Purpose: To establish uniform guidelines in order to promote a work and educational environment at American University of Health Sciences (AUHS)that is free of discrimination, harassment or retaliation for people with disabilities and to ensure compliance with federal and state laws pertaining to qualified individuals with disabilities in all AUHS programs, services, and activities.
Applicability: This policy applies to students and student applicants.
I. Policy Statement The American University of Health Sciences (AUHS) Policy of Accommodations and Support Services to Students with disabilities prohibits unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation against students on the basis of a disability or a perceived disability in AUHS all programs, services, and activities, in accordance, with but not limited to, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA); Section 504 and 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; the Donahoe Higher Education Act; Education Code Section 67302 and 67310-13; and Sections 11135 and 12926 of the Government Code.
II. Definitions An individual with a disability is defined as any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits a major life activity, or has a record of such an impairment. The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures such as medication, medical supplies, equipment, or appliances, low-vision devices (which do not include ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses), prosthetics including limbs and devices, hearing aids and cochlear implants, or other implantable hearing devices, mobility devices, or oxygen therapy equipment and supplies; use of assistive technology; reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids or services; or learned behavioral or adaptive neurological modifications. Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. Major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions. Qualified individual with a disability means an individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or the participation in programs or activities provided by AUHS. It also means an individual with a disability who meets the academic and technical standards requisite for admission or participation in the education programs of the AUHS campuses. This includes students with disabilities participating in clinical or field placements that are offered as part of a program’s field of study. The ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act require AUHS to provide appropriate and reasonable academic and employment accommodations to students with disabilities unless doing so would create an undue hardship, compromise the health and safety of members of the community, or fundamentally alter the nature of the University’s employment or academic mission. As described more fully herein, the University engages in an interactive process with the student to determine disability status and accommodation needs.
III. AUHS Disability Categories for Reporting Purposes For reporting purposes, an individual shall be counted only in one category, that of the primary dysfunction. [Although ADA guidelines and California state law do not require that universities provide accommodations to students with temporary disabilities, AUHS may decide on a case-by-case basis to provide accommodations and support to temporarily disabled students. These students do not constitute a separate category but shall be reported in one of the disability categories based on the nature of their disability. In accordance with the ADA Standards,] AUHS has established nine broad disability categories to be used for accommodation and reporting purposes:
A. Visual limitation: Blindness or partial sight to the degree that it impedes the educational process and may necessitate accommodations, support services, or programs.
B. Communication disability: Limitations in the speech and/or hearing processes that impede the educational process and may necessitate accommodations, support services, or programs.
C. Deaf and Hard of Hearing: Limitation in the hearing process that impedes the educational process and necessitates accommodations, support services, or programs. Students in this category may require communication accommodation such as oral or sign language interpreters, note taking services, or real-time captioning services.
D. Mobility limitation: Limitation in locomotion or motor functions that indicates a need for accommodations, support services, or programs. Included in this category are persons who have asthma, cardiovascular problems, or other physical limitations that restrict the ability to function without accommodation in the campus environment.
E. Learning disability: A generic term that refers to the heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities presumed to be due to central nervous system dysfunction. Although a learning disability may exist concomitantly with other disabling conditions (e.g., sensory impairment) or environmental influences (e.g., cultural/language differences or conditions defined in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), the learning disability is not the direct result of those conditions or influences.
F. Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD): A neuro-cognitive disorder characterized by inattention, restlessness, impulsivity, and behavioral dysregulation, or a combination of these. Problems with focus and attention manifest as chronic problems with concentration, organizing work, planning, sustaining effort, and utilizing short-term memory. AD/HD is not the result of a psychological or psychiatric disorder, such as schizophrenia, chronic depression, or a personality disorder.
G. Acquired Brain Injury: External or internal trauma to the brain, before or after birth from environmental injury, alcohol or drug abuse, stroke, infections, tumors, or oxygen deprivation, which results in functional limitation in cognition (i.e., memory, language, attention and concentration, executive functions), mood, and motor coordination.
H. Psychological or Psychiatric Disability: Chronic and persistent mental illnesses as categorized by the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, that impede the educational process and may necessitate accommodations, support services or programs.
I. Other Functional Limitations: Any other disability, such as a dysfunction of a body part or process or a neurological disability that necessitates accommodations, support services, or programs, and that does not fall within the categories listed above.
A. The AUHS Provost or his/her designee shall have the primary responsibility for ensuring that all campus programs, services, and activities are available to students with disabilities.
B. Authority to Determine Disability Status:
The Provost or his/her designee shall have the ultimate authority to determine the disability status of a student, and the decision shall be subject to the provisions below and to established appeal procedures. The Provost or his/her designee may, at his or her discretion, waive the student requirement of providing documentation of a disability (see below) for disabilities determined by the Provost or his/her designee to be evident.
C. It is the responsibility of the student to request an accommodation and to follow the processes set forth in the AUHS “Disability Notification and Accommodation Request” form. This form may be obtained from the Student Affairs/Student Services Department or online at www.auhs.edu/disabilitiesresources/materials. A student who does not request an accommodation will not be given one. Likewise, a student with a disability who chooses not to have any accommodations is under no obligation to seek or obtain one. Students with disabilities who require accommodations, aids, or services should submit the Disability Notification and accommodation Request form at least 6 weeks prior to the start of the quarter to the Director of Student Affairs/Student Services. Students who request accommodations must include health professional’s documentation to verify an impairment exists and to substantiate accommodations needed. Sources of documentation include a professional qualified to assess the nature and extent of the disability, or a recognized and reliable source that provides appropriate standards in the applicable field. Examples include a licensed physician, psychologist, audiologist, or a speech pathologist, or a licensed clinical social worker, rehabilitation counselor, marriage and family therapist, learning disability specialist, or other appropriate certified/licensed professional. The documentation will include a description of the student’s current impairment, an explanation of the student’s limitation on major life activity (ies) or bodily functions, suggested accommodations, and a statement that explains how the student’s identified functional limitations relate to the suggested accommodations. Students granted accommodations will receive a written approval within 5 school days of submission of their Disability Notification and Accommodation Request form setting forth the specific accommodation(s) granted. AUHS will make all reasonable efforts to respond to a Disability Notification and Accommodation Request forms and arrange for any granted requests before the quarter commences. However, AUHS cannot guarantee that late requests will be resolved by the first day of class. A student who submits a Disability Notification and Accommodation Request form with insufficient time for the University administration to address the request before the quarter commences may opt either to attend classes without the requested accommodation or to delay attending classes until the request is addressed. In the latter case, the student will be allowed to make up any course work or examinations with the approved accommodations when approved.
D. Confidentiality: AUHS shall maintain appropriate confidential records that identify students with disabilities. These records shall include the student’s name, address, campus student identification number, nature of disability, support services needed, and verifying statement of the director or designee of services to student with disabilities, and documentation provided by the student. All such records, including student medical records, shall be considered “education records” protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and its regulations. Although certain medical records are exempt from FERPA’s definition of “education records,” that exemption does not apply to student medical records maintained by a campus program for services to students with disabilities. Accordingly, confidential records will be protected in accordance with FERPA regulations with the purpose of providing appropriate academic accommodations or adaptation of curricula. Information about the student may be released with the student’s informed written consent in accordance with FERPA or other applicable legislation.
V. Student Accommodation Denial Appeal
A. Student Appeal Process Students denied a requested accommodation may appeal the decision through the University’s informal and formal dispute resolution process. AUHS has adopted and published grievance procedures providing for appropriate due-process procedures and for prompt and equitable dispute resolution.