Policy Statement: People with Disabilities
The University of Connecticut is committed to achieving equal educational opportunity and full participation for persons with disabilities. It is the policy that no qualified person be excluded from participating in any University program or activity, be denied the benefits of any University program or activity, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination with regard to any University program or activity. This policy derives from the commitment to non-discrimination for all persons in employment, access to facilities, student programs, activities, and services.
A person with a disability must be ensured the same access to programs, opportunities, and activities at the University as all others. Existing barriers, whether physical, programmatic or attitudinal must be removed. There must be ongoing vigilance to ensure that new barriers are not erected.
The efforts to accommodate people with disabilities must be measured against the goal of full participation and integration. Services and programs to promote these benefits for people with disabilities shall complement and support, but not duplicate, the regular services and programs.
Achieving full participation and integration of people with disabilities requires the cooperative efforts of all of the departments, offices, and personnel. To this end, the University will continue to strive to achieve excellence in its services and to assure that its services are delivered equitably and efficiently to all of its members.
Adopted June, 1989
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Assurance of equal educational opportunity rests upon legal foundations established by federal law, specifically the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 including Section 504. It states in part that “No otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities in the United States…shall solely by reason of his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” Section 504 [29 USC 794] Sec 504
By federal law, a person with a disability is any person who:
- has a physical or mental impairment;
- has a record of such impairment; or
- is regarded as having such an impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities such as self-care, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing or learning.
Section 504 Implementing Regulations [34 CFR Part 104.44(a)]
“A recipient to which this subpart applies shall make such modifications to its academic requirements as are necessary to insure that such requirements do not discriminate or have the effect of discriminating, on the basis of handicap, against a qualified handicapped applicant or student. Academic requirements that the recipient can demonstrate are essential to the program of instruction being pursued by such student…will not be regarded as discriminatory within the meaning of this section.”
Implications for the University of Connecticut
As a public institution, which receives federal financial assistance, the University of Connecticut may not discriminate in the recruitment, admission, or treatment of students. Students with documented disabilities are entitled to modifications, accommodations, or auxiliary aids, which will enable them to participate in and benefit from all postsecondary educational programs and activities. The University of Connecticut must make such changes to ensure that the academic program is accessible to the greatest extent possible by all students with disabilities.
Under the provisions of Section 504, the University of Connecticut may not:
- limit the number of students with disabilities admitted;
- make preadmission inquiries as to whether or not an applicant is disabled;
- use admissions tests or criteria that inadequately measure the academic qualifications of disabled students;
- exclude a qualified student with a disability from any course of study;
- limit eligibility to a student with a disability for financial assistance or otherwise discriminate in administering scholarships, fellowships, internships, or assistantships on the basis of disability;
- counsel a student with a disability toward a more restrictive career;
- establish rules and policies that may adversely affect students with disabilities.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) upholds and extends the standards for compliance set forth in Section 504. It is civil rights legislation, which provides a clear mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Specifically, it guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five parts:
- Title I: Covers nondiscrimination in employment activities.
- Title II: Subpart A requires that state and local government entities and programs be made accessible. Subpart B covers transportation and requires that public transportation systems be made fully accessible and usable.
- Title III: Covers the accessibility and availability of programs, goods and services provided by private entities.
- Title IV: Requires telecommunication services be made accessible to persons with speech and hearing impairments and has specific reference to the development of telecommunication relay systems and closed captioning technology.
- Title V: Contains miscellaneous provisions that apply to all of the other titles as well.
Title II of ADA Regulations [28 CFR 35.130(b)(7)]
“A public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the public entity can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity.”
Implications for the University of Connecticut
Under Title II of the ADA, the University of Connecticut cannot discriminate against students on the basis of disability. General requirement under Title II include:
- no exclusion on the basis of disability;
- no discrimination through contract;
- participation in the most integrated setting;
- no discrimination through eligibility criteria;
- modifications in policies, practices, and procedures to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability;
- modifications in policies and rules to allow the presence/use of service animals;
- no discrimination through association;
- surcharges to cover the costs of accessibility may not be imposed solely on persons with disabilities;
- examinations and courses related to licensing or certification for educational, professional, or trade purposes must be accessible;
- no harassment or retaliation; and
- absolute confidentiality
- FAQ About Section 504 and Post Secondary Education
- Questions and Answers on Disability Discrimination under Section 504 and Title II
- “College Students and Disability Law” by Stephen Thomas
Comprehensive article about Section 504, ADA, qualifying as a ‘person with a disability’, admission, accommodations, and dismissal. Includes guidelines for higher education practitioners; legal references.
- A Guide to Disability Rights Laws
This guide provides an overview of Federal civil rights laws that ensure equal opportunity for people with disabilities. To find out more about how these laws may apply to you, contact the agencies and organizations listed below.
- Virginia Department of Education: College Guide for Students with Disabilities
This guide provides awareness of the needs of college-bound students. Specifically the guide is to be used to assist students and their parents in the transition from high school to postsecondary education settings. It helps clarify how students should seek appropriate academic accommodation and services. It is important to note that this guide references Virginia state law which may differ that Connecticut state laws.
- Where’s the Outrage When Colleges Discriminate Against Students With Disabilities