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Policies and Procedures

DSP&S Student Participation Policies, Procedures & Responsibilities

INTRODUCTION

The Disabled Student Programs & Services (DSPS) at American River College (ARC) strives to ensure equal educational opportunity to all students with disabilities. In accordance with current Federal and State Legislation, each student with a disability is afforded an equal opportunity to participate in the mainstream of the college programs, activities, and classes.

The accommodations and services outlined in this handbook are designed to allow equal access to the campus. The goal of this handbook is to familiarize faculty and staff with the services provided by DSPS and the procedures required to utilize them. Additional suggestions and resources are also provided so that students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to succeed in their academic endeavors. Academic accommodations for disabilities are not special privileges - they are an individual's right under law.


ADA AND SECTION 504

Eligibility for program participation is determined in accordance with guidelines established through the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title 5 of the California Education Code.

A "student with a disability" is a person enrolled at a community college who has a verified impairment which limits one or more major life activities and which imposes an educational limitation as defined in section 56004 in Title 5 of the California Education Code. In Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the term "disability" means, with respect to an individual:

(a)    physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such and individual;

(b)   a record of such an impairment; or

(c)    being regarded as having such an impairment.

GETTING STARTED

In order to initiate services, students must apply to the program and provide verification of disability.    Your disability information will be used to determine your educational limitations and the most appropriate required support services.  Your first appointment with a DSPS Counselor is called an intake appointment.

In preparation for your intake appointment, you will be asked to complete the following forms:

  1. Disabled Student Programs and Services Application for Services
  2. Release of Information Form
  3. Student Code of Conduct
  4. Provide verification of your disability

All forms must be signed by the new DSPS student who is requesting DSPS accommodations and services.

Students who are enrolled in online courses only and who can not complete required forms on campus will be asked to complete an online folder found on the ARC website - Student Services - DSPS.

FACULTY/STAFF ROLE

Faculty are an integral part of this institution's efforts to comply with equal access legislation. It is the responsibility of the academic department and its faculty to make sure that their program is accessible to students with disabilities. Instructors are responsible for authorizing the accommodations requested from DSPS. Instructors are not expected to compromise the academic credibility of their courses if the student fails to demonstrate the minimum required level of understanding and competence.

On the first day of class, instructors can request that students who need special accommodations contact them during office hours, after class, or contact DSPS for additional information. Instructors may also print this information as a part of their syllabi. This will encourage students with non-observable disabilities to communicate their academic needs early in the semester.

One way to ensure that appropriate accommodations are being rendered to the student is for the instructor to speak with the student about his/her needs. Two students with an identical disability may not have the same needs. The most successful academic adjustments are typically mutually determined by the student and the instructor.

Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, students with disabilities have the right to privacy in regard to their disabilities. Faculty and staff should refrain from discussing their students' disabilities or accommodations around others who do not need to know about them.


STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

DSPS Student Rights

  1. As a qualified student with a verified disability, the student has the right to receive reasonable academic accommodations and support services in order to have access to instruction and program participation without any fundamental alteration of the educational program. The college faculty and staff shall not automatically reject an accommodation unless other effective more feasible ones exist, or the identified accommodations have been determined to lower academic standards or otherwise fundamentally alter the nature of the program in question. American River College faculty and administration will establish fundamental academic requirements in a reasoned, deliberative manner utilizing relevant expertise.
  2. Participation in Disabled Students Programs & Services shall be entirely voluntary.
  3. Receiving DSPS support services or DSPS instruction shall not preclude a student from also participating in any other course, program or activity offered by ARC.
  4. All records maintained by DSPS personnel pertaining to students with disabilities shall be protected from unauthorized disclosure.
  5. Failure in the responsible use of DSPS services or to adhere to written procedures and responsibilities pertaining to the service will initiate a written notification from DSPS of possible suspension of the service. The student will be invited to discuss the issue in a meeting with a DSPS counselor. Written notice will be sent to the student before any action is taken to suspend services.
  6. A student may file a formal complaint or grievance regarding discrimination on the basis of disability by contacting the college's Vice President of Student Services or the campus ADA/504 Coordinator. The student may also contact the California Office of Civil Rights in San Francisco.

DSPS Student Responsibilities

  1. Initiate the request for academic accommodations and/or support services by making an appointment with a DSPS counselor.
  2. Provide DSPS with the information, documentation, and/or forms (medical, educational, etc.) deemed necessary to verify a disability.
  3. Meet with a DSPS counselor to complete proctoring forms and requests for note taking, aides, and e-text for each class. This process must be repeated each semester.
  4. Meet academic standards established by American River College.
  5. Comply with the Student Code of Conduct adopted by American River College.
  6. Use DSPS services responsibly and adhere to written procedures and responsibilities.

ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATION APPEAL PROCESS

Either the student or the instructor can appeal the academic accommodation recommended by the DSPS staff.

1. Appeal to the College Accommodation Appeals Board

(i)   An appeal is filed with the appropriate dean within five (5) instructional days after the issuance of the Accommodations Letter.

(ii)   Appeals are heard by the Accommodation Appeals Board.

(iii)  The chair of the Accommodation Appeals Board issues a written decision within ten (10) instructional days of the filing of the appeal.

(iv)  If the student or instructor disagrees with the decision of the Accommodation Appeals Board, a second appeal may be filed with the Dean of Student Support Services.

2. Appeal to the Associate Vice President of Student Success

(i) An appeal is filed with the Dean of Student Support Services within five (5) instructional days after issuance of the decision by the Accommodation Appeals Board.
 
(ii) The Vice President of Student Services shall confer with the Section 504 Coordinator and shall review the record and issue an opinion within ten (10) instructional days of the requested appeal. The decision of the Vice President of Student Services shall be final.