Erin Kelley, Disability Specialist
(440) 826-2147, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday-Friday: 8:30 am-5 pm
Ritter Library, 2nd Floor
57 E. Bagley Rd.
Berea, OH 44017-2088
Baldwin Wallace University's Disability Services for Students (DSS) creates usable, equitable, inclusive learning environments for qualified students with disabilities by ensuring equal access to all University programs, services and activities. DSS works with students, faculty and staff in the development and implementation of appropriate accommodations while maintaining the academic standards and course integrity of Baldwin Wallace.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HIGH SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES
Outlined below are some key differences between disability services offered by high schools and by universities. It is important that students and families understand these differences when seeking disability services at BW.
- Free Appropriate Education (FAPE) Requirements
High Schools: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires school districts to provide FAPE to students with a disability in their jurisdiction. The district is required by law to identify the student's educational needs and to provide related aids and services to meet those needs.
Universities: Universities are not required to provide FAPE. They are required to provide the appropriate academic adjustments to ensure equal access to education.
- Success vs. Access
High School: The applicable law is the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) which is about student success.
Universities: The applicable law is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which is about providing equal access.
- Required Documentation
High Schools: An Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan is used to determine academic accommodations. The school district provides the evaluation at no cost. The documentation focuses on determining whether or not a student is eligible for services based on specific categories in IDEA.
Universities: The IEP and 504 plan are typically not sufficient forms of documentation. Documentation guidelines are different and specify information needed for specific disability categories. Students may obtain an evaluation at their own expense. Documentation must provide DSS with information on the functional limitations and demonstrate the need for the accommodation(s) requested.
- Parental Role
High Schools: Parents have access to student records, can contact teachers for progress or grades, can advocate for the student and participate in the accommodation process.
Universities: The parent does not have access to student records without the student's written consent per the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The student becomes a self-advocate and participates in the accommodations process. In addition, parents are no longer allowed to contact faculty for information about the student's progress in the course or grades.
- Plan vs. Accommodation
High Schools: A plan is formulated for the student. Teachers receive a copy so they have a thorough understanding of the disability and accommodations. A yearly meeting is required of teachers and typically an auxiliary service person to discuss progress and set goals.
Universities: Instructors receive an emailed Letter of Accommodation (LOA) which outlines academic modifications the student needs to have equal access. Faculty does not have access to specific diagnostic data unless provided by the student. The student is responsible for meeting with DSS and instructors to discuss any areas of concern.
- Grading and Testing
High Schools: The IEP or 504 plan may include modifications to test format, unlimited test time and grading. Testing in high school is often frequent, covering small amounts of material and teachers provide students with reminders of assignment due dates.
Universities: There is no unlimited time for tests and test format changes are not available. Accommodations on how tests are given (e.g., extended test time and a reduced distraction testing environment) are available when supported by documentation.
- Course Instruction
High Schools: Teachers may make modifications to the curriculum and alter the pace and due dates of assignments.
Universities: Professors are not required to modify essential academic requirements of programs and instruction that fundamentally alter educational programs or compromise academic standards. Additionally, BW does not waive essential program requirements or permit substitutions for courses deemed essential to its academic programs. Students are assigned substantial amounts of work that may or may not be addressed in the course. Students are responsible for reviewing class notes, texts and materials and submitting assignments by the due dates listed on their course syllabi.
- Academic Support Services
High Schools: Tutoring and academic support may be services included in the IEP or 504 plan. There is typically someone who assists the student with self-management of tasks, assignments and priorities.
Universities: Tutoring and academic support services are not academic accommodations provided. It is the student's responsibility to make appointments and utilize available academic support services. BW has tutoring available for most subjects, but not all. Students are ultimately responsible for self-management; however, Academic Coaching is available as a resource to help with prioritizing and time management.
APPLYING FOR ACCOMMODATIONS
In order to request accommodations, you must register with the DSS office. Accommodations you received in high school or at another university do not automatically transfer to BW. Once admitted to BW, you must apply for disability services by completing the following steps:
- Self Disclose
You need to disclose your disability to DSS by sending an email to email@example.com. Under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, people with disabilities have a right to equal educational opportunities. By law, a student is not a person with a disability until he/she chooses to identify as such and request protection from discrimination. If a student does not disclose a disability and follow the process, he/she is responsible for the academic outcome.
- Complete and Submit the DDS Application
- Submit Appropriate Documentation
You must provide current documentation of your disability and the disability-related need for any specific accommodation(s) being requested. Current documentation is necessary for verification purposes and to determine reasonable accommodations. The cost of documentation is your responsibility. Use the "General Guidelines for Documentation" and appropriate verification forms (see forms below) to assist in the documentation process. Submit your completed documentation to DSS by:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Confidential fax: (440) 826-3832
- Mail: Baldwin Wallace University
Disability Services for Students
275 Eastland Road
Berea, OH 44017-2088
- In person: Ritter Library, 57 E. Bagley Rd., Office 203
Note: Submission of documentation does not guarantee approval of the requested accommodation(s).
- Attend a Student Welcome Meeting
Appropriate accommodations are determined on an individual basis. Upon receipt of your application and documentation, DSS will schedule a meeting to discuss the impact, nature and functional limitations of your disability; determine eligibility for any reasonable accommodations; and discuss process, policies and procedures. Appointments are typically scheduled the Friday before summer orientation or the first week of classes. If your family would like to attend the meeting, they will be allowed in after DSS speaks with you privately.
