University of Mississippi
Office of Student Disability Services
(Note: This document
is used with the permission of the University of Montana)
Yes, it is possible not
to pass a student with a disability. The secret centers on compliance
with the civil rights laws which prohibit discrimination. These
laws mandate access to education, not guaranteed academic success.
When a faculty member has done all that is required, then flunking
the under-qualified student is proper and lawful. Here's a compliance
Stand by academic standards
and freedoms. Full and equitable access to academic programs serves
as the foundation to standards and freedoms.
Communicate clear and
concise expectations for performance to your students. Care should
be taken to distinguish between essential and non-essential components
of the course.
Allow reasonable accommodations.
Accommodations are changes in the way things are done and affect
only non-essential aspects of a course. They are reasonable so long
as course standards are not fundamentally altered.
Notify students of your
willingness to accommodate. This can be done verbally during lectures
and in writing within a course syllabus. Student Disability Services
(SDS) recommends both. Sample syllabus statement:
It is the responsibility of any student with a disability who requests
a reasonable accommodation to contact the Office of Student Disability
Services (915-7128). SDS will then contact the instructor through
the student by means of an Instructor Notification of Classroom
Consult with the student
and SDS staff. Students are required to disclose a disability and
request accommodations through the SDS office. They are also required
to submit, to the SDS office, documentation which supports their
requests. If requesting direct classroom accommodations, students
are required to deliver an Instructor Notification of Classroom
Accommodations form to each instructor from whom they will need
accommodation. If a student does not have this form, faculty should
request that the student contact SDS in order to get an Instructor
Notification of Classroom Accommodations form. We furnish everything
relevant an instructor needs to know.
Permit students to use
auxiliary aids and technologies which ensure access. Depending on
the disability, students may use notetakers, sign language interpreters,
readers, scribes, and research assistants. Others may use tape recorders/players,
computers, assistive listening devices, and other technologies for
the same purpose.
When requested, provide
alternatives to printed information such as Braille, computer electronic,
text, large print, and tape cassettes. If Internet resources and
other technologies are used, then they must be accessible to students
with disabilities as they are for other students. Also, if using
video or audio formats, ensure that the information relayed is in
accessible form, such as closed captioning or transcription. SDS
produces or provides most of these alternate formats.
Make academic adjustments
in instruction. Some students need lecturers to face the audience
while speaking. Others may need written instructions or graphic
information spoken aloud or described. Adjustments such as these
may be made after the student requests them.
Grant testing accommodations.
Again, depending on the particular needs of a student, it may be
necessary to extend testing times, test in a quiet environment and
so on. Testing accommodations will be listed on each student's Instructor
Notification of Classroom Accommodations form.
Contact SDS with any
questions or concerns regarding the granting of academic accommodations
to students with disabilities.
discussions and information with the strictest confidentiality.
No professor has the right to destroy program access by ignoring
Document your efforts
to accommodate students with disabilities.
And there you have it.
If compliance checks out, don't pass the student who isn't otherwise
qualified. Although it is possible for any student to file a complaint,
it is another matter entirely to show discrimination when faculty
have complied with the law. For more information, call the staff
members at 915-7128.
Office of Student Disability Services
234 Martindale Center
SDS revised 12/2006