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Student Rights to Accommodation

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Student Rights to Accommodation


In circumstances where a student is unable to access a campus resource or requires special services in the classroom, the student can request an accommodation via the Academic Support office. Accommodations are available to all students, whether they attend the Galesburg campus or not. Students who attend at the Carthage campus or online and dual credit students should be sure to see the the section on accommodating distance students on our Information for New and Prospective Students page.


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What are a student’s rights with regard to accommodating their disability?

Students with disabilities have the right to equal access to education as non-disabled students. Where a student’s disability imposes a barrier to equal access to the physical or learning environment, Carl Sandburg College is responsible for providing accommodations. These can include the following:

  • Alterations to the physical environment (push-to-open doors, open walkways, ramps, elevators, etc.)
  • Alterations to classroom layout (presence of adjustable desks, desk rearrangement, etc.)
  • Presentation considerations, such as providing handout supplements to PowerPoint presentations
  • Testing support, including providing a reader, testing in an alternate location, and extended testing time
  • Permission to use tools and services in the classroom (voice recorders, guide dogs, ASL interpreters, etc.)
  • Technological accommodations such as screen readers and voice-to-text applications

Students have the right to request that anything be considered as an accommodation for any disability, including intellectual disabilities, anxiety, PTSD, and attention deficits. Accommodations aren’t pre-defined or selected as if ordering from a menu; they are tailored to each individual student’s unique circumstances. The Academic Support Services Coordinator determines what accommodations are appropriate in a given circumstance.


Are there limits to what we can do to accommodate students with disabilities?

Since a student has the right to request anything as an accommodation, our process is to determine whether their request is disability-related and “reasonable.” If it is, it should be granted.


An accommodation is disability-related if it can be proven that the accommodation will serve to lessen the negative effects of a disability. Accommodations requests that do not address the barriers imposed by a student's disability cannot be granted.


An accommodation is reasonable under the following conditions:

  • It is not a fundamental alteration to the course objectives. (e.g. extended time on tests may be an appropriate accommodation in most cases, but it fundamentally alters a triage simulation)
  • It is not of a personal nature.
  • It is not a direct threat to others.


What is the procedure for requesting accommodations?

Students must request accommodations each semester they intend to use them by signing a Letter of Accommodation (LOA) that has been approved by the Coordinator of Academic Support. This LOA is then emailed to the student's instructors, the student's advisors, and the student herself. In order for accommodations to be approved, the student should have current documentation of their disability on file with the Academic Support Office.


If you are a student looking for information on how to submit documentation and request accommodations, visit our page on Information for New and Prospective Students. Information specific to students not attending the Galesburg campus, including online learners, students at the Carthage campus, and dual credit students, can be found in the subsection on accommodating distance students on the Information for New and Prospective students.


Academic Support Services does not send Letters of Accommodation to other schools as a matter of course. If a student is taking classes at another institution, that student must contact the disability support office at that school and follow their procedures for requesting accommodations separately. Carl Sandburg College's Academic Support Services department can assist by forwarding the student's disability support records to the other school upon request.


How does Academic Support Services handle student disability records?

Due to the sensitive nature of disability documentation, Academic Support Services keeps disability records, which often include medical evaluations and reports, high school IEPs, and other private documents, in a restricted network drive. No records are shared with any other students, staff, or faculty at the college, nor the student's family or friends per FERPA and HIPPA guidelines, without the student's permission. A student's signature on a Letter of Accommodation (LOA) is permission for Academic Support Services to arrange for accommodations to be made, not permission for Academic Support Services to share disability records.


The restricted network drive on which disability records are kept is accessible only to the Coordinator of Academic Support and the Dean of Student Success. No other employee at the college has access to the drive. Physical copies of disability documentation are kept only long enough to be scanned and uploaded to the restricted drive; the original copies are then either returned to the student or destroyed. All records kept are electronic.


How are classroom disability accommodations administered?

It is the responsibility of the student, the Coordinator of Academic Support, and individual instructors to ensure that accommodations are properly administered. Primarily, it is the responsibility of the student to self-advocate and ensure that the necessary arrangements are being made. That said, faculty play a vital role in ensuring that their instruction, assessments, materials, and online spaces are accessible and disability-friendly.


What if I feel I have been discriminated against on the basis of my disability?

If you believe you have been discriminated on the basis of your disability, either due to the denial of a reasonable accommodation by the Academic Support office or any other particular office, faculty, or staff member, you should begin attempts to resolve your complaint with the person most directly involved. If attempting to resolve the complaint with those involved does not provide a satisfactory conclusion, you may seek assistance from the Coordinator of Academic Support Services or, if the Coordinator of Academic Support Services is the alleged source of the discrimination, the Dean of Student Success.


If such attempts do not provide a satisfactory conclusion, you may submit, in writing and within 10 school days of the issue in question, a formal complaint to the immediate supervisor against whom your complaint is directed (see PROCEDURE on Framework for Addressing Concerns Number All complaints will be reviewed by the appropriate administration, who will determine the college's response. All decisions, notifications of decisions, and reasons for decisions will be presented in writing.


You may simultaneously file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, the US Department of Education, or both.