- Documentation Forms for Medical Professionals
To obtain appropriate information, please use one of the following verification forms based on your documented disability. A qualified healthcare provider or diagnostician should complete the form and fax it directly to the DSS confidential fax at (440) 826-3832. DSS reserves the right to request additional documentation.
- ADD and/or ADHD Verification Form
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Verification Form
- Chronic Health Condition Verification Form
- Communication and Language Disorders Verification Form
- Hearing Disability Verification Form
- Learning Disability Verification Form
- Psychological Disability Verification Form
- Mobility Disability Verification Form
- Temporary Impairment Verification Form
- Vision Disability Verification Form
- Other Forms
An accommodation is a modification that is made to a course, program, service, job, activity or facility that eliminates or minimizes disability-related barriers. For an accommodation to be deemed reasonable, it must not compromise essential requirements of a course, program, job, activity or facility, and it must not cause undue administrative or financial hardship. In addition, it must not compromise the safety of the student receiving the accommodation or of others, and it must not fundamentally alter a course or program.
Below are descriptions of reasonable accommodations provided at BW. This is not an exhaustive list.
- Accommodated Housing
The learning environment and residential living are central to the BW experience, particularly for students who are required to live in residence halls. It should be noted that living within the BW community and learning to share space and be considerate of others is part of the learning experience. Requests for single rooms (as an accommodation) based solely on a desire to have a "quiet, undisturbed place to study" will not be granted. By virtue of the shared facilities, resources and number of people living under one roof, it is not logical to assume that having a private room would provide for such quiet, distraction-free space to any appreciable degree beyond living in a standard double room. We evaluate requests for exceptions carefully. To aid this process, requests (submitted yearly) should include:
- Documentation of the condition or need that is the basis of the request
- A clear description of the desired housing configuration
- An explanation of how the request relates to the impact of the condition
- An indication of the level of need for the recommended configuration (and the consequences of not receiving)
- Possible alternatives if the recommended configuration is not possible.
The "Accommodated Housing Application" has additional guidelines and considerations.
Accommodated Housing Request deadlines:
- Returning Students
December 1 (for spring)
February 1 (for fall)
- New and Transfer Students
December 1 (for spring)
May 1 (for fall)
Air-conditioning is provided in 21 Beech, Carmel, Ernsthausen, Findley, Harding and Davidson Commons. Arrangements for medical air-conditioning in non-air-conditioned buildings can be made through the Office of Residence Life.
- Accommodated Testing
Students with documented disabilities who are eligible for accommodated testing may request to have tests proctored in the accommodated testing room at the Learning Center in Ritter Library. Accommodations for testing may include extended time, use of a word processor for written exams, a scribe, a reader or a reduced distraction test environment. Not all students are eligible for all of these accommodations and they are determined on an individual, case-by-case basis as dictated by the documentation.
Students who wish to have tests accommodated in the accommodated testing room should submit their request in the time frame outlined in their LOA. The link to submit their request is emailed to students with their username and password. This link also is available on the DSS Blackboard site. Note: Same day requests for accommodated testing will not be approved, and a private testing room cannot be guaranteed.
Upon receipt of the request, DSS will send an email confirmation of the test request to the student and faculty member. Faculty will receive an accommodated test form which provides DSS with proctoring information, test receipt and test return.
- Alternative Text
With appropriate notice, books will be made available in alternate format for students whose documentation of disability supports the need for alternate format. BW offers two ways to obtain alternate book formats:
- Bookshare is a free service provided to students with visual and learning disabilities whose documentation supports the need for alternative text formats. Students need to complete the Bookshare application and submit it to DSS. DSS will add the student to BW's institutional account and submit the application to Bookshare. Bookshare will send the student an email with their username and password. Students can then search for their textbooks. It is strongly recommend that students have their booklist, ISBN number, edition and the author's first and last name before they search. Bookshare also provides a free reader students can download.
- If your books are not available on Bookshare, you should complete the "Alternate Text Request" form and submit it to DSS at least two weeks before the semester begins.
- Dietary Accommodations
Dining Services is committed to providing meal options that meet the needs of BW students. For more information, contact:
- David Jensen, Director of Auxiliary Services: (440) 826-2414
- Marie Oravec, Registered Dietetic Technician: (440) 826-2348
- Emotional Support Animal (ESA)
Emotional Support Animals in University Housing
Baldwin Wallace University recognizes that emotional support animals can play an important role in facilitating the independence and well-being of some individuals with certain types of disabilities. Therefore, in accordance with the Fair Housing Act, the University provides reasonable and appropriate accommodations for students with a documented disability and need for an emotional support animal in University housing. This document contains the specific requirements and guidelines concerning the appropriate use of and protocols associated with emotional support animals. Baldwin Wallace University reserves the right to amend these Guidelines as circumstances require.
Section I. Definitions
A. Emotional Support Animal – An “Emotional Support Animal” is an animal whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or to promote emotional well-being. Emotional Support Animals may not be brought into Student Housing without prior approval of the designated University officials. Each request is evaluated on a case-by-case basis as set forth in these Guidelines, considering the needs of the individual and the concerns of the University community. A person qualifies for a reasonable accommodation if:
- The person has a documented disability and is registered with Disability Services for Students (registration includes: application for services, documentation and student welcome meeting);
- The animal is necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the residence halls; and
- There is an identifiable relationship between the disability and the assistance the animal provides.
