I. Policy Statement
The purpose of this Accommodation Request Policy (“Policy”) is to address requests for reasonable accommodations for student and employee Applicants with disabilities as provided under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The University of Tulsa is committed to providing students and employees equal access to its facilities, programs, and services.
Effective and efficient implementation of this commitment requires the cooperation of all of the University’s offices, departments, and personnel as well as appropriate utilization by students of the University’s services, depending on their particular situations and needs.
This Policy applies to students, faculty, and staff members of the University community.
Applicant refers to, when not specified otherwise, the student or employee making the Accommodation Request.
Application means the Accommodation Request Form.
Disability means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
Employee means every full- or part-time employee, including student employees.
IV. Policy and Procedures
A. Requesting Accommodations
Individuals with disabilities are guaranteed certain protections and the right to accommodation, but the University of Tulsa is under no obligation to provide any accommodations unless an individual properly identifies as a person with a disability and supplies the necessary documentation. An individual with a disability is a person who has:
- a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
- a record of such impairment; or
- is regarded as having such an impairment.
Individuals who meet the first definition of a disability (a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities) may be entitled to accommodations. Determination of eligibility, what constitutes a reasonable accommodation, and approval or change of accommodations will be made by the ADA/504 Coordinator or designee. No other office or university personnel has authority to approve an accommodation for Applicants.
The University may provide alternative reasonable accommodations rather than the specific accommodation requested by the Applicant, and not all requested accommodations will necessarily be approved. However, the University will evaluate any request in light of all information available in making a determination of what is a reasonable accommodation.
Temporary arrangements may be available while the University engages in an interactive process to determine whether ongoing accommodation is appropriate and, if so, which reasonable accommodations are needed; any temporary arrangements do not reflect a determination that ongoing accommodation will be granted and/or which reasonable accommodations are appropriate, and do not create an obligation on the part of the University to continue accommodation. Applicants who are approved for temporary arrangements for temporary health conditions are only allowed to use those arrangements for a limited time.
Applicants who request an accommodation and who believe that accommodations should not have been denied, or that approved accommodations are not being implemented, should bring this matter to the ADA/504 Coordinator. If the ADA/504 Coordinator or designee is unable to resolve the matter informally or if the Applicant is not satisfied with the resolution, the Applicant should refer to the ADA/504 Grievance and Appeal Policy which is available on the University website or from relevant offices.
C. Student Applicants
Students who wish to request accommodations must contact Student Access to initiate the request process. The ADA/504 Coordinator will make determinations about approved accommodations through an interactive process with student Applicants. This process begins with a student Applicant contacting Student Access and completing a request form and providing supporting documentation. The documentation must indicate that the impairment substantially limits a major life activity and must address the academic impact. Documentation must be appropriate and justify a need for the requested accommodation by addressing the functional limitations created by the disability and must be applicable to the request for accommodation. Requests for curricular changes (e.g., course substitutions) may require more extensive justification for academic adjustments. It is the responsibility of the Applicant who requests accommodations to provide the following, as applicable. Note: Requests from Applicants and supporting documentation are evaluated on a case by case basis. The sufficiency of documentation and requests for additional documentation will depend on the specifics of each application.
- Documentation prepared by appropriately certified personnel qualified to diagnose disabilities; including, but not limited to those certified or licensed as physician, educational diagnostician, learning disability specialist, or psychologist.
- Documentation of the testing procedures followed, the instruments used to assess the disability, the test results, and the interpretation of the results. Diagnosis of some disorders must meet specific criteria, for example, the diagnosis of Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder or similar conditions. Contact Student Access or the ADA/504 Coordinator for more information.
- Documentation specifying recommended accommodations, which will be taken into consideration when identifying reasonable academic and non- academic adjustments.
- Documentation reflecting the individual’s present achievement level. This must be as comprehensive as possible, and to be in the student’s best interests, must usually be dated no more than three years prior to the student’s request for services.
- Documentation supporting certain academic adjustments may include test results for the following characteristics: intelligence, vocabulary, reading rate, reading comprehension, spelling, mathematical comprehension, memory, and processing skills, which are required for most disabilities involving intellectual functioning.
- Additional testing results or additional appropriate documentation of the disability as determined by the ADA/504 Coordinator.
Documentation should be sent directly from the service provider to Student Access. A more thorough explanation of the requirements for documentation is available on the University of Tulsa website or from Student Access.
