Equal Access and Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Related Policies

Center for Equal Access Policies 

This section includes: 

  • Alternative Testing Policy
  • Auxiliary Aids Policy
  • Grievance Procedure for Student Complaints Alleging Violations of Section 504 of the  Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Minnesota Human Rights Act
  • Policy for Use of a Service Animal

Alternative Testing Arrangements Policy

The College of St. Scholastica fosters a number of academic opportunities for students to grow in their learning process. Testing is still a primary assessment measure of a student's mastery of course content. In light of the multiple ways of delivering course content, The College seeks to determine a process to offer opportunities of test delivery to students.

Definitions

Test - an exam, quiz or assignment that is to be completed within a defined time allotment.

Alternative Test - an exam, quiz or assignment that is administered within a defined time frame which is either rescheduled by a student, in need of a testing proctor, or a test accommodation issued by the Center for Equal Access that requires an adjustment in the testing environment.

Testing Proctor - an official College staff/faculty who oversees and initiates the exam.

CSS Student Requests

All CSS students are entitled to alternative testing environments if they meet the following criteria: 1) registered with the Center for Equal Access and issued alternative testing accommodations; or 2) a student registered with the Center for Equal Access who is taking an online or correspondence course or standardized exam independent from The College which requires a testing proctor; or 3) a student not registered with the Center for Equal Access with approval from faculty to use alterative testing arrangements; or 4) a CSS student taking an online or correspondence course or standardized exam independent from The College which requires a testing proctor.

Center for Equal Access Testing Center Use

Students registered with the Center for Equal Access (Center) and issued alternative testing environments have the opportunity to use the Center for Equal Access' Testing Center. The Testing Center is designed to offer equal access in testing situations that a disability or chronic medical condition may limit. Students must have disclosed to the Center a functional limitation based on disability or chronic medical condition, have a record of the impairment, or be regarded as having a disability to be issued alternative testing accommodations.

The Testing Center is used by students with disabilities, chronic medical conditions or temporary conditions lasting longer than six months and registered with the Center for Equal Access. In rare cases, accommodations for testing environments may be granted to students who may not meet the above requirements, but due to their condition their academic and learning experience may be compromised. These situations are determined on a case-by-case basis, but may include student athletes who experienced concussions during their season or students diagnosed with illness with long-term effects such as Mononucleosis. Students who do not qualify under the outlined circumstances will not be allowed to test with the Testing Center.

Students registered with the Center but not issued academic accommodations but are enrolled in an online or correspondence course or standardized exam which requires a testing proctor will be allowed to use the Testing Center. All Center's requests are directed to use the online test schedule link at https://www2.css.edu/app/depts/drc/testscheduling/index.cfm

CSS Student Procedure and Use

Students who are not registered with the Center for Equal Access and in need of an alternative testing environment must arrange this service with the CSS Library at 218.723.6140, text at 218.422.6942 or Email at askus@css.edu.

Auxiliary Aids Policy

Auxiliary aids are defined as devices or services that enable persons with one or more life impairments to have an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of and achieve the same level of achievement in programs activities and courses at The College of St. Scholastica. Common auxiliary aids include American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters, descriptive media services, audio or digital textbooks, use of speech-to text software, screen reading software, iPads, digital recorders and Livescribe Smartpens. Students who request auxiliary aids due circumstances related to disability must register with the Center for Equal Access.

  1. Requests for services that require personnel such as an ASL interpreter or Descriptive Services, note-taker or Access Assistant* must make requests for services before the activity

    • One-time events requests must be made at least ten (10) business days in advance.

    • An ongoing attendance by the service personnel for courses or activities must be requested at least three (3) months before the course or activity.

    • For a long-term or ongoing request involving internship, teaching or clinical experience or study abroad, at least five (5) months notice is required.

  2. Requests for conversion of textbooks into accessible formats must be given at least ten (10) business days in advance.

