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Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Norwich University is committed to ensuring equal access to its facilities, programs, services and activities for qualified individuals with disabilities. In keeping with this commitment, Norwich University supports the standards set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008, and similar state laws which are designed to eliminate discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. Disabilities may include physical, learning, or mental impairments which substantially limit one or more of a person's major life activities. Norwich is committed to making reasonable accommodations for qualifying students, faculty, and employees, or visitors with disabilities as required by applicable laws as well as to making the campus, its facilities, and online resources accessible as required by applicable laws.

Norwich will provide accommodations for qualified individuals so long as they do not:

1)    Compromise a technical standard or essential function of the program or job

2)    Fundamentally alter a program or service

3)    Create an undue burden (action requiring significant difficulty or expense)

4)    Legitimately compromise the safety of the individual or others at NU

 

Ensuring an accessible and inclusive educational and work environment is the responsibility of every member of the university community.

The Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is the University's ADA/504 Coordinator and shall: receive and respond to complaints of discrimination or harassment on the basis of disability; coordinate responses to issues regarding campus accessibility, including technologies and systems, in collaboration with other offices; oversee university efforts to eliminate disability bias in employment issues such as hiring processes,  job performance and evaluation, benefits, vacation, and leave;  and monitor  Norwich University's overall legal compliance in regards to persons with disabilities. Relevant policies and procedures are established in Norwich’s Non-Discrimination Policy and the Student Rules and Regulations.

The Vice President of Facilities and Operations is responsible for complying with all code issues for existing renovations, as well as new buildings, and for promoting compliance with campus physical and architectural access. The Vice President of Facilities and Operations is responsible for approval of this policy and should be contacted regarding any modification, renovation, and new construction of the University’s buildings. University event planners should work with Facilities Operations to ensure access to Norwich events, public programs, and places of public accommodation for students, faculty, staff, and guests.

The Center for Academic Success and Achievement’s (CASA) Coordinator of Student Accessibility Resources is responsible for organizing the response to requests for accommodation and provision of academic services that support the needs of students with disabilities enrolled in Norwich University residential/campus-based programs.

 The College of Graduate and Continuing Studies (CGCS) ADA Coordinator is responsible for organizing the response to requests for accommodation and provision of academic services that support the needs of students with disabilities enrolled in Norwich University online programs.

 Students wishing to request accommodations should contact the Coordinator for their campus.

Employees wishing to request workplace accommodations should contact Human Resources directly.

 Hiring, Admission & Transition:
Norwich University will not discriminate against any applicant for employment or admission as a student, who is otherwise qualified, solely based on disability. No inquiry will be made regarding any possible disabling condition until after the hiring or admission decision has been made and the applicant informed of acceptance or rejection.

Physical, Emotional, and Psychological Standards for Corps of Cadets and Athletics:
Because of the physical training component of the Corps of Cadets program, a physical examination and completion of a medical history form is required for all students admitted to that program. A physical examination is also required of any student participating in intercollegiate sports. Students must meet technical standards of physical, emotional, and psychological ability to participate in these programs. In addition, all students admitted to Norwich University will receive a standard form with information on how to request information about accessibility support services for students with diagnosed disabilities which may have an impact on functioning in the college setting.

Note: Disability disclosure to the University after admission is purely voluntary; all Corps forms must be returned to the University, regardless.

Confidentiality:
The material provided by the student and by professionals who have been involved in the student’s diagnosis or treatment will be treated as confidential information. Access to documentation will be granted only to those involved in the process of determining eligibility, and only to the extent that it contributes to developing an accommodation plan for the student. Information will be shared with others only with the written permission of the student except as required by law.

 Complaints regarding Disability-related Harassment or Discrimination

In addition to the appeals process regarding eligibility and/or accommodations decisions, students who feel that they have been harassed or discriminated against based on their disability, in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the ADAAA, or other applicable law, are encouraged to file a complaint under Norwich’s Non-discrimination Policy. Complaints should be directed to the Office of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, and Support (IDEAS) or Title IX Office and will be handled in accordance with procedures set forth in the Non-discrimination Policy.