Written permission must be granted for review of the documentation directly with the responsible professional and/or other appropriate University officials in order to clarify or better understand how to best accommodate the specific disability without compromising academic performance standards or graduation requirements. All information submitted concerning the disability is considered confidential and will be released to instructors or others only with written consent from the student or in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
3. Authority to Provide Accommodations
Faculty and other personnel are to provide accommodations only according to the official written accommodation statement, which is provided to instructors by e-mail. This section will not cover accommodations for a student as an employee; accommodations in the workplace must be separately requested through the ADA/504 Coordinator.
4. Admissions and Enrollment
Admission requirements for students with disabilities are the same as for all other students. Reasonable accommodations will be made upon proof both of disability, need for the accommodation and reasonableness. However, Applicants attending the University of Tulsa must be otherwise qualified to attend and participate in its academic programs. Accommodations for Applicants are not intended to and do not guarantee success or level of academic achievement. Therefore, in addition to the specific accommodations provided, the University encourages utilization of auxiliary services available to all Applicants to maximize opportunities for success.
The University does not seek information about disabilities during the admissions process and students are not required to provide such information.
Applicants with documented disabilities will be allowed to enroll prior to the regular enrollment date.
5. Adjustments of Course Load
Applicants with documented disabilities that the University believes warrant the adjustment of carrying less than a full-time course load can be determined eligible for full-time student status. In such cases, the Applicant must provide documentation of need for a reduced course load, which will be submitted to the ADA/504 Coordinator or designee for consideration. Accommodations for a reduced course load must be reconsidered each semester and may require additional documentation. Applicants should check as needed with appropriate departments regarding eligibility requirements such as Financial Aid, Athletics, internship placements, etc.
6. Prior Accommodations
Some accommodations provided at the secondary school level are not appropriate at the collegiate level, and Applicants must prepare accordingly. Applicants may wish to provide information about past accommodations to assist in the accommodation request process, and documents such as IEPs and 504 plans may be appropriate documentation in some circumstances. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act, including its amendments, focuses on providing access, not guaranteeing success. The University of Tulsa and the ADA/504 Coordinator are committed to working with students to identify accommodations to support students’ full access to educational programs and opportunities. The institution is not required to provide accommodations that would fundamentally alter its programs or create an undue burden on the University.
7. Off-Campus Accommodations
Accommodations for off-campus placement, such as internships, study abroad or other experiential programs may be subject to limitations beyond the control of the university. Students seeking accommodations for such off-campus programs should do so as far in advance as possible, so that Student Access can attempt to work with the off-campus site in the best interest of the student’s educational opportunity.
8. Modification of Accommodations
Appropriate modifications of accommodations will be determined on a case-by-case basis and will not necessarily incorporate all requested changes. Requests must be submitted in writing utilizing the Request for Change in Accommodations form.
9. Use of Student Access
Students believing they need auxiliary services, such as readers, interpreters, or note takers, etc. should discuss these needs with Student Access. In addition to discussing appropriate education modification, Student Access will serve as liaisons with university faculty and administration on behalf of students with disabilities.
10. Services not Provided
The University of Tulsa does not offer students with disabilities the following:
- Special classes
- Special Tutorial Program
- A reduced standard for academic performance
- Exemption to graduation requirements
- Credit for effort in place of demonstrated competence in course or subject content
- A substantial change or alternation in the course of study
Additionally, students with disabilities are encouraged to take advantage of the following related services available to all students at the university through the Student Success Center:
- Free tutoring
- Individual, confidential conferences about individual concerns
- General study skills, time management, and goal setting assistance
- Referral to qualified resources for diagnostic evaluation of learning and other disabilities at the student’s expense
- Success coaching and individualized assistance for improve study strategies
- Psychological support through referrals to the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services
Students’ responsibilities are further delineated in the Rights and Responsibilities of Students Using Accommodations Policy, which is available online and through Student Access.
D. Employee Applicants
The Office of Human Resources in conjunction with the ADA/504 Coordinator will be responsible for the management, implementation and coordination of The University of Tulsa Accommodation Requests Policy. Supervisors must contact the Office of Human Resources before transferring, demoting or terminating the employment of an employee, modifying a position or relieving an employee of job responsibilities because of a disability.
The Applicant’s documentation must indicate that the impairment substantially limits a major life activity and must address the workplace impact. Documentation must be appropriate and justify a need for the requested accommodation by addressing the functional limitations created by the disability and must be applicable to the request for accommodation. Documentation must be prepared or completed by appropriately certified personnel qualified to diagnose disabilities, and should specify relevant diagnoses, functional limitations, and recommended accommodations. The University reserves the right to request additional medical examinations, evaluations or other appropriate information at the University’s expense.
