Disability Services Policies and Procedures

George Fox University is committed to providing equality of opportunity and meaningful access for qualified students with physical, psychological, attentional or learning-based disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A qualified student with a disability at George Fox University is someone who, with reasonable or no academic adjustments or modification, is capable of meeting George Fox's academic standards. The following legal terms, included in the ADA, have relevance in the educational setting:

Disability: Someone who has a physical or psychological condition which substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded by the covered entity as having an impairment.

Major life activity: Includes the functions of caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

Substantially limits: Unable to perform a major life activity or significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration under which a major life activity can be performed when compared with the average person.

Confidentiality
All documentation is treated in a confidential manner and no part of it should be released by Disability Services without the student's informed and written consent. Because the university generally does not forward the documentation to a third party, such as another institution or health care provider - even with the student's written permission - it is suggested that a personal copy of the submitted report be retained if appropriate.

Documentation Of A Disability
Generally, students seeking support services under the ADA must have adequate documentation on file in Disability Services in a timely manner before adjustments or modifications can begin, preferably as soon after admission as possible. Students should not assume that this disability information is known to Disability Services merely because the student's application indicated the presence of a disability, or another office such as Residence Life or Health and Counseling Services was notified. Although documentation can be from a variety of sources, it must be from a competent credentialed authority who can address the functional limitations due to the disability and its impact in an academic setting. Note: the law stipulates that in the postsecondary setting a student does not qualify for services until they have registered with the disability office and been certified for eligibility. Retroactive accommodations are not made.

Recency Of Documentation
The provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon a case-by-case assessment of the impact of the student's disabilities on his or her academic performance and/or university participation at a given time in the student's life. Therefore, it is in the student's best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation [link to Documentation Guidelines]; generally documentation should not be more than three years old. Students with temporary disabling conditions may be provided services on a case by case basis, taking into consideration both the duration of the expected condition and the extent to which it actually limits academic performance and/or university participation. Such students may need to re-document their condition periodically (e.g., each semester) before services can continue.

Based on the type of disability, some documentation may be outdated or inadequate in scope or content; it may not address the student's current level of functioning or need for accommodations because changes may have occurred since the previous evaluation was conducted. In such cases, the university may request an updated report. Since the purpose of the update is to determine the student's current need for accommodations, the update, conducted by a qualified professional, should include a request and rationale for ongoing services and academic adjustments or modifications.

For students with learning-based disabilities or ADD/ADHD, a school plan such as an individualized education program (IEP) or a 504 plan generally is insufficient documentation, but can be included as part of a more comprehensive assessment battery. A comprehensive assessment battery and the resulting diagnostic report should include a diagnostic interview, assessment of aptitude, academic achievement, information processing and a diagnosis.

Costs For Diagnosis/Testing
Costs associated with diagnosis, evaluation, and testing or retesting generally are the responsibility of the student. For students currently enrolled at George Fox, information and referral to the student Health and Counseling Center and/or other professionals in the community may be appropriate.

Recommendations For Academic Adjustments Or Modifications Academic adjustments or modifications are alterations or services that attempt to allow students to compete on an equal basis with peers in class. It is important to recognize that accommodation needs can change over time and are not always identified through the initial diagnostic process. Conversely, a prior history of accommodation does not, in and of itself, warrant the provision of a similar accommodation.

The diagnostic report should include specific recommendations for adjustments or modifications as well as an explanation as to why each accommodation is recommended. The evaluator should describe the impact the diagnosed disability has on a specific major life activity of the individual. The evaluator should support recommendations with specific test results or clinical observations. If adjustments or modifications are not clearly recommended in a diagnostic report, clarification may be requested.

Decisions regarding the nature of the accommodations are made using the documentation provided in consultation with the student and the diagnosing professional, taking into account the substantial effect on some major life activity; the ability to access information, services, and classrooms; and the ability to produce work in a classroom environment or participate in university activities. Although faculty generally are not contacted without a student's written consent, input from faculty can be an important part in accommodating students. The final determination for providing appropriate and reasonable academic adjustments or modifications rests with the university.

Personal Attendants
Section 104.44[2](d) states specifically, "Recipients need not provide attendants, individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study, or other devices or services of a personal nature." Thus, personal needs that necessitate an attendant are the responsibility of the student.

Arranging For Reasonable Accommodations
George Fox University has identified Disability Services as the primary resource for students needing academic adjustments or modifications and for faculty needing information. This office initially meets individually with each student seeking services to discuss disability support services, appropriate documentation on file, etc. Students are strongly encouraged to make adjustment requests as early as possible to allow the opportunity for Disability Services approval, planning, faculty notification, modifications, etc.

Accommodations requested in a timely manner that are determined and approved by the university as reasonable may include but are not limited to: course load modifications, requirement waivers and substitutions, adjustments in test taking, note takers, readers, interpreters, taped textbooks, auxiliary aids, and extended time to complete longer assignments. Accommodations are to be reasonable, not impose an undue hardship on the operation of the program, not fundamentally alter the nature of the academic standards and be justified by the documentation.

At the beginning of each semester, the student is to come to Disability Services to obtain the letter of adjustment and modification for their professors. Students will be advised to make an appointment to meet with the professor to discuss the accommodations. Students are not required to disclose the specific disability but are encouraged to discuss ways in which professors can help them. Students are also encouraged to meet with their adviser to discuss pertinent aspects of their academic program and study needs.

A student who believes that he or she has not been given appropriate accommodations by a faculty member - whether in an academic course or at the departmental level - should, if comfortable, discuss the issue with the faculty member in question and try to reach a resolution. Students should not, however, independently solicit accommodations from faculty but should begin that process in Disability Services.

Although uncommon, any continuing concern by a student of faculty or staff's compliance with an approved accommodation generally should be handled by Rick Muthiah, Dean of Learning Support Services, who should work out arrangements that best address the needs of the instructor, the student, and the university. If a resolution cannot be reached, Mr. Muthiah should bring the matter to the appropriate academic dean and/or the Vice-President for Student Life.

Housing Requests
Any student who requests housing adjustments due to a disability should be approved through Disability Services. The Office of Residence Life consults with Disability Services about how specific concerns can best be met.

Study Abroad/Off Campus Studies/Internships
George Fox offers a wide range of opportunities for study abroad. We currently have exchange programs available for our students to study in several foreign countries, as well as exchanges with sister schools around the United States. Additionally, our students who have been at George Fox for three or more years have the opportunity to travel abroad for nearly a month through our Juniors Abroad program. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to plan early for these opportunities since host sites are not always necessarily experienced in providing accommodations. In the event students are interested in receiving accommodations while participating in one of these educational programs, the request for accommodation must be made to and approved by Disability Services. It is recommended that students contact Disability Services prior to applying for one of these programs so the program's primary activities and living conditions can be reviewed to determine compatibility with needs.
If you have questions about services for students with disabilities at George Fox University, please contact:

Rick Muthiah
Associate Director of Learning Support Services
George Fox University
414 N. Meridian #6197
Newberg, OR 97132

Call 503-554-2314 or email rmuthiah@georgefox.edu if you have any questions.

Learn more about us through the George Fox University Vimeo channel.