Accessibility of Campus Events and Programs

Norwich will make its campus programs and events accessible to individuals with disabilities. Any individual, including visitors to campus, who requires an accommodation should contact the program planner of the events scheduling office at least ten business days in advance of the event. Students may also contact their Coordinator to address accessibility of campus events and programs. Norwich may not be able to guarantee reasonable accommodations of campus events and programs on less than 10 business days’ advance notice.

 Employees

Faculty, staff, and other Norwich employees who have ADA related concerns are assisted by Human Resources. For more information regarding the process by which employees can seek temporary medical leave see Leave, Disability, and Workers’ Compensation on the Human Resources’ Sharepoint site.

Procedure for Students to Request Accessibility Resources and Accommodations

 Requests for Accommodation:
Norwich University students who wish to request accommodations or accessibility resources are required to self-identify and work with their Coordinator to determine their eligibility for services; provide documentation if necessary; and establish appropriate accommodations that ensure equitable access to the University’s programs, activities, and resources.

 Incoming students can self-identify through the Admissions form established for this purpose. All students, incoming or continuing, can request accommodations or accessibility resources at any point during their Norwich career by contacting their Coordinator. Accommodations are not retroactive and may take some time to establish. All information related to ADAAA matters is confidential, and no communication about such information will be shared with others besides the coordinator without the student’s express, written permission. This policy refers to both the residential and online programs for all our colleges. If you have had a request for accommodations previously with Norwich University, please let your coordinator know.

Eligibility Determination Process

The following is the process for students to establish eligibility for ADA resources including accommodations.

  1. Students should contact their Coordinator to inform them of their interest in requesting accommodations.

  2. Students will meet with their coordinator to provide a self-report or narrative on how their disability impacts them and to discuss potential accommodations. In some cases, a student’s disability may be obvious or otherwise not require third party documentation such that the Coordinator can use their professional judgement and the narrative to determine eligibility and appropriate accommodations. In other cases, the student who seeks accommodations on the basis of disability is responsible for submitting necessary, third-party documentation to supplement their narrative. [See “Recommended Documentation Guidelines” below.]

  3. The Coordinator will determine student eligibility on an individualized basis. Eligibility is based on the otherwise qualified student having a disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities as defined by the ADAAA. Norwich will take into consideration a student’s self-report/narrative, the observation of a trained disability professional, and/or documentation provided by a qualified professional to determine a student’s eligibility. If there is not sufficient information to determine eligibility, the student will be informed of what additional information is needed.  It is important to note that a specific diagnosis does not establish in itself a need or an entitlement to accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).

Recommended Documentation Guidelines:

Note: Students who do not have documentation can meet with their Coordinator to present their self-report/narrative and discuss alternate options to the following documentation guidelines if appropriate. If students are unsure if their documentation is recent enough, they can send us what they have and we can advise them accordingly.

Complete and detailed documentation can help the Coordinator determine and provide the most effective resources and/or accommodations.

  1. Documentation should be:

    1. Completed and signed by a licensed or certified professional in a related field.

    2. Up to date/Current: This varies based on each condition but generally we request the following:

      1. Learning and developmental disabilities within 5 years or have adult measures

      2. ADHD within 3 years

      3. Psychological, systemic/chronic, within 6 months

      4. Physical/Sensory: Varies

      5. TBI varies based on the date/stage of injury

  2. 2.    Documentation should include:

    1. Date student last saw the provider

    2. Current DSM or ICD code and diagnosis

    3. Explanation of diagnostic criteria and/or evaluation measures used with test scores

    4. Symptoms: Ways in which the condition manifests itself and the degree of its impact(s) on the student

    5. Functional limitations: Explanation of current/future functional impacts of the condition

    6. Treatment: Services, accommodations, treatment, medication, and/or assistive devices currently in use or prescribed for the condition.

    7. Recommendations: suggestions of accommodations that may support the student to overcome barriers in the academic and/or residential environment (if on-campus).