  3. Any tools, computer software or hardware requests must be given at least three (3) business days in advance of use. Students who check out items from the Center's resource library must

    • Complete a checkout form indicating date checked out and date of anticipated return.
    • Care for materials while checked out and in use. Failure to do so (damage to or loss of equipment) may result in a charge to a student's account.
    • Failure to return items by the check-out date indicated will result in a service charge to the student's account.
  4. Requests for the use of auxiliary aids or adjustments to housing and residential purposes must occur at least 40 days (two months) before need.
    • Members of the Access Committee with expertise in the area of disability will be consulted and determine the extent of the auxiliary aid or adjustment.
  5. Auxiliary aids or adjustments may be denied if it fundamentally alters the outcomes of the program, class or activity; or if it presents an undue hardship or burden on the institution.
  6. Any adjustments or auxiliary aid request to meet needs of a personal nature will not be considered obligatory in nature by the institution. This includes a Personal Care Assistant, tutor or personal instruction

*An Access Assistant is a person hired by The College (typically a work study student) to assist in activities where physical disabilities may limit the full participation in the class that is required for course credit Access Assistants serve as a vehicle to accomplish tasks a person with a limitation cannot do themselves. Examples may include assisting in lab, clinical or field experience. Students who use an Access Assistant must be able to show mastery of material as any other student. Access Assistants do not offer personal care to students with disabilities.

Grievance Procedure for Student Complaints Alleging Violations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Minnesota Human Rights Act

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, fieldwork and clinical placements. The College will ensure that no otherwise qualified students with disabilities will be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any College class, program, or activity.

Definitions:

Bias Incident-An incident where a student receives single or multiple acts of verbal, written, electronic or physical expressions of disrespectful bias, hate, intimidation, or hostility by another student.
Disability-A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities including caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating or working.
Discrimination-The denial of full utilization of or benefit from any educational institution, or the services rendered thereby to any person because of disability, or to fail to ensure physical and program access for disabled persons (Minnesota Statute 363A.13, 2012).
Grievance-a report of discrimination, retaliation or harassment based on disability.
Grievant-a student who reports a claim of discriminatory practice, retaliation and/or harassment based on disability.
Harassment-Harassment consists of any words or conduct that shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of disability or that of his/her relatives, friends, or associates and that: Has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or educational environment; Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance; or Otherwise adversely affects an individual's employment or academic opportunities. Harassment may occur in situations where there is a power differential between the parties (between any persons on campus or between any persons at any campus activities), or where the persons share the same status (i.e., student-student, faculty-faculty, staff-staff). It may occur between members of the same or opposite sex.
Respondent-the student, faculty or staff member accused of discrimination, retaliation or harassment.

Three types of intervention may be pursued:

Bias Incident-a report can be anonymous or reported by a third party. For more information or to file a report, go to https://www2.css.edu/app/programs/diversity/biasReporting/report.cfm

Collaborative Grievance-A report of discrimination, retaliation or harassment based on disability made by a student against an instructor, student or staff person to the Disability Resource Center. The student wishes to resolve the situation through a collaborative process using the Disability Resource Center to facilitate the process.

Formal Grievance-a formal report of discrimination, retaliation or harassment based on disability made by an instructor or staff person which a student requests specific action from The College that is outside of the scope of the Disability Resource Center. This process should be used if a grievance is filed against any staff from the Disability Resource Center.

Procedures

The following procedures will be used to address situations which a student perceives to be discriminatory and/or a violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Minnesota Human Rights Act, or any other law enacted to ensure equal opportunity for all members of The College of St. Scholastica community.

Appeals of denied requests for accommodations or auxiliary aids based upon a disability as stated in the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act 2008 should also use these procedures.

