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The College of St. Scholastica

The Center for Equal Access exists to foster an inclusive community for all students, with a focus on furthering the education, understanding, and promotion of students with disabilities.

We support the Social Model of Disability in our mission to celebrate the diversity of learners and embrace all abilities. We help students navigate through college with a disability or medical condition, assisting them to address challenges and find resources to aid them on their journey. We advocate on behalf of students and teach them the skills to advocate for themselves. We empower students to recognize that a disability is a difference, not a deficiency or limitation.

Any student who needs assistance in gaining equal access to classes or College resources due to physical, psychological, or learning disability, as well as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, a visual or hearing impairment and/or chronic medical condition should request assistance through this office. Contact us at access@css.edu to set up an appointment or for more information.

Information, Accommodations and Policies

Students and Disabilities in College

If you have a disability of chronic medical condition and would like to explore accommodations and resources, please visit the New Student Accommodations Request.

You can find more information regarding our office and accommodations by visiting The Center for Equal Access my.css page or by emailing us at access@css.edu.

What does it mean to have a disability?

A disability, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008, is “a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, having a record of such impairment, or being regarded as having such impairment.”

  • Major life activities that might be impacted by having a disability 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.
  • This definition also includes anyone with a chronic medical condition that affects the following areas:
    • Immune, Respiratory, Circulatory, Endocrine, Digestive, Reproductive, Neurological, Brain, Normal Cell Growth, Bowel, and Bladder

How is having a disability in college different than in high school?

While every student has challenges, students with a disability, diagnosis or chronic health condition that may impact their living and learning environment should examine what resources and opportunities are available to them to make their transition to college successful. There are some fundamental differences between high school and college, and it is important for you to know and understand these differences. Review the links to the right and the information below as you prepare to transition to college:

 

Obtaining Accommodations

How are academic accommodations determined?

The process of determining appropriate and reasonable accommodations is a three-pronged approach guided by the Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD):

  • Student Self-Report: Students will complete a narrative summarizing their understanding of their diagnosis, how it impacts or limits them in the academic or learning environment, and a list of requested accommodations and/or accommodations used in the past.
  • Meeting Discussion: The Center for Equal Access (the Center) and students will engage in an in-depth discussion of the self-report. They will review the student’s history with the diagnosis or condition, how it limits them and any other factors that may contribute to the situation.
  • Documentation: Documentation may be reviewed by the Center to assist in the determination of accommodations. Documentation and the practitioner must be relevant to the diagnosis/condition; it must include the history or duration, assessment of limitations or major life function based on the diagnosis, and any recommendations of accommodations.

Once this process has been completed, accommodations may be determined.

Accommodations are not
  • An unfair advantage.
  • Granted if they fundamentally alter the outcomes of the class.
  • Retroactive. The accommodation(s) begin once a student requests the letters of accommodation.
Related Notes
  • Prior or current accommodations in high school or at another college/university do not automatically mean the student will receive any accommodations or the same accommodations at The College of St. Scholastica.
  • Faculty and Staff will only provide academic accommodations that are recognized by The College.
  • Certain accommodations (e.g. alternative testing, auxiliary aids, consideration for absence or extended time, voluntary note-taker) have additional procedures which must be followed.

Academic Accommodations

What is an Academic Accommodation?

An academic accommodation is an adjustment to the delivery of course content made for a student with a disability to ensure equal opportunity to complete the outcomes of the course.

  • Accommodations include, but are not limited to, access to auxiliary aids and alternative methods participation, assignment completion, or testing.
Steps to Obtaining an Academic Accommodation:
  1. If this is your first time requesting accommodations, go to the New Student Accommodation Request Form. If you are already connected with our office, please submit a supplemental request form in Accommodate. You will be asked to submit documentation. If you have it upon submission of the request, please do so.
  2. Meet with a staff from The Center for Equal Access. The Center for Equal Access will contact you, once the new accommodation request was received, to schedule a meeting.

Clinical Accommodation

What is a Clinical Accommodation?

Clinical Accommodations are accommodations that are put into place in the clinical or field rotation setting.

Steps to Obtain a Clinical Accommodation:
  • If this is your first time requesting accommodations, go to the New Student Accommodation Request Form. If you are already connected with our office, please submit a supplemental request form in Accommodate. You will be asked to submit documentation. If you have it upon submission of the request, please do so.
  • Meet with a staff from The Center for Equal Access. The Center for Equal Access will contact you, once the new accommodation request is received, to schedule a meeting.
  • The Center staff will consult with the program chair or designee to ensure the accommodation request does not fundamentally alter the outcome of the clinical or field rotation.
  • The student is notified of the decision. If the accommodation is denied, the student is given a rationale. The Center staff will engage the student in discussing other equally effective accommodations.
  • The clinical site is then notified of the student’s accommodation through the program liaison of clinical or field rotations.

Housing Accommodation

What is a Housing Accommodation?