Medical information or medical examinations may be required when an employee wishes to return to work after an injury or illness, if it is job-related and consistent with business necessity:
- to determine if the individual meets the ADA definition of “individual with a disability,” if an accommodation has been requested;
- to determine if the person can perform essential functions of the job currently held with or without reasonable accommodation;
- to identify an effective, reasonable accommodation that would enable the person to perform essential job functions in the current (previous) job, or in a vacant job for which the person is qualified.
Written permission must be granted for review of the documentation directly with the responsible professional and/or other appropriate University officials in order to clarify or better understand how to best accommodate the specific disability without compromising work performance standards or requirements.
The University of Tulsa will attempt to reasonably accommodate all Applicants with disabilities, where to do so does not impose an undue burden on the institution. However, what constitutes either a reasonable accommodation or an undue hardship is contingent upon a number of variables. A reasonable accommodation may include the purchase of special equipment, changing the physical layout of the workplace, restructuring specific job responsibilities and duties, modifying the work schedule, leave, etc.
All information relating to an accommodation request is considered private and is maintained separately from the employee’s personnel file. These records may only be shared with select administrators and others with a “need to know” as determined by the University in compliance with relevant policies and laws (e.g., Human Resources, employee’s supervisor).
The University of Tulsa promotes inclusion in all activities and programs and will attempt to assist all individuals to enable participation. This includes people attending or accessing TU programs/services/facilities, such as prospective students, parents/families, alumni, job applicants, patrons, and invited guests.
Visitors should contact the campus program or sponsoring group to request help with personal needs and accessibility by calling 918-631-2000 or visiting the Events Calendar for contact information. Visitors may contact the Lorton Performing Arts Center and the Student Union for events in those locations. For athletic events, contact the Ticketing Office or view Seating Charts in those facilities. For parking, contact Parking Services. Additionally, visitors may view the accessibility features of TU facilities on the ADA Accessibility Campus Map. For assistance regarding accommodations for disabilities, please contact the ADA/504 Coordinator, Dr. Tawny Rigsby (918-631-2334).
F. Procedure for Accommodations
Students with disabilities who seek accommodations are not required to notify the ADA/504 Coordinator and should proceed to Step 2.
Employees with disabilities who seek accommodations must notify either the ADA/504 Coordinator or the appropriate supervisor of their disability. Supervisors will direct employees to the ADA/504 Coordinator for requesting accommodations.
2. Request for Accommodations
Student Applicants with disabilities who seek accommodations must complete an “Student Accommodation Request Form.” Applicants are encouraged to submit this Application before the academic term for which the accommodation is requested. Accommodations may be made during the term upon late submission of the form, but will not serve to alter prior grading or academic status. To avoid delay due to multiple requests made at the beginning of each term, students requesting accommodations (including any changes) are encouraged to submit all documentation no later than one month prior to the beginning of the term for which the accommodations are requested.
For employee Applicants, the ADA/504 Coordinator or representative will provide the employee with the Employee Accommodation Request Form and the Employee Accommodation Verification Form to be completed in order to evaluate an expressed disability.
3. University Review
To determine accommodations in accordance with the University’s obligation under federal law, the completed Application will be reviewed by the ADA/504 Coordinator in consultation with any relevant others (e.g., Professors, Supervisors).
To determine whether the accommodation is reasonable for student Applicants, the ADA/504 Coordinator may analyze the particular disability, functional limitations, and whether the requested accommodation: (1) fundamentally alters the nature of the activity or program; (2) alters or removes essential requirements; (3) lowers academic standards; and (4) presents an undue burden on the University; as well as whether the student poses a direct threat to the safety of themselves or others or the public.
For employee Applicants, the ADA/504 Coordinator considers that employee’s essential job functions and any functional limitations, in addition to: (1) the Applicant’s particular disability: (2) the employment position; (3) whether the accommodation places an undue burden on the University; and (4) whether the employee poses a direct threat to themselves or others.
Both Student and Employee Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
It is the goal of the University to issue a written response within twenty (20) working days of receiving the Applicant’s written request and all pertinent documents, based on the university work calendar.
When the student applicant is found eligible for services, the applicant must meet with a Student Access staff member for discussion about accommodations and to review rights and responsibilities.
For employees, a decision letter will be sent to the applicant to be signed and returned to the Office of Human Resources for file. Human Resources will manage the implementation of any approved accommodations, in coordination with the appropriate supervisor as needed.