Retaliation to any grievance and/or practice related to disability or the Disability Resource Center is strictly prohibited and promptly investigated by the Access Committee. Retaliatory behavior may include adverse treatment, unsubstantiated grading practices, harassment and intimidation related to participating in a grievance procedure. If there is any retaliation experienced by either the grievant or respondent a report should be made directly to the Vice President level of the appropriate institutional reporting structure.
Initiating a Grievance
The student initiates the grievance by connecting with the Director of the Disability Resource Center. If the grievance is against any staff of the Disability Resource Center, then the written notice is given to the Vice President of Student Affairs (VPSA) and follows the formal grievance procedure.
The College reserves the right to bring a collaborative grievance to the Access Committee and/or Formal Grievance procedures if a report is egregious in nature; if multiple grievances have been reported about one person, or if the nature of the situation places The College at risk. In any of these cases, the institution assumes the role of grievant.

Collaborative (informal) Grievance

The grievant reports to the Director of the Disability Resource Center, the Director will:

  1. Listen to the report by the student (here titled 'Grievant')
  2. Write a detailed note of the claims of discrimination or harassment to be included in their file 
  3. Inform the grievant of options of action which may include
    • a meeting with the respondent, department chair or School Dean facilitated by the coordinator or
    • a written notice to the respondent by the Director 
  4. Request a Release of Information in order to engage relevant individuals in the process, if necessary

Formal Grievance

A student who wishes to pursue a formal grievance will present to the Director of the Disability Resource Center written notice of the grievance. The notice must contain, at a minimum, the following information:

  1. A title or heading identifying the notice as a formal grievance pursuant to this procedure
  2. A description of the situation forming the basis of the grievance or actions alleged to be discriminatory
  3. The names of any individuals involved
  4. Individuals who may have knowledge of the matters alleged
  5. The result or corrective action desired; and
  6. The grieving party's name, address, and phone number.

The student will meet with the coordinator of the Disability Resource Center to:

  1. Discuss the grievant's rights and the rights of the accused.
  2. Sign a statement of "good faith" acknowledging everything said is true and to the best of his/her knowledge.
  3. Determine the most appropriate plan of action based on the level of involvement of the department chair or Dean. Typical report of grievance begins with the department chair; next, Dean of the School, and ultimately the Vice-President of Academic Affairs, Dean of the Faculty.

All grievances must be filed no later than 60 calendar days from the date of the alleged violation.

Formal Grievance Process

Notification.

Both the grievant and the respondent will be notified in writing of the primary contact of the proceedings. The respondent will be notified of the charges, the name of the grievant, and the grievance procedures of The College. The respondent will be allowed to present a written response to the primary contact of the proceedings. Further notification is required through all aspects of the process.

Investigation.

Two appointed members of the Access Committee shall investigate the grievance by interviewing the grieving party and any individuals identified in the written notice. The Access Committee shall conduct such further investigation as is necessary to respond to the grievance. The results of the investigation will occur within twenty days of receipt of the written grievance.

Grievance Hearing

Within 10 working days after the completion of the investigation, the Access Committee investigators shall bring together a Grievance Panel, schedule and hold a hearing to consider and decide the grievance. The grievant and respondent shall have the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses at the hearing. All relevant evidence that is trustworthy and reliable shall be considered by the Grievance Panel. Composition of the Grievance Panel. The Access Committee investigators will initiate a panel of college officials who will hear all grievances alleging discrimination. The Grievance Panel shall be so constituted that no staff member, faculty, or administrator involved in or associated with the grievance will hear the matter. Students will not be permitted to serve on the investigation. The following individuals will be included on the grievance panel:

  1. Dean of Students (where a student is the respondent) or Dean of the associated school (where an instructor is the respondent). If the respondent is a Dean, the Vice President of Academic Affairs or her designee will be part of the grievance panel.
  2. Two members of the Access Committee
  3. Department Chair of respondent (if applicable)
  4. Representative from Human Resources (if applicable)
  5. Director of the Disability Resource Center (ex-officio),
  6. Student Affairs Representative

Decision.

