Policies for Students with Disabilities and Temporary Impairments

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Statement of Intent

Fairfield University is committed to providing students with disabilities an equal opportunity to access the benefits, rights and privileges of its services, programs and activities in an accessible setting. In compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Office of Accessibility works closely with students, administrators, and faculty to develop and implement individualized accommodations tailored to students' needs to reduce the impact of their disabilities on academic functioning or upon other major life activities.

The Office of Accessibility is responsible for evaluating whether a student with a disability is eligible for a reasonable accommodation to Fairfield University’s rules, policies, practices, services or programs when such accommodation may be necessary to afford such student with an equal opportunity to access such services, programs or activities. Requests for accommodations or modifications to any policy are reviewed on an individualized, case-by-case basis by the Office of Accessibility.

In keeping with our Jesuit mission, Fairfield University also recognizes the need for accommodations when a student is suffering from a temporary impairment and such impairment is impeding academics or access to campus life. The Office of Accessibility will work with the student with a temporary impairment to provide accommodations should the student’s temporary impairment impact academics or other major life activities.

Students with disabilities or temporary impairments requesting academic, housing or other campus life accommodations or modifications to University policies on the basis of a disability must complete the interactive accommodation request process with the Office of Accessibility.

In order to request accommodation through the Office of Accessibility, a student must first create an accessibility profile and upload supporting documentation through the Accessibility & Accommodations task portal on my.fairfield. Such documentation should follow the Office of Accessibility’s Documentation Guidelines posted on the Office of Accessibility’s website. Should a student need assistance with creating their online Accessibility profile and uploading their documentation, please contact the Office of Accessibility at ooa@fairfield.edu or call ext 2615.

The accommodation request process is an interactive process between the student and the Office of Accessibility. Once the student has initiated the online process, the student will meet with an Office of Accessibility staff person complete the intake process and discuss what accommodations the student is eligible for at Fairfield University. Students with a disability approved for academic accommodations will be able to access their faculty notification letter of their accommodations through their Accessibility portal on my.fairfield. Once approved for accommodation, each semester, students will send their professors their accommodation letter for their courses through their Accessibility task portal. Students with temporary impairments approved for academic accommodations will also provide their faculty notification letter of accommodations through their Accessibility portal.

Students with disabilities or temporary impairments requesting exceptions to the housing and/or other campus policies or requesting housing or other campus accommodations due to their disabilities must register with the Office of Accessibility and complete the interactive intake process. In addition to registering with the Office of Accessibility, students with disabilities or temporary impairments requesting housing accommodations on the basis of their disability or temporary impairment in order to achieve equal access to campus living must also complete the Housing Policy Exception Form located online on Residence life’s website. Any student with disabilities or temporary impairment who needs help completing this form can contact the Office of Accessibility for assistance at ooa@fairfield.edu or ext. 2615. Please note that any housing or campus life accommodations or exceptions to University policies is limited to the time period necessary to address the immediate need of the student and does not exceed a single school year. Students with disabilities or temporary impairments need to fill out the Housing Exception Form every school year that they are requesting a housing accommodation or exception. In addition, students with disabilities or temporary impairments requesting campus life accommodations also need to request such accommodations or exceptions each school year.

In determining whether a student with a disability or temporary impairment is eligible for a housing or other campus life accommodation or is eligible for an exception to housing or other campus policy on the basis of their disability or temporary impairment, the Office of Accessibility will meet with the student to discuss the student’s request and documentation. The Office of Accessibility may also consult, as necessary, with other campus partners, including but not limited to, Residence Life, the Student Health Center, Counseling & Psychological Services, Public Safety and Dining Services to help determine whether an accommodation or exception to a housing or other University policy is reasonable or whether other reasonable accommodations are available and can be made.

Any student with a disability who is denied an academic, housing, and/or other campus life accommodation that they have requested on the basis of their disability, may appeal the decision through the grievance procedure discussed below. In addition, any student with a disability who feels they have been discriminated against on the basis of their disability should contact in writing the Office of Accessibility immediately at ooa@fairfield.edu and follow the grievance procedure below.

