In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act - Section 84.4 of the Federal rules and regulations governing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.., “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity which receives or benefits from Federal financial assistance.”
Hawai‘i Community College (HawCC) is committed to providing a barrier-free campus and academic accommodations to ensure students with disabilities have equal access to their education. The Disability Services Program provides assistance to students who self-identify as having a documented physical, learning, psychological, and/or sensory disability which limits their ability to fully participate in course study and campus activities at HawCC. This program is voluntary and students with disabilities are not obligated to disclose any disability related information or are mandated to receive accommodations.
Students, who can provide documentation that indicates the existence of a disability as well as its substantial impact in limiting one or more major life activities, including leaning, are eligible for services. The documentation should indicate whether the absence of special accommodation would limit or deny equal access and thus, result in discrimination.
Recommended Statement to include on your course syllabus
Hawai‘i Community College is committed to provide equal access to the campus, course information and activities for students who have disabilities. If you have a documented disability and/or related access need, please contact Disability Services Program at (808)934-2825, email@example.com or stop by the office located in Kānanaola on the Manono Campus – Building 379A, Room 2.
If you are a student who needs to have an accommodation, please discuss your needs with the disabilities office and make your request in a timely manner.
Hawai‘i Community College also has generalist counselor available if you have any issues which may have a negative impact on your ability to successfully complete this course, and other courses that you are taking. Call (808)934-2720 if you have a need to see a generalist counselor.
What is the ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended (ADA) (P.L. 110-325), is the civil rights guarantee for persons with disabilities in the United States.
It provides protection from discrimination for individuals on the basis of disability. The ADA extends civil rights protection form people with disabilities to employment in the public and private sectors, transportation, public accommodations, services provided by state and local government, and telecommunication relay services.
What is the Section 504?
Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Section 504 provides: "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance ...."
Who protected by the Law?
Section 504 covers qualified students with disabilities who attend schools receiving Federal financial assistance. To be protected under Section 504, a student must be determined to: (1) have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or (2) have a record of such an impairment; or (3) be regarded as having such an impairment.
A “qualified person with a disability” is defined as one who meets the requisite academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in the postsecondary institution’s programs and activities. Section 504 protects the civil rights of individuals who are qualified to participate and who have disabilities such as but not limited to, blindness or visual impairments, cerebral palsy, chronic illnesses (i.e. HIV/AIDS, arthritis, cancer, cardiac diseases, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, or psychiatric disabilities), deafness or hearing impairments, drug or alcohol addiction (Section 504 covers former users and those in recovery programs and not currently using drugs or alcohol), epilepsy or seizure disorders, intellectual disabilities, orthopedic impairments, specific learning disabilities, speech disorders and/or spinal cord or traumatic brain injury.
What is the Impact of the Law on Postsecondary Education?
Colleges and universities receiving federal assistance must not discriminate in the recruitment, admission, or treatment of students. Students with documented disabilities may request modifications, accommodations, or auxiliary aids which will enable them to participate in and benefit from all postsecondary education programs and activities. Postsecondary institutions must make such changes to ensure that the academic program is accessible to the greatest extent possible by all Students with Disabilities.
Under the provisions of Section 504, universities and colleges may NOT:
- Limit the number of students admitted
- Make preadmission inquiries as the whether or not an applicant is disabled
- Use admissions tests or criteria that inadequately measure the academic qualifications of disabled students because special provisions were not made for them
- Exclude a qualified student with a disability from any course of study
- Limit eligibility to a student with a disability for financial assistance or discriminate in administering scholarships, fellowships, internships, or assistantships on the basis of disability
- Counsel a student with a disability toward a more restrictive career
- Measure student achievement using modes that adversely discriminate against a student with a disability
- Establish rules and policies that adversely affect students with disabilities
What Can Colleges and Universities Do to Implement Program Modifications?
For college students with disabilities, academic adjustments may include adaptation in the way specific courses are conducted, the use of auxiliary equipment and support staff, and modifications in academic requirements. A college or university has the flexibility to select the specific aid or service it provides as long as it is effective. Such aids or services should be selected in consultation with the student who will use them.
Postsecondary institutions can make modifications for students with disabilities such as:
- Removing architectural barriers
- Providing services such as readers for the blind or learning disabled individuals, qualified interpreters and note takers for deaf and hard of hearing students, or note takers for students with learning disabilities or mobility impairments. (Colleges and universities may, but need not, provide aids, devices, or services of a personal nature, such as personal assistants, wheelchairs, or specifically certified tutors)
- Providing modifications, substitutions, or waivers of courses, major fields of study, or degree requirements on a case-by-case basis. (Such accommodations need not be made if the institution can demonstrate that the changes requested would substantially alter essential elements of the course or program)
- Allowing extra time to complete exams
- Permitting exams to be individually proctored, read orally, dictated, or typed
- Increasing the frequency of tests or examinations
- Changing test formats (e.g. from multiple choice to essay)
- Using alternative forms for students to demonstrate course mastery (e.g. a narrative tape instead of a written journal)
- Permitting the use of computer software programs or other assistive technological devices to assist in test-taking and study skills
“Best Practices” Regarding Confidentiality for Students with Disabilities
- Disability-related information (DRI) should be handled under the same strict rules of confidentiality as is other medical information. This includes the comprehensive documentation that persons with disabilities are often required to provide to establish the existence of their disability and their need for accommodation or consideration.
- DRI should be collected and maintained on separate forms and kept in secure files with limited access.
- Specific DRI should be shared only on a limited basis within the instructional community. There must be a competing reason for the release of that information to the institutional employee or agent seeking its disclosure.
- Information regarding a student’s disability should only be shared with the person who holds the documentation, meaning the sharing with instructional staff should only include that the student has a documented disability and the need for accommodation(s).
- Students with disabilities are provided their accommodation letters and will determine for themselves whether to disclose this information with instructional staff by providing them with their accommodation letter. They cannot be asked specific information regarding their disability, but can be asked about their specific accommodation. It is their choice to disclose any specific disability-related information. However, if a student decides not to provide their accommodation letter to the instructional staff that staff member is not obligated to provide the accommodation in their class.
The student with disability is the best source of information regarding necessary accommodations. In postsecondary settings it is the student’s responsibility to request special accommodations if they desire to do so.
Faculty members can make a student feel comfortable by inquiring about special needs by:
- Including a statement on the class syllabi regarding disability services. You may also invite the student to discuss their disability directly with you (e.g. If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss your academic accommodations, please contact me as soon as possible)
- When talking with a student, inquire about special needs in the classroom, in the lab, in fieldwork, or on field trips. Work with the student and the Disability Services office to determine and provide appropriate accommodations
- Select course materials early. Distribute syllabi, assignments, and reading lists in advance and electronic format to facilitate translation if needed.
- Face the class when speaking. Repeat discussion questions. Write key phrases on the board. Hand out assignments in writing. Provide written summaries of demonstrations in advance and use captioned films if you have hearing impaired students in your class.
- Verbally describe visual aids if there is a student with a visual impairment in class. For example, you might say, “The 3 inch long steel rod” rather than “this.”