The Grievance Panel shall render its decision in writing within 10 working days of the hearing. The decision shall contain the reasons for the decision and any corrective action to be taken. All parties and others affected by the decision shall be provided with written copies of the decision, which shall also include notification of the availability of an appeal, as outlined below.

Appeal 

An appeal of the Grievance Panel's decision may be made to the Vice-President of Student Affairs or his designee by the grieving party or any affected party who appeared at the hearing. The appeal shall be made in writing within five working days of the Grievance Panel's decision. The appeal shall include a copy of the Grievance Panel's decision and the party's reasons for requesting further review by the Vice President of Student Affairs or designee. Upon receipt of the appeal, the Vice President of Student Affairs or designee shall independently review all of the information submitted to or generated by the investigators and Grievance Panel. If, in the Vice President of Student Affairs or designee's discretion, further information is required, the Vice President of Student Affairs or designee shall be authorized to conduct whatever additional research or investigation is deemed necessary,including meeting with the grieving party and/or others involved. The Vice President of Student Affairs or designee will respond to the appeal, in writing, within 10 working days. The decision will include an explanation for the decision and/or notification of any corrective action to be taken.

External Resources

Students who do not feel the decision or process was in their best interest may pursue external resources and services. Students may seek resolution through one or both of the following agencies:

Office of Civil Rights Department of Education
Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Telephone: 800-421-3481
FAX: 202-453-6012; TDD: 877-521-2172
Email: OCR@ed.gov
https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/aboutocr.html

Minnesota Department of Human Rights
Freeman Building, 625 Robert Street North, Saint Paul, MN 55155
651.539.1100 (main office, available 8:00 am to 4:30 pm)
(The Intake phone line is open from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm)
TTY: 651.296.1283
Toll Free: 800.657.3704
Fax: 651.296.9042
http://www.humanrights.state.mn.us/

Policy for Use of a Service Animal

The College of St. Scholastica has a strict "no pet policy" on campus. However, students who attend The College of St. Scholastica may require the use of service dog. A service dog* is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act as "any dog individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability."

The goal of a service animal is to provide a life function or task for an individual who cannot perform the task him or herself. Some tasks may include but are not limited to:

  • Alerting a person with hearing impairments to sounds cues
  • Calming a person with PTSD through a flashback or anxiety attack
  • Assisting with daily life tasks
  • A service animal is NOT a pet

The College encourages but does not require students who use a service animal to register with the Center for Equal Access. The Center will assist students to navigate college systems and inform the campus community of responsibilities of the greater community.

Owner Responsibilities

The student seeking this accommodation is also responsible for the animal, which includes:

  1. The service dog must be well-behaved and does not pose as a disruption to learning.
  2. The service dog must be in the control (on a leash, harness, etc.) by the handler at all times.
  3. The handler of the service dog must be able to manage elimination by the animal.
  4. The handler of the service dog is responsible for any property damage caused by the animal.
  5. The service dog may be prohibited from any areas or situations which may cause harm or risk to the animal (such as laboratories).
  6. The service dog alters the fundamental outcomes or technical elements of the program, course or activity.

College Responsibilities

The College is responsible for educating the community on how to behave and act in the presence of a service animal. College employees and agents of The College are only allowed to ask two questions of the individual who presents with a service dog:

    1. Is this a service animal?
    2. What tasks is the dog trained to perform?

College representatives are not allowed to ask:

    • The individual to demonstrate the trained tasks of the service animal.
    • The individual to prove the animal has been trained.
    • The individual to require to vest or clearly mark the service animal.
    • The individual the nature or extent of their disability.

For questions or concerns, please consult the Center for Equal Access.

Service Dog versus Assistance Animal

Assistance animals do not fall under the guidelines of ADA. An animal with a purpose of providing emotional support, comfort, therapy, or companionship is not considered a service animal. If you are requesting an Assistance Animal, please see the Center for Equal Access.

*There are exceptions to a service dog including provisions regarding miniature horses. Any requests of having a miniature horse on campus will be determined on a case-by-case basis.