  1. Policy Statement:

    Fairfield University is committed to ensuring that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in University programs or activities due to his or her disability. The University is fully committed to complying with all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and to providing equal opportunities to otherwise qualified students with disabilities

  2. Scope and Application of Grievance Procedure:

    Any University student who believes that they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability or has been denied access or accommodations required by law shall have the right to invoke this Grievance Procedure. This Grievance Procedure is designed to address the following types of concerns: (1) Disagreements or denials regarding requested services, accommodations or modifications to University practices or requirements; (2) Alleged inaccessibility of a University program or activity; (3) Alleged harassment or discrimination on the basis of a disability; and (4) Any other alleged violations of the ADA and/or Section 504.

  3. Procedures

    Grievances must be filed within 30 days of the event or action giving rise to the student’s complaint(s).
     
    1. Informal Grievance Procedure:

      A University student shall first attempt to resolve their complaint informally by meeting with the Director of Accessibility. To set up a meeting with the Director of Accessibility, the student should contact the office in writing at ooa@fairfield.edu regarding their concerns and request a meeting with the Director of Accessibility. If the grievance is not resolved informally, the student can file a formal grievance with the University’s ADA/Section 504 Coordinator by following the procedure outlined below.

    2. Formal Grievance Procedure
      1. An otherwise qualified student with a disability, as defined by the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, shall have the right to request that the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator to review the denial of any requested accommodation or service by fully complying with the procedures detailed below. This provision shall also apply to a student requesting an accommodation who believes they have been wrongly denied certification of a disability by the University or any student who feels that they have been discriminated against on the basis of their disability.

      2. The Student shall fully complete an Accommodation/Service Review Request Form (“Review Request form”) and submit it to the University’s ADA/Section 504 Coordinator within 30 days following the date of the denial of the requested accommodation or service or after the incident in which the student felt discriminated against on the basis of their disability. A student may obtain a copy from the Office of Accessibility located in the Academic Commons of the DiMenna–Nyselius Library or email ooa@fairfield.edu for a copy of the form. The student’s completed Review Request form must clearly state: (a) The basis and rationale for the review; (b) The specific facts and/or policies supporting the student’s position; (c) The remedy and resolution desired by the student; and (d) All other information required on the form. The Office of Accessibility is available to help any student who may need assistance with completing the Review Request form. If assistance is needed for completing the form, please contact ooa@fairfield.edu or call ext 2615.

      3. The ADA/Section 504 Coordinator shall assess the Review Request form and review all information necessary to render a written determination. If requested, the student shall supply any additional information and/or documents as requested by the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator. After a thorough investigation, the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator will issue a written Letter of Determination on the student’s Review Request within 30 days after receiving the student’s completed Review Request form or will provide the student with notice as to any need for additional time to complete the Letter, which shall not be unduly delayed. Further, the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator shall provide the student with a copy of the Letter of Determination and take any steps necessary to implement their decision, including, but not limited to, providing a copy of the Letter of Determination to appropriate University officials. The ADA/Section 504 Coordinator’s Letter of Determination shall constitute the final decision in response to the student’s grievance. All files relating to grievances will be kept for seven years.

  4. Time Periods

    For purposes of calculating all time periods set forth in this Grievance Procedure, official University holidays and breaks set forth in the University’s academic calendar (such as Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, and spring break) or dates the University officially closes (such as for inclement weather) shall be excluded in determining the time period for taking any required action. Moreover, the day of the act or event from which the designated period of time begins to run shall not be included. The last day of any time period provided in the Grievance Procedure shall be included, unless it is a Saturday or Sunday, and in such an event, the next business day shall be counted in the time period.

  5. Right to Review Records 

    A student filing a grievance shall have the right to review all records maintained in the grievance file, or relied upon by any decision-maker, unless any such review is prohibited by federal or state law. Upon a student’s request, the University shall establish a mutually acceptable time and location for the student to review the requested records.

  6. No Retaliation

    Retaliation against any person who files a bona fide complaint of discrimination, participates in an investigation, or opposes a discriminatory employment or education practice or policy is prohibited by University policy and federal and state law.

  7. Self-Representation

    A student exercising their right to invoke this Grievance Procedure is free to consult with others but is expected to represent themself directly in the grievance process.