BW will not grant requests for emotional support animals if the animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others; would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others; would pose an undue financial and administrative burden; or would fundamentally alter the nature of the provider’s operations.
NOTE: Emotional Support Animals are not trained to assist individuals with disabilities in the activities of daily living and are therefore NOT considered Service Animals under the criteria established by the ADA and do not qualify for the same legal protection.
B. Pet – A “Pet” is an animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. A pet is not considered a Service Animal or an Emotional Support Animal. It is not covered by these guidelines. Residents are not permitted to keep pets on university property or in university housing, other than non-dangerous fish in an aquarium no larger than 20 gallons.
C. Approved Animal – An “Approved Animal” is an Emotional Support Animal that has been approved as a reasonable accommodation under these guidelines.
D. Owner – The “Owner” is the student or other covered person who has requested the accommodation and has received approval to bring the “Approved Animal” on campus. Owners are responsible for the care and control of their approved animal at all times. The animal is considered an extension of the owner – i.e. noise violations, damages, and any other violations of existing housing policies, are treated as if the owner had caused the violation.
Section II. Procedures for Approval of Emotional Support Animals in University Housing
Requests for Emotional Support Animals are considered on a case-by-case basis. Before bringing an emotional support animal to campus, the requesting individual must submit a Request for Accommodated Housing Application and have their service provider complete the Emotional Support Animal Application as supporting documentation. Following submission of these applications, the student must meet with Disability Services for Students. A student who is living in on-campus housing (residence halls or apartments) must make a formal request to Disability Services for Students for this accommodation.
The review process may take up to 90 days. Students should submit their request to Disability Services for Students at least sixty (60) days prior to the date the student would like to bring the animal into on-campus housing, preferably at the start of a semester. This timeframe will allow for Disability Services for Students in collaboration with Office of Residence Life, to make the appropriate accommodations for the requesting student. While applications submitted at any time will be accepted and considered, there is no guarantee that BW will be able to meet an applicant’s accommodation request once a semester has started, including any needs that develop during the semester.
Section III. Documentation for Emotional Support Animal
Requests for an Emotional Support Animal in Student Housing require complete documentation to be submitted before review and rendering of a decision and/or recommendation. Documentation of the need for an Emotional Support Animal should follow the Emotional Support Animal Application, and should generally include the following information:
- Verification of the individual’s disability from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional.
- Statement regarding how the animal serves as an accommodation for the verified disability.
- Statement explaining how the need for the animal relates to the ability of the resident/student to use and enjoy the living arrangements provided by the University.
- Professional licensure information for the provider, including state(s) where the provider is licensed.
- Current documentation of items requested in a., b., and c. (dated within the last 6 months).
Baldwin Wallace University reserves the right to request additional information if any of the items above are not included or are not thoroughly answered. There are two phases of the approval process. First, Disability Services for Students will review the documentation and, if it is determined that a qualifying disability exists for which an Emotional Support Animal is necessary, approval will be given for the student to have an Emotional Support Animal. The second phase of the approval process involves the specific animal selected by the student. The specific logistics of care and housing of the animal will be discussed and available spaces on campus will be considered. Once both approvals are given, a meeting will be arranged with Disability Services for Students, an Office of Residence Life representative, and the student. These guidelines will be carefully reviewed with the student at that meeting to ensure that the student can abide by all sections of the BW Emotional Support Animal Guidelines.
Section IV. Conflicting Needs/Health Concerns
When an Emotional Support Animal request is granted, Disability Services for Students and Office of Residence Life will make a reasonable effort to notify members of the campus community living or working in close proximity to the animal. This notice will be limited to the fact that an animal is present as an accommodation for a student. The University will not disclose the student’s disability or the specific reason the animal is required. The scope of the notice will depend on the type of animal and on the type of housing in which the student is living.
Individuals who may be adversely affected by the presence of an Emotional Support Animal because of a medical condition (e.g. respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies) should contact the Office of Residence Life regarding concerns about exposure to the animal. The student may be required to provide medical documentation to support such claim. The University will work to reasonably accommodate the needs of both persons as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Disability Services for Students, Office of Residence Life and the Provost Office will collaborate, as needed, to help resolve any conflicts related to an Emotional Support Animal. University staff will consider the needs of all residents involved.
All roommates and/or suitemates of the Owner must sign an agreement acknowledging that the Emotional Support Animal will be living in the residence with them. If one or more roommates or suitemates does not approve of the Emotional Support Animal, then either the owner of the Emotional Support Animal, or the non-approving roommates(s) or suitemate(s), may be moved to another location, as determined by Office of Residence Life. The determination of which student moves will be made on a case-by-case basis and will depend on the reason(s) for the request and the availability of other housing.
Section V. Responsibilities of Animal Owners in University Housing
- The Owner will supply the name of an emergency contact, who is not currently in residence in campus housing who will be responsible for the animal if the owner is incapacitated.
- The Owner is responsible for assuring that the Approved Animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence or cause difficulties for students who reside there.
