Policy Number: C12.0


The Rehabilitation Act

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, reaffirmed by the 1992 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), was created to protect the rights of the population who have disabilities. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act specifically applies to colleges and universities and it has a direct impact on our day-to-day activities.

It is every faculty and staff member's responsibility to become familiar with the law and make reasonable accommodations. More importantly, we want to continue to do everything reasonable to assist our many talented and skilled persons with disabilities in reaching their potential.

What is Section 504? How does it directly relate to students and academic programs?

Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act states that "no otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States . . . shall solely by reason of his/her handicap be excluded from the participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." Subpart E of Section 504 is applicable to all post secondary educational programs and activities which receive federal financial assistance. Colleges and universities must be free from discrimination in their recruitment, admissions and treatment of students.

An "otherwise qualified handicapped person" is defined as one who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the university's programs and activities. This may include students who are Deaf or hard of hearing or who have orthopedic, speech, or learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cancer, cerebral palsy, blindness, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, AIDS, mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction in remission, heart disease, or epilepsy.

How Does This Law Impact Teaching and Support Services?

For college students with disabilities, academic adjustments may be needed to insure maximal participation. These adjustments may include the use of auxiliary equipment and support staff. Students with disabilities may request academic modifications that allow for their maximal participation. If appropriate, students will present faculty with a "Disability Services Agreement" from the Disability Services Office that lists their accommodations.

Teaching methods and examinations may need to be modified to accommodate students with disabilities.

RIT is committed to fostering an environment where students and faculty/staff with disabilities have the same access to academic programs, support services, social events, and physical facilities as other members of the RIT community. RIT has adopted a set of guiding principles and a set of procedures for providing students and faculty/staff members with appropriate accommodations so that they can successfully study and work at RIT.

Information regarding the process for requesting and receiving accommodations can be obtained from the Disability Services Coordinator's Office (Student Alumni Union, Room 1150, telephone 475-6988 TTY, www.rit.edu/dso). This information outlines the requirements for documentation. This information is available from the Office of Admissions, the Office of Human Resources and the Disability Services Coordinator's Office.

Decisions addressing requests for accommodations are based on the following guiding principles:

Students with disabilities may request academic modifications that allow for their maximal participation. Examples of reasonable and timely accommodations include the following:

Where can the resources regarding Section 504 be found?

Questions about accommodations for students with disabilities can be addressed to the RIT Disabilities Coordinator at 585-475-6988. Visit the web site at: www.rit.edu/dso.

The above information is excerpted from a publication on Section 504 published by AHEAD, Association of Higher Education and Disability. Individuals wishing more information about Section 504 may contact AHEAD directly at Box 21192, Columbus, Ohio 43221, (614) 488-4972 (V/TTY).

Responsible Office: Disability Services Coordinator

Effective Date: Approved September 1992

Policy History: