation(s).

    In either case, information about a student’s disability or accommodation(s) should not be shared with others without the student’s permission. It is up to the student to decide how much information he/she is comfortable sharing about his/her disability.

    All parties involved in providing accommodations; including students, faculty members, and institutions of higher education, have a unique set of rights and responsibilities. For more information on what these are, see the Access Services website Participant Handbook Section 2 Responsibilities.

Some disabilities that may require accommodations include but are not limited to: Blindness/Visual Impairment, Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, Deafness/Hearing Impairment, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Heart Disease, HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Orthopedic/Mobility Impairment, Psychiatric Disability, Specific Learning Disability, Speech/Language Impairment, Substance Abuse Recovery, Traumatic Brain Injury.

Thoughts on Confidentiality

Faculty members do not have the right to challenge the legitimacy of a student’s disability, demand to review diagnostic information, refuse to provide accommodations, or refuse to work with a student because he/she has a disability. Concerns regarding an accommodation request should be discussed with the Access Services.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Law

  1. Are students with disabilities required to meet the same academic standards as other students?
    Yes! Students with disabilities must meet the same admissions and retention standards as is required of other students. Students who have academic difficulty due to a disability or illness may appeal a denial of admission or a retention decision at which time disability information may be used by the appeal committee to make a final decision. The appeal committee may offer provisional admission or retention. There are no quotas related to students with disabilities.
  2. How will these students cope in the workforce if accommodations are provided at the university?
    The purpose of accommodations in postsecondary education is to level the playing field for students in an academic setting and allow the student to receive an education without discrimination. Accommodations in employment are often similar to those in postsecondary education. Employers also provide reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In both cases, individuals with disabilities must meet the same performance criteria as others.
  3. What is a disability and who is eligible for services from the Access Services?
    The ADA defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. Individuals who have a history of such an impairment or have been regarded by others as having an impairment are also protected from discrimination under the ADA. Access Services serves students who meet the eligibility guidelines of the institution. These guidelines are defined by each institution based on several factors, including the definition of disabilities set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Incidentally, students do not need to be U.S. citizens to be eligible for services.
  4. The ADA refers to “reasonable accommodations.” But, what does that mean?
    Reasonable accommodations are adaptations aimed at mitigating the impact of the disability without compromising the integrity of the academic program or course. Accommodations may include instructional strategies, adaptive technology, or aides such as sign language interpreters. Providing reasonable accommodations enables students with disabilities to have equal access to education and services in higher education as required by federal law.
  5. Accommodations should:
    • Level the playing field for students with disabilities.
    • Be reasonable in relation to the course.

  6. Accommodations should not:
    • Water down curricula or compromise academic integrity.
    • Substantially change any essential elements of the curriculum or academic program.
    • Ensure that all students with disabilities are successful. Rather, students should be given the opportunity to determine their own level of success or failure.
    • Consume extra personal time from the instructor to re-teach or tutor the student.