- The Owner is financially responsible for the actions of the Approved Animal including bodily injury or property damage. The Owner’s responsibility covers but is not limited to replacement of furniture, carpet, window, wall covering, and the like. The Owner is expected to cover these costs at the time of repair and/or move-out.
- The Owner is responsible for any expenses incurred for cleaning above and beyond a standard cleaning or for repairs to University premises that are assessed after the student and animal vacate the residence. The University shall have the right to bill the Student account of the Owner for unmet obligations.
- The Owner must notify Disability Services for Students in writing if the approved animal is no longer needed as an Approved Animal or is no longer in residence. To replace an animal, the Owner must make a new request for the new animal’s approval.
- The Owner’s residence may be inspected for fleas, ticks, or other pests once a semester or as needed. The applicable housing staff for the residence hall will schedule the inspection. If fleas, ticks, or other pests are detected through inspection, the residence will be treated using approved fumigation methods by a university-approved pest control service. The Owner will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment above and beyond standard pest management in the residence halls.
- Emotional Support Animals must be contained within the privately assigned residential area (room, suite, and apartment) at all times, except when transported outside the private residential area in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness. The Owner is responsible for ensuring that the animal is contained, as appropriate, when the Owner is not present. This will allow University staff access to space for maintenance and other routine tasks without posing risk to the animal. The Owner may also choose to post a sign alerting staff to the presence of the animal. This sign must follow all housing policies. Baldwin Wallace University is not responsible for loss, damage to, or death of the animal.
- Approved animals may not be left overnight in Student Housing to be cared for by another student. Animals must be taken with the student if they leave campus overnight or for a prolonged period.
- Office of Residence Life has the authority to re-locate Owner and Approved Animal as necessary according to current housing agreements.
- The Owner agrees to abide by all other residential policies. Reasonable accommodation which may constitute an exception to the Student Handbook (which otherwise would prohibit having an animal) does not constitute an exception to any other parts of the Student Handbook.
- Any violation of the rules may result in immediate removal of the animal from the University and may be reviewed by Disability Services for Students, Office of Residence Life, and the Provost Office. The Owner will be afforded all rights of due process and appeal as outlined in that process. Should the Approved Animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the owner is expected to fulfill his/her housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.
Section VI. Guidelines for Maintaining an Approved Animal at BW
Care and Supervision
Care and Supervision of the animal are the responsibility of the individual who benefits from the Approved Animal’s use, the Owner. The Owner is required to maintain control of the animal at all times. The Owner is also responsible for ensuring the cleanup of the animal’s waste and, when appropriate, must toilet the animal in areas designated by the University. Indoor animal waste, such as cat litter, must be placed in a sturdy plastic bag and securely tied up before being disposed of in outside trash containers. Litter boxes should be placed on mats so that waste is not tracked onto carpeted surfaces.
Animal Health and Well-being
- Vaccination: In accordance with local ordinances and regulations, the animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal.
- Health: The animal must be in good health. Animals to be housed in Student Housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian. The University has authority to direct that the animal receive veterinary attention. Animals (where appropriate) must be spayed or neutered prior to being brought to campus. BW reserves the right to request documentation of the applicable procedure.
- Licensing: The animal must meet legal requirements for licensing. BW reserves the right to request documentation showing that the animal has been licensed.
- Leash: If appropriate, the animal must be on a leash, unless the leash would inhibit the animal’s ability to be of service.
- Other Conditions: Disability Services for Students or Office of Residence Life may place other reasonable conditions or restrictions on the animal depending on the nature and characteristics of the animal. Examples of such restrictions are provided below.
Removal of Approved Animal
The owner of an emotional support animal may be asked to remove the animal from University facilities if the owner or animal fails to comply with these guidelines. The following describes behaviors which may result in the removal of the animal:
- Disruptive Behavior: An animal may be removed if its behavior is unruly or disruptive (e.g. barking, jumping on people, growling, running around, and exhibiting aggressive behavior). If such behavior persists, the owner may be prohibited from bringing the animal on campus until the owner takes significant and effective remedial steps to mitigate the animal’s behavioral problems.
- Uncleanliness: Animals are required to be housebroken. Owners must also ensure that waste is disposed of appropriately and that odor does not become problematic in their assigned housing. Owners must also ensure that their animals are kept clean and well-groomed. Animals that are excessively unclean (e.g. repeated soiling of facilities, flea-infested, foul-smelling and/or shedding excessively) may be excluded from University facilities. Owners who repeatedly do not properly dispose of waste and ensure cleanliness of their assigned housing may have this approval revoked.
- Failure of the Owner: Failure of the owner to follow the rules and responsibilities articulated in this agreement.
- Decision: If the decision is made that the Emotional Support Animal must be removed, the student will be given 48 hours to comply. After that time, the University reserves the right to remove the animal and take it to the nearest appropriate animal shelter.
Owners of Approved Animals are solely responsible for any damage to persons or University property caused by their animals. Again, Baldwin Wallace University is not responsible for loss, injury, or death of the animal. As noted above, the Approved Animal is an extension of the Owner and the Owner is responsible for the care and control of the animal at all times. If approval is given during the semester, Office of Residence Life will conduct a room condition inspection just before the animal moves into the space.
