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Section of 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

To: RIT Faculty and Staff
From: Stan McKenzie, Provost
Date: 5 September 2005
Subject: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
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The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, reaffirmed by the 1992 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), was created to protect the rights of people with disabilities. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act specifically applies to colleges and universities and can have a direct impact on our day-to-day activities. The information below, "The Facts about Section 504 in the Classroom," describes in more detail the law, how it impacts the classroom, modifications that can be made to comply with the law, and resources available to assist in understanding the law. Please take the time to read this information carefully. If you need further information or have questions, contact Susan Ackerman, Coordinator of Disability Services, at extension 5-7804 Voice/TTY or by e-mail at smacst@rit.edu.

It is every faculty member's responsibility to become familiar with the law and to provide 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. The statement below has been developed to reach out to students with different academic needs and should be read by faculty to their classes during the first week of the quarter.

"RIT is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. If you need accommodations such as special seating, testing modifications, and note taking services, please go to the Disability Services Office. It is located in the Eastman Building, Room 2342. After you receive accommodation approval, it is imperative that you see me during office hours so that we can work out whatever arrangement is necessary."

Below you will find listed the Coordinator of Disability Services and the names and telephone numbers of the Disability Liaisons in each college.

Disability Services Coordinator:

Susan Ackerman 5-7804 (V/TTY)

Disability Liaisons:

Kathy Estabrooks, COB 5-6085
Gail Quartieri, CAST 5-5435
Debbie Kingsbury, CIAS 5-5154
Fredda Bishop, KGCOE 5-4595
Glenn Kist, CLA 5-2446
Ellie Rosenfield 5-7496
Ann Gottorff, COS 5-5327
Pat Whalley, GCCIS 5-4779

THE FACTS ABOUT SECTION 504 IN THE CLASSROOM

WHAT IS SECTION 504?

In 1973 The Rehabilitation Act was passed; Section 504 of this act states that "no otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States . . . shall solely by reason of his/her handicap, be denied the benefits, 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 Institute's programs and activities. This may include students who are Deaf or hard of hearing or who have orthopedic or speech problems, dyslexia, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, blindness, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, AIDS, mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, heart disease or epilepsy.

HOW DOES THIS LAW IMPACT THE CLASSROOM?

For college students with disabilities, academic adjustments may be needed to insure maximal participation. These adjustments may include adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted, the use of auxiliary equipment and support staff, and modification in academic requirements. These students may need support services or programs that can provide them with sufficient flexibility to meet the demands of a post secondary institution.

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

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

Extended test time. Test in an alternative location with a proctor.
Use of alternative methods for students to demonstrate course mastery.
Use of basic four function calculators and standard desk dictionaries during examinations. Utilization of computer software programs to assist in test-taking and study skills development when appropriate.
Provision for readers, scribes or note takers.
Removal of structural or architectural barriers or disturbances.
WHERE CAN THE RESOURCES REGARDING SECTION 504 BE FOUND?

Questions about accommodations for students with disabilities can be addressed to Susan Ackerman, Coordinator of the Disability Services at x5-7804 Voice/TTY. Visit the website at: www.rit.edu/~371www.

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).

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