The College seeks to provide housing to students with all abilities and needs and will make necessary adjustments to living environments to students who disclose a disability or medical condition and warrant the adjustment. Housing accommodations may include but are not limited to: a single room accommodation, nut-free living environment, adjustments to the environment.

Steps to Obtain a Housing Accommodation:
  • A student must be a person with a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 and have the diagnosis for at least 6 months.
  • If this is your first time requesting accommodations, go to the New Student Accommodation Request Form. If you are already connected with our office, please submit a supplemental request form in Accommodate.
  • A student must provide proper documentation, the Housing Accommodation Request Form.
  • , from a licensed practitioner treating the disability, stating the functional limitations of a disability related to the housing environment. Equally effective documentation may be considered.
    • This completed Housing Accommodation Form must be delivered to the Center for Equal Access via email access@css.edu, confidential fax 218-625-4891 or mail The Center for Equal Access Box 2325 1200 Kenwood Avenue Duluth, Minnesota 55811.
  • Once documentation and the accommodations request are submitted, The Center for Equal Access will contact to schedule a meeting. Prior to this meeting you will need to complete a release of information for Residential Life.
  • Meet with an Access Specialist from The Center for Equal Access to review their request and documentation.
  • Before the accommodations are approved, the Access Specialist will consult with Residential Life. Depending on the circumstances, the request may go to the Access Committee.
  • If the accommodation is approved, the student will be notified and will work with The Center and Residential Life for any final steps. If the accommodation is denied, the student will be given a rationale and the right to appeal. The Center will engage the student in discussion of other equally effective accommodations.

Emotional Support Animals:

What is an Emotional Support Animal Accommodation?

An Emotional Support Animal (ESA), also referred to as an Assistance Animal is an animal that offers assistance, work, perform tasks or services for the benefit of the person with a disability; and/or provide emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms. An ESA is NOT considered a service animal. An ESA is protected under the Fair Housing Act, not under the Americans with Disabilities Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Steps to Obtain an Emotional Support Animal Accommodation:
  • A student must be a person with a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 and have the diagnosis for AT LEAST 6 months.
  • A student must provide proper documentation from a licensed practitioner treating the disability, stating the functional limitations of a disability related to the need for an Emotional Support Animal.
  • If this is your first time requesting accommodations, go to the New Student Accommodation Request Form. If you are already connected with our office, please submit a supplemental request form in Accommodate. You will need to complete a Release of Information for Residential Life.
  • Once Documentation and the accommodations request is submitted, The Center for Equal Access will contact to schedule a meeting.
  • After that, if approved, a student must complete additional paperwork with Residential Life prior to bringing the animal to campus.

Documentation Policy

Documentation may or may not be necessary to put academic accommodations in place. Many students choose to upload documentation when they complete the New Student Accommodation Request Form, but you do not need documentation to explore accommodations. Please complete the online process even if you do not have documentation or your documentation is outdated.

Every student and every request is unique. A conversation about your experiences and expectations will determine if additional information is necessary to support your accommodation request.

IMPORTANT: Please be aware that other universities, testing agencies (which administer standardized tests such as the GRE and NCLEX), Housing/ESA, and Clinical Accommodations may require documentation to receive accommodations.

Documentation Guidelines

Documentation guidelines are set by the Association for Higher Education and Disability and refined to fit the scope of practice of The College of St. Scholastica. The documentation includes:

  1. Primary Documentation
    1. Student’s self-report
      1. This form is required for accessing resources and academic accommodations.
  2. Secondary Documentation
    1. Observation and interaction of parents, teachers, co-workers.
      1. This may include an IEP or 504 plan.
  3. Tertiary, third-party or external documentation
    1. Information from licensed professionals.
      1. This includes psycho-educational evaluations, doctor, psychologists, or therapist recommendations and case notes.

The above documentation must be relevant and speak to the academic accommodations and resources the student is requesting, as well as how major life function is limited by the diagnosis or disability.

The Social Model of Disability

This model empowers the individual to advocate and make decisions, while acknowledging that the community and the Center for Equal Access (the Center) have a social responsibility to students with disabilities. The College community must contribute to furthering the education, understanding, and promotion of people with disabilities. The principles of the social model of disability are:

  • Disability is only a difference, not a limitation or deficiency.
  • Being disabled is neither good nor bad; it is who you are.
  • Problems with disability arise from an inaccessible society.
  • A change in society, not the person, will eliminate the problem.
  • This change can come from the person with a disability, an advocate, or anyone who wants people with disabilities to be equally included in society.

College Policy

It is the policy of The College of St. Scholastica that all otherwise qualified students with disabilities will be given equal educational opportunities in the classroom and other College-sponsored programs and activities, including study abroad programs. The College will ensure that no otherwise qualified student with disabilities will be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in any College class, program, or activity.

Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policy

Students who would like to file a grievance based on disability or failure to accommodate, can follow the policy, process and procedures outlined in the Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policy.