Areas Off Limits to Emotional Support Animals
Due to the fact that emotional support animals are not service animals, they are only permitted within University housing. Unless there are other approved accommodations, the animal may not accompany the student to class, library, dining services areas, fitness center, events, athletic facilities, etc. Approved Animals are subject to the University’s existing policy for animals visiting campus when they are outside.
Emotional Support Animals must be approved each academic year. Owners start this process by completing a Request for Accommodated Housing Application prior to the opening of housing selection for the upcoming year (February). Updated documentation from the student’s provider must be provided to Disability Services for Students with the application each year. This documentation should meet the requirements listed for Section III of these guidelines. A new copy of these guidelines will be signed each year prior to the student bringing an animal to campus.
- Flexible Attendance Accommodations
This accommodation is made on a case-by-case basis because attendance requirements vary widely from course to course. Lab, activity and hands-on courses usually involve a lot of in-class learning that cannot be easily made up outside of class, while lecture classes provide more flexibility. Likewise, each instructor may have a different policy for student attendance.
Flexible attendance accommodations may be appropriate when a student has a chronic disabling physical or mental condition that is cyclic in nature or when a condition is stable but there may be unpredictable flare ups periodically that prevent a student from attending classes. Examples include, but are not limited to, Crohn’s Disease, chronic severe migraines, Sickle Cell Anemia, various autoimmune conditions, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, etc. Documentation (i.e., doctor’s note) is not required when a student is absent due to a disability flare up.
If a student believes he/she will miss class with some frequency due to a disability, the student must follow the process for registering with DSS. The student should include flexible attendance as one of the accommodations on the application for services. The flexible attendance accommodation will be discussed during the Student Welcome Meeting. Assigning this accommodation is generally only considered at the beginning of a semester, before any classes have been missed. This timing is important so that a reasonable limit can be set as to how many classes can be missed without jeopardizing the academic integrity of the class experience.
In determining whether an accommodation to a course attendance policy is reasonable, the disability specialist will communicate with course instructors to understand:
- Essential components of the course
- The reasons for the attendance policy
- How much interaction there is in class between the instructor and student
- How much of the learning is based on in-class participation
- How other students’ learning is impacted if any student misses class a lot
- When flexibility in the attendance policy is available for other reasons, such as athletic travel
PLEASE BE ADVISED: This policy does not provide students with a license to miss class whenever. Most classes have an absence limit that, once exceeded, makes it impossible to satisfy course objectives.
The student is responsible for completing all class work. Extensions for assignments and arrangements for making up missed tests CANNOT be promised as a component of this accommodation. In some cases, it may be reasonable to miss class but not reasonable to miss a test and thus the course policy for missed tests must be followed. Students are highly encouraged to make every effort to not miss a class on key course dates. DSS promotes good time and project management skills as well as effective decision-making relative to personal circumstances. This accommodation does not address inefficiencies in these areas.
Once a flexible attendance accommodation plan has been implemented, then the student, DSS and the course instructor will refer to it as needed as course scenarios evolve.
- Personal Care Attendant (PCA)
Students with disabilities who need assistance with daily living activities or nursing care within a residential setting should retain the services of a PCA. A PCA provides personal care or assistance in daily living activities, such as dressing, transferring to and from a wheelchair, feeding, personal hygiene and navigating the campus. PCA services may facilitate higher levels of independent access and participation in BW programs, services and activities. BW does not provide, coordinate or assume financial responsibility for PCA services.
The services of a PCA can play an important role in a student's quality of life. The selection of the right agency or individual and ongoing effective communication with the PCA is critical for a successful experience. Students who require PCA services must make arrangements to secure a PCA and must follow the policies, procedures and guidelines below:
- Follow all applicable BW policies, rules, regulations and procedures.
- Complete and submit the "Accommodated Housing Application" form and appropriate verification to DSS that supports the medical necessity of a PCA.
- Secure an agency-affiliated or private, certified PCA prior to attending any University-related activity (i.e. placement testing, enrollment, class attendance). BW will not be responsible for providing a PCA on an interim basis.
- Provide documentation that the PCA is qualified to perform the services.
- Ensure that the PCA registers with DSS, the Department of Safety & Security, Residence Life and Health Services.
- Provide a copy of the contract between the student and the agency or PCA to DSS.
- Ensure any PCA personnel changes are registered with DSS, the Department of Safety & Security, Residence Life and Health Services.
- Direct the activities of the PCA while at BW. The student is solely responsible for ensuring the PCA is fulfilling his/her responsibilities for the student's care. BW will not assume responsibility for the PCA or his/her failure to fulfill the contracted responsibilities.
- Develop an alternative plan of action should the regularly assigned PCA not be available to work.
- Pay for all PCA services, including but not limited to housing and meal plans if living off campus.
- Students are encouraged, but not required, to select a PCA of the same gender if the PCA will be assisting a student with bathing or toileting in a residence hall or in shared or public area restrooms.
PCA Role in Campus Life
- The PCA assisting a student on campus is required to follow all applicable BW policies, rules, regulations and procedures.
- The PCA may assist the student before and after class as needed, but should wait outside the classroom unless assistance during class is deemed appropriate or necessary and approved by DSS.
- It is generally inappropriate for the PCA to have contact with or ask questions of faculty, staff or others on behalf of the student. It is not within the scope of the PCA's responsibilities to be involved in the student's academic life on campus.