  8. OCR Complaint

    Although students are encouraged to attempt to resolve complaints pertaining to disabilities by utilizing this Grievance Procedure, they have the right to file a complaint directly with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR).  Information regarding applicable timelines and procedures is available from OCR at the following link: OCR's Official Website.

  9. University Designee

    Fairfield University has designated Megan Monahan as ADA/Section 504 Coordinator. Contact Information: Megan Monahan, mmonahan@fairfield.edu, 203-254-4357.

Fairfield University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations when such accommodations may be necessary to afford people with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy University housing.  A reasonable accommodation request may include a change or exception to a rule or policy, or it may be a physical change to a unit or common area that is needed because of a disability.  Such requests for accommodations are reviewed on an individualized and case-by-case basis. 

The Office of Accessibility (“Accessibility”) is responsible for evaluating whether a student with a disability is eligible for a reasonable accommodation in University housing.  In reviewing a student’s specific request, Accessibility will consult with the Office of Residence Life, the Health Center, and Counseling and Psychological Services as necessary to determine whether the requested accommodation is necessary and reasonable.  Students who reside or intend to reside in University housing and who believe they need a reasonable accommodation must contact Accessibility.  

Employees who reside on campus and who are requesting reasonable accommodations related to University housing must contact Human Resources. 

For housing-related reasonable accommodation requests involving Assistance Animals (including emotional support animals), please refer to the Procedures for Requesting Assistance Animals in University Housing contained in the University’s Animals on Campus Policy for additional information. 

Student requests for reasonable accommodation related to the University’s housing policies and practices, including requests involving Service and Assistance Animals, are governed by the following procedures:

  1. Prior to requesting a housing accommodation, students must be eligible for on-campus housing by completing any applications required by Residence Life (e.g., Online Housing Application) as well as complying with all Residence Life deadlines (e.g., housing application deadline, room reservation fee deadline, etc.). Students are advised to visit the Residence Life website for specific information regarding eligibility and deadlines for housing.
  2. Students requesting a housing accommodation on the basis of a disability must register with Accessibility. In order to request an accommodation through Accessibility, a student must first create an accessibility profile and upload supporting documentation through the Accessibility & Accommodations task portal on my.fairfield. Such documentation should follow Accessibility’s Documentation Guidelines posted on Accessibility’s website and should establish the need for an accommodation or an exception to a housing policy. Should a student need assistance with creating their online Accessibility profile and uploading their documentation, please contact Accessibility at ooa@fairfield.edu. Please note that documentation solely from a paid “Emotional Support Animal” verification service will be insufficient. In addition to registering with Accessibility, the student must complete the Housing Policy Exception Request form located on the Residence Life website.

  3. Any student making a request for a housing accommodation should complete the intake process with Accessibility and complete the Housing Policy Exception Request form as soon as practicably possible before moving into the University Housing. If the request for an accommodation is made fewer than 60 days before the individual intends to move into University housing, the University cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the individual’s accommodation needs during the first semester or term of occupancy, but will work with the student to discuss alternative options.

  4. If the need for housing accommodations arises when an individual already resides in University housing, the student should contact Accessibility and complete the intake process if the student is not already registered with the office, then complete the Housing Policy Exception Request form as soon as practicably possible. The University cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the individual’s accommodation needs during the semester or term in which the request is received, but will work with the student to discuss alternative options.

  5. After the student has initiated the online process for requesting the housing accommodation with Accessibility and completed the Housing Policy Exception Form, the student will meet with an Accessibility staff person to discuss the student’s request for accommodations. Accessibility will also consult with the Office of Residence Life (“Residence Life”) to discuss the student’s request.

  6. Accessibility will notify Residence Life regarding students who are approved for accommodations. Assignments and arrangements for accommodations will be made directly by Residence Life based on the approved accommodations. While consideration will be given to area preference, assignments will be based on the approved accommodation(s) and availability.

  7. Students who are denied a requested housing accommodation under this policy may appeal the decision by contacting Megan Monahan, ADA/Section 504 Coordinator, in writing and by following Fairfield’s ADA grievance policy. Students can contact Accessibility at ooa@fairfield.edu for more information regarding the grievance procedure.

Fairfield University will not retaliate against any person because that individual has requested or received a reasonable accommodation in University housing, including a request for a Service or Assistance Animal. Reports of retaliation may be made to the ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer.

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