Student Disability Services—Policies
Michigan Tech is committed to ensuring that all qualified individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to take part in educational programs and services on an equal basis. The aim is to provide this opportunity in an integrated setting that fosters independence and meets the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Definition of an Individual with a Disability
These policies apply to those who meet the definition of having a disability as set forth by the American with Disabilities Act as:
- A person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activity.
- A person who has a record of such an impairment.
- A person who is regarded as having such an impairment.
Eligibility for Services
To be eligible for services, students with disabilities must identify themselves and present professional documentation to the Dean of Students Office, Coordinator for Student Disability Services. Until appropriate documentation is provided, support for the student’s disability may not be provided.
Students who wish to have services available at the beginning of the semester should make certain their documentation is in place six weeks before the beginning of the semester, and that they have met with the Coordinator of Student Disability Services to discuss necessary accommodations. While efforts are made to meet accommodation requests on shorter notice, students cannot be guaranteed accommodations without providing documentation six weeks before the beginning of the semester.
Documentation should be prepared by an appropriate professional who is not a family member. Documentation should be recent (within the last three years), relevant, comprehensive, and where appropriate, should contain test scores and interpretation. If the original documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability or reasonable accommodations, the university has the discretion to require additional documentation. Any cost incurred in obtaining additional or initial documentation is borne by the student.
Guidelines for Documentation
In evaluating requests for accommodations, the university will need documentation that consists of an evaluation by an appropriate professional, on letterhead, which describes the current impact of the disability. The following should be included:
- A diagnostic statement identifying the disability, the original date of diagnosis, and the date of the most current diagnostic evaluation.
- A description of the diagnostic tests, methods, and/or criteria used to reach the diagnosis.
- A description of the current functional impact of the disability in the individual’s life, supported by test results and the examiner’s narrative interpretation.
- Treatments, medications, or assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use.
- A description of the expected progression or stability of the impact of the disability over time, particularly the next five years.
In order to ensure accommodations for testing, students must notify their professors of the need at the beginning of the semester by supplying each professor with their letters of accommodations from the SDS office. If students choose to wait to notify their professors, they are required to give their professors one week’s notice before a test, in order to receive accommodations. Last minute requests for test accommodations cannot be supported by the SDS office.
The ADA does not excuse the inappropriate behavior of students.
- A student is not otherwise qualified if he/she cannot comply with the institutional code of conduct or if he/she poses a serious risk of harm to self or others.
- An institution may discipline a student with a disability for engaging in misconduct if it would impose the same discipline on a student without a disability.
- Misconduct due to not taking prescribed medication does not have to be accommodated.
The use of service animals at Michigan Tech – including in housing – is in compliance with the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Fair Housing Act. Michigan Tech retains the right to determine if an animal is being used as a service provider. Some of the signs of service that will be looked for:
- The animal wears a harness, vest, tag, or is otherwise visibly part of an organized service program.
- The owner of the animal is able, and required, to keep the animal under control both in the presence of others and in regard to non-destructive use of housing.
- The owner is able to describe the tasks the animal performs and how the animal accomplishes these tasks, e.g. seizure warning, signaling for the deaf, assist animals for persons who use wheelchairs or are mobility impaired, etc.