- The PCA should respect the dignity and privacy of the student and refrain from discussing confidential information about the student with faculty, staff or other students.
- The PCA is only allowed to access the student's residence hall while the student is in residence.
- If the PCA violates BW policies, rules, regulations or procedures, DSS may determine that the PCA may no longer assist the student on BW's campus. If this occurs, it is the student's responsibility to secure the services of another PCA.
- Reduced Course Load Accommodations
For some students with disabilities, the requirement of having to enroll full time (12-18 credits) can be a barrier toward achieving success in their educational, personal and professional goals. For this reason, some students may benefit from a reduced course load (1-11 credits) because of the severe nature of their disability. DSS and the Financial Aid Office have collaborated to create a Financial Aid Policy for students whose disability warrants a reduced course load.
The student must request as an accommodation a reduced course load each semester as the accommodation does not automatically renew. Up-to-date documentation may be required by DSS each semester. It is strongly recommended that students make their request at least two weeks before the start of each semester. Requests will not be considered after the add/drop deadline.
Students must follow the process required to register with DSS. Non-disability related factors will not be considered as primary reasons for a reduced course load. These include: curricular activities, employment, failure to utilize academic accommodations and campus resources, lack of academic preparation, poor class attendance, etc.
Approval does not grant extended time for degree completion or acceptance of out of date credits. Students must also make satisfactory academic progress toward their degree at BW.
Students who are approved for reduced course load should meet with their academic advisors to discuss/formulate their Graduation Plan and University degree completion requirements. In addition, students need to schedule a meeting with a financial aid officer to discuss their revised award letter and possible changes to their BW aid package.
- Service Animals
The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA, regardless if they are licensed or certified by a state or local government. Species other than dogs, or in some cases miniature horses, are not considered service animals for the purpose of this definition of a service animal. A service animal is not a pet.
Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform. Guide dogs are one type of service animal used by some individuals who are blind. There are, however, service animals that assist persons with other disabilities in their day-to-day activities including:
- Alerting persons with hearing impairments to sounds.
- Pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up items for persons with mobility impairments.
- Assisting persons with mobility impairments with balance.
Service Animals in Training
In accordance with Ohio Revised Code 955.43, BW will treat an employee or student training a service dog the same way it would be legally required to treat someone who is qualified as disabled.
Areas of Accessibility
Under the ADA, individuals may use service animals in any public area unless doing so would pose a danger to the health and safety of others or cause undue burden. Service animals are permitted to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of BW's facilities including University housing and where students, members of the public and other participants in services, programs or activities are allowed to go.
The service animal must be housebroken (i.e., trained so that it controls its waste elimination, absent illness or accident) and must be kept under control by a harness, leash or other tether, unless the person is unable to hold those or such use would interfere with the service animal's performance of work or tasks. In such instances, the service animal must be kept under control by voice, signals or other effective means.
BW does not require documentation, such as proof the animal has been certified, trained or licensed as a service animal. Individuals accompanied by a service animal on campus but who do not need any disability-related accommodations are not required to register with DSS, nor are such individuals required to submit a request for a reasonable accommodation to receive access of their service animal.
Additionally, BW cannot ask about the nature or extent of a person's disability to determine whether a person's animal qualifies as a service animal. However, when it is not readily apparent that an animal is functioning as a service animal, BW staff may make two inquiries to determine whether the animal qualifies as such which are:
- Is this animal trained to provide a disability-related service for you?
- What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
Individuals who plan to have a service animal in University housing are asked to make a formal notification at least 30 days prior to move in. This can be done by submitting an "Accommodated Housing Request" form.
- Temporary Medical Conditions
DSS provides reasonable assistance to students with temporary medical conditions such as injuries or acute illnesses who may require temporary classroom support. According to the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008, temporary medical conditions are not considered a disability as they do not rise to this level as outlined by the ADA due to the duration (generally six months or less) of symptoms or functional limitations. Documentation is required and reasonable assistance is determined based on the nature of the impact of the temporary condition on an individual basis.Note: Transportation services are not provided.
Students with temporary medical conditions must complete the following steps to determine eligibility for accommodations:
- Transportation Services
Jacket Access Van
The purchasing motor pool department provides limited transportation support services for students with motor limitations or other conditions that significantly affect their ability to travel around campus. Beginning January 1, 2015 the Jacket Access Van will ONLY be provided to students with permanent disabilities registered with DSS. Eligibility for transportation support services is determined by an assessment of a student's need by an appropriate DSS staff member.
NEXT STEPS AFTER ACCOMMODATIONS HAVE BEEN APPROVED
- Request a Letter of Accommodation (LOA)
Request a Letter of Accommodation (LOA) at the beginning of each term so you can begin utilizing your accommodations early. The LOA is sent on your behalf as a student with a disability who may need accommodation in order to have equal access. It is sent because you have a potential need for accommodation. Even after accommodations have been approved based on a careful review of your disability file, you can choose not to use the accommodation(s). Because BW cannot force you to use accommodations, the responsibility for requesting the LOA is placed in your hands. Professors will not grant you any academic accommodations without your LOA. To ensure your LOA is received, it is emailed to you and the faculty.
