As a recipient of federal funds, Boise State University has a legal obligation to provide reasonable and appropriate access to all educational and co-curricular programs, services, activities, and facilities. Legality aside, Boise State is committed to doing all that it can to provide this reasonable and appropriate access while striving to create a learning environment free from unlawful discrimination.
Boise State Policy 1060 stipulates that the university “is committed to maintaining a working and learning environment that is free of unlawful discrimination and harassment and in which every employee, student, contractor, vendor, customer, and visitor is treated with dignity and respect. The University strives to create an environment that supports, encourages and rewards career and educational advancement on the basis of ability and performance. Accordingly, the University prohibits to the extent permitted by applicable law, discrimination and harassment against an individual on the basis of that person’s race, color, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, national origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, genetic information, or any other status protected under applicable federal, state, or local law.”
What does that mean for you, a student with a disability? Among other things, it means the following:
- You have the right and the responsibility to meet University academic, technical, and institutional standards.
- You have a right to equal access to educational and co-curricular programs, services, activities, and facilities.
- You have the right and the responsibility to inform the Educational Access Center in a timely manner that you are an individual with a disability and that you are requesting accommodations.
- You have the right and the responsibility to follow specific procedures for obtaining reasonable and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments, or auxiliary aids.
- You have a right to file a complaint by following the steps outlined in the Grievance Procedure if you feel that you have been treated unfairly.
In the most basic sense, the university’s commitment to equal access means that you are entitled to reasonable and appropriate accommodations to reduce or eliminate the effect of a disability on your ability to succeed.
What Are Reasonable and Appropriate Accommodations?
In general terms, accommodations for students with disabilities are agreements between you and the university, specifying what steps will be taken to ensure that you have equal access to education. Reasonable accommodations are modifications or adjustments to the tasks, environment or to the way things are usually done that enable individuals with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to achieve academic success (U.S. Department of Education, 2007). More specifically, reasonable and appropriate accommodations include the following:
- Consulting with students with impaired vision about using text-to-speech software, text-magnification software, or screen-reader software to access and use web-based print materials.
- Providing students with course materials in alternative formats (for instance, converting text to speech and providing it as an MP3 sound file or providing digital text in a larger, easy-to-see font).
- Enabling students to take tests and quizzes in an alternative manner (for example, in a different location or under circumstances different from the standard test or quiz).
- Providing interpreters and captioned video for deaf or hard-of-hearing students.
- Providing a peer note-taker or note-taking technology to students whose disability interferes with their ability to take notes in class.
How Do I Request Reasonable and Appropriate Accommodations?
Obtaining accommodations for your disability begins with the Educational Access Center. Staff there will discuss with you your disability, obtain necessary documentation of your disability, and review your request. If your request is approved, the Center’s staff will work out an agreement between you, your instructor, and the university that defines what reasonable and appropriate accommodations will be provided.
For more information about requesting accommodation, please see our Quick-Start Guide to Requesting Accommodation.