 Next Steps after Eligibility Determination

If the student is determined eligible, a 504 Plan will be created with the student’s approval that includes the approved accommodations. If the student decides they want their faculty or other university staff to be informed of the approved accommodations, they will complete a Release Form granting the Coordinator permission to send the 504 Plan to the listed individuals. Please note that students who have an approved plan need to release that plan prior to requesting approved accommodations from their faculty. Accommodations are not retroactive.

Once the 504 Plan has been sent to the faculty or university staff, students are responsible for following up with each faculty member to confirm that they received and read the 504 Plan; to inform the faculty about which accommodation(s) in the plan they want to utilize, and to set up a process for implementing them. The Coordinators are available to provide support to the student and faculty in developing the implementation plan.

Please note that the 504 Plan is a living document and can be revised. Decisions about approving specific accommodations or revisions to the 504 Plan can be made only by the Coordinator in consultation with the student. Further diagnostic information may be required. The Coordinator will then revise the list of approved accommodations included in the student’s current 504 plan and the revised plan can be released as described above.

 

Student's Rights and Responsibilities

Rights

  • Equitable access to courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities available through the college or university

  • Reasonable and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids determined by the institution on a case-by-case and/or course-by-course basis.

  • Ability to request course substitutions. Degree requirements will not be waived for students with disabilities, but course substitutions may be petitioned for in extreme circumstances where accommodations alone have been demonstrated as insufficient to serve the needs of an otherwise qualified student with a disability. Course substitutions are not appropriate for courses considered an essential element of a program or degree.

  • Appropriate confidentiality of all information pertaining to the disability with the right to control to whom such information will be released, except as required by law or when permission is granted by the student.

  • Ability to appeal eligibility determination decisions or approved accommodations as described below in the “Appeal” section of this policy.

Responsibilities

  • Identify themselves to the appropriate Coordinator to request accommodations and initiate the processes described above.

  • Setting up an appointment with the respective Coordinator to discuss the impact of their disability, its functional limitations, and the reasonable accommodations they want to request.

  • Submitting appropriate documentation if required.

  • Completing the 504 Plan release process with the appropriate Coordinator and listing which faculty members or Norwich staff members they want to be informed of their accommodations.

  • Communicating with faculty after the release of the 504 Plan to establish a course-specific plan to implement approved accommodations. Please note that some approved accommodations may not be appropriate in a specific course if they would constitute a fundamental alteration of an essential course element. The student’s Coordinator can work with them and their faculty to address any such situation.

 Appeal

A student dissatisfied with an eligibility determination, or the accommodations approved in the 504 plan will have the right to appeal. The appeal process will be as follows:

  1. A written statement will be sent by the student to the University's ADA/504 Coordinator: This statement should include all relevant information and should request clear remedial action.

  2. Based on this statement, the ADA/504 Coordinator will either:

    1. Reactivate the individual planning process and work with the student and their respective Coordinator to remediate the situation, or

    2. Reject the appeal and determine that the plan as developed is appropriate.

  3. If the student’s appeal is rejected by the ADA/504 Coordinator, the student can appeal this decision to the Committee on Academic Standing and Degrees (CASD). The CASD will review the 504 Plan and the student’s appeal on the issue, and either change the individual plan or sustain the original decision of the ADA/504 Coordinator.

  4. If the CASD sustains the original decision, the student can appeal to the University Provost or a designee. This is the final level of appeal, and this decision will be final.

  5. Please note, however, that students also have the right to submit a claim of discrimination based on disability to the United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights.

Resources

Office of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, and Support (IDEAS), Wise Campus Center, 2nd Floor, Room 222, extension 2066, (802) 485-2066, diversity@norwich.edu.

Center for Academic Success and Achievement, Kreitzberg Library, 4th Floor, extension 2130, (802) 485-2130, or casa@norwich.edu.

CGCS ADA Coordinator, (802) 485-3306 .

Title IX Office, Wise Campus Center, 2nd Floor, Room 217, extension 2144, (802) 485-2144.

Office of Human Resources, Jackman Hall, 3rd Floor, extension 2075, (802) 485-2075, or nuhr@norwich.edu.

Facilities Operations, (802) 485-2148 or facops@norwich.edu.