- Schedule a Private Meeting with Faculty
Schedule a private meeting with your course instructors to discuss your LOA detailing the approved accommodations for the semester. The meeting should take place in a private setting to maintain confidentiality. Be clear and factual. Note: You are not required to disclose or discuss the specifics of your disability. It is your decision whether you want the professor to know your diagnosis.
Address the specific arrangements of your approved accommodations, for example:
- If you receive extended time on quizzes and examinations, discuss how the scheduling will be handled. Will you take the exam with the class or in the Accommodated Testing Room?
- If you have a class immediately after, will you need to determine an alternative time to take the test?
- If you will take your quizzes and examinations in the Accommodated Testing Room, discuss the process for scheduling your tests.
- If you will be recording lectures, provide the professor with a signed copy of the recording agreement form.
- If you need a volunteer note-taker, discuss how you would like to receive the notes and how you will provide paper.
- If you receive preferential seating, where do you prefer to sit and how will the seat be reserved?
If you DO NOT schedule a meeting, it will be assumed that you have chosen NOT to utilize your accommodations for the term. Your development as a student is very important to BW's mission, vision, policies, practices and procedures. It is in your best interest to learn self-advocacy in how to shoulder the responsibility of managing your own accommodation needs. It will be a lifelong challenge to advocate and support your own success.
- Student Rights and Responsbilities
Qualified students with disabilities have the right to an equal opportunity to participate in programs offered at BW. Students who choose to exercise these rights have the responsibility to initiate and participate in the accommodation process. Recognizing this, students:
- Have a responsibility to self-identify as needing accommodation in a timely fashion. The student must provide documentation from an appropriate licensed professional.
- Have a responsibility to document how their disability affects a particular delivery system, instructional method or evaluation criteria when requesting accommodation.
- Have a responsibility to actively participate in the search for accommodations and auxiliary aids.
- Have the responsibility of submitting a request for LOAs and scheduling meetings with instructors to discuss approved accommodations.
- Have the responsibility to communicate to professors their individual needs and work with them on methods of accommodation.
- Have the responsibility to schedule proctored exams in a timely manner.
- Have the same obligation as any student to meet and maintain the institution's academic and technical standards.
- Have a right to be evaluated based on their ability, not their disability. If their disability affects the outcome of an evaluation method, they are entitled to an evaluation by alternate means.
- Are entitled to an equal opportunity to learn. If the location, delivery system or instructional methodology limits their access, participation or ability to benefit, they have a right to reasonable adjustments, to be determined by University officials, in those aspects of the course or program to accommodate their disability.
- Are entitled to an equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of the academic community at a comparable level that is provided to any student.
- Have a right to appeal decisions concerning accommodations.
- BW Rights and Reponsibilities
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973), a person has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of his/her major life activities (e.g. walking, standing, seeing, speaking, hearing, breathing, learning, working or taking care of oneself), has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. Once admitted to BW, students may choose whether or not to disclose a disability. However, students with disabilities will not receive accommodations unless they disclose their disability to DSS (Erin Kelley or Alsace Toure), make a formal request for accommodations (application, documentation and student welcome meeting) and follow the University procedures for obtaining accommodations.
Baldwin Wallace University has a right to maintain academic standards, integrity and freedom. This includes determining fundamental requirements of courses and programs, maintaining and enforcing conduct codes. Fundamental requirements include:
- Academic requirements that are essential to programs and instruction (e.g. spelling for teacher education, math for engineering majors).
- Accommodations should not fundamentally alter educational programs or compromise academic standards.
Baldwin Wallace University has a responsibility of providing the following to a qualified student with a disability:
- Equal access to educational programs, services, facilities and activities
- Reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids and services
- Written policies and procedures (including grievance).
- Grievance Procedure
Baldwin Wallace University is committed to ensuring that no otherwise-qualified individual with a disability is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in University programs or activities due to his/her disability. The University is fully committed to complying with all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and to providing equal educational opportunities to otherwise-qualified students with disabilities.
To that end, the University has established a four-step internal grievance procedure that is designed to achieve an equitable resolution within a reasonable amount of time. A University student who believes that he/she has been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability, or has been denied access or accommodations required by law, shall have the right to invoke the grievance procedure. The grievance procedure is intended to address disputes regarding requested services or accommodations or modifications to University practices or requirements.
The grievance procedure shall not supersede or replace any existing University dispute resolution policies and procedures. Students are encouraged to consult with the Director of Disability Services or respective designees regarding the most appropriate University policy or procedure to address a particular concern. All forms are available in the DSS portal page.
Step One: A student may bring a discrimination concern or appeal a denial of an accommodation request by submitting the Step One Grievance Form to the disability specialist for his/her consideration.
Step Two: If the matter remains unresolved after step one, either the student or the disability specialist may submit the matter to the director of disability services for a prompt and informal resolution. If the informal resolution arrived at by the director is unsatisfactory to the student, the student may file a formal Step Three Grievance Form.
Step Three: This request for a step three review must be filed within five (5) business days of the denial of or lack of resolution of the step one grievance. The director of disability services will then investigate the matter and issue a written decision within ten (10) business days after receiving the grievance. The director and the student may mutually agree on an extension of time if additional information gathering is necessary or some other unforeseen delay arises.
Step Four: If the student wishes to challenge the step three written decision of the director of disability services, he/she has a right to file a step four grievance with the provost. In order to begin this process, the student must complete the Step Four Grievance Form.
A Step Four Grievance Form must ordinarily be filed no later than thirty (30) days after the date of the step three written decision of the director of disability services. The provost reserves the right to refuse to investigate a step four grievance that is filed more than thirty (30) days after the date of the written decision of the director of disability services.
Upon receipt of a timely step four grievance, the provost or his designee shall investigate the matter. Investigation will ordinarily involve interviewing relevant individuals and reviewing reasonably available documents.
Upon completion of the investigation, the provost or designee will issue a written determination to the student and the director of disability services which will specify findings, and, if appropriate, set forth the resolution of the matter. Such written determination shall ordinarily be issued within thirty (30) days of the date of the step four grievance. Circumstances which may prolong the response of the provost or designee include the intervention of a semester break and such other circumstances which may render unavailable persons necessary to an appropriate resolution of the complaint.
The provost or designee shall maintain files and records relating to all step four grievances. The right of the student to an equitable and timely resolution of a filed grievance shall not be impaired by his/her pursuit of other remedies such as the filing of a complaint with the responsible federal or state department agency.
Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Complaint
Although students are encouraged to attempt to resolve complaints pertaining to disabilities by using this grievance procedure, they have the right to file a complaint directly with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR): United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, Cleveland Office, 600 Superior Avenue East, Suite 750, Cleveland, Ohio 44114-2611. Phone: 216.522.4970, Fax: 216.522.2573, Email: OCR.Cleveland@ed.gov.
Families are instrumental to the overall success of students. The information in this section is provided to help families become well informed about student rights and responsibilities. If you have any questions, please feel free to call DSS at (440) 826-2147.
- Tips for a Successful Transition to BW
Below are some recommendations on how families can help their student with the transition to university life.
- Upon admission to BW, encourage your student to follow the steps for "Applying for Accommodations" outlined above.
- Once your student receives the email from DSS to schedule the Student Welcome Meeting, encourage him/her to schedule it as soon as possible. Many appointments occur the Friday before summer orientation or the first week of classes. During the Student Welcome Meeting, your student will meet with a DSS staff member to discuss the functional limitations of his/her disability and any appropriate accommodations. Your student will also learn how to access available resources. If you accompany your student to the meeting, you will be allowed in after we have talked to your student privately.
- Once any accommodations have been approved, it is your student's responsibility to utilize the services and follow the process, policies and procedures.
- Due to FERPA regulations, BW faculty and staff cannot answer questions about your student's course progress or grades. You should formulate a plan with your student for communicating course progress and grade information to you throughout the semester.
- Encourage your student to be an active participant in his/her educational experience. This requires that your student is both responsible and accountable. You can foster independence and responsibility by encouraging your student to:
- Check his/her BW email account 2-3 times each day. Most communications from the University, faculty and staff will go to BW email.
- Respond to email in a timely manner. Since email is the primary form of communication, students need to develop a habit of communicating electronically. It is helpful if those communications include the student's first and last name, BW ID number, a greeting or salutation and spell check.
- Schedule meetings with his/her professors to discuss questions about assignments, difficulty with course content or concerns about his/her progress in the course.
- Schedule meetings with his/her academic advisor(s) each semester. Students need to meet with their academic advisor to be released for registration and to discuss dropping classes, if needed.
- Become familiar with and utilize campus resources. If your student is upset or having academic difficulty, advise that he/she seek out resources on campus, including faculty, academic advisors, Disability Services, Counseling Services, the Learning Center, Residence Life, Registration & Records or Dean of Students.
- Maintain contact with DSS throughout the academic year. This includes following processes, policies and procedures. Review the Student Handbook to be aware of and comply with University policies, practices and procedures. It is also helpful in understanding BW community and University culture.
- Become a self-advocate regarding his/her disability. Students need to be aware of their disability and their functional limitations and then develop appropriate coping strategies.
- Continue taking medications as prescribed. Many students suddenly stop their medications which can negatively impact their physical, mental health and academic success.
- If your student is a commuter, encourage him/her to stay on campus instead of returning home between classes. This will help him/her become part of the BW community and provide an opportunity to seek helpful resources.
- Additional Resources
There are many free resources available to families of students with disabilities. Here are a few that DSS recommends:
- Auxiliary Aids and Personal Services
- Language Therapy Services
- Preparing for Post-Secondary Education
- Open Letter from Jane Jarrow, disability services expert, sharing her insight and concerns as her daughter prepared to enter college.
- College to Career Road Map: A Four-Year Guide to Coaching Your Student (Parent Edition) by Terese Corey Blanck, Peter Vogt and Judith Anderson (Paperback - Aug. 25, 2006)
- Letting Go (Fifth Edition): A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger (Paperback - Mar. 17, 2009)
- Ready for Take-Off: Preparing Your Teen With ADHD or LD for College by Theresa E. Laurie, Ph.D. Maitland and Patricia O., M.D. Quinn (Paperback - Nov. 2010)
- Guiding Teens with Learning Disabilities: Navigating the Transition from High School to Adulthoodby Arlyn J. Roffman (Paperback - Sep. 4, 2007)
- The Parent's Guide to College for Students on the Autism Spectrum by Jane Thierfeld Brown, Lorraine Wolf, Lisa King, G. Ruth Bork (Paperback - Jan. 2012)