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The AccessAbility Center/Student Disability Services


Faculty play a key role in ensuring that students with disabilities have equal access to City College's programs and curricula. While students with disabilities may require adjustments to the way information is presented or in the method of evaluation, there is no need to lower standards for students with disabilities.

If students in your course are registered with AAC, they will present you with an Accommodation Memo outlining the accommodations recommended by AAC following careful review of the student's needs and disability-related documentation. If you have any concerns regarding the accommodations, please contact AAC immediately. Registered students will also provide you with an Exam Accommodation Request Form for each exam or quiz. If you would like AAC to proctor your exam or quiz, please complete and sign the form and provide it to the student to be dropped off at AAC at least 5 days prior to the exam or quiz. If you would like to provide the student with accommodations, AAC does not need to receive a completed form.

It is important to discuss appropriate accommodations with students; however, asking questions about a student's disability, such as the diagnosis, must be avoided. Students have the legal right not to disclose the diagnosis; they need only discuss how reasonable accommodations assist them in their academic environment.

It would be helpful for faculty to include a statement about accommodations on their syllabi:

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable academic accommodations if determined eligible by the AAC. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility from the AAC, which is located in NAC 1/218. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with the AAC and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

CUNY has published A faculty Guide to Teaching College Students with Disabilities which contains useful information about the needs of students with various types of disabilities and helpful suggestions for how to meet their needs in your classroom.

Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty

What should I do when a student hands to me directly his or her documentation of a disability?

The student should be directed to take the documentation to our office:

AccessAbility Center

North Academic Center 1/218

Staff will review the documentation to determine eligibility for accommodations and then meet with the student to discuss appropriate accommodations for each class. The staff member will also assist the student communicate with faculty about his or her accommodation needs.

Are students required to identify their disability or provide copies of disability documentation to faculty and staff?

No. Students are not required to disclose the nature of their disability, nor should they be asked to provide faculty and staff with copies of their disability documentation. Student disability documents are treated as privileged information and kept confidential in our office.
When students identify themselves as having a disability, what should faculty and staff do?

Students may notify you of a disability and express interest in seeking an accommodation. Students who request academic accommodations for disabilities but have not yet registered at the AccessAbilty Center need to be referred to our office to complete the registration process before accommodations are arranged..

Do I provide accommodations for students who orally request them but do not have documentation from the AcessAbility Center?

The faculty is not obligated to provide accommodations to students if they are not registered with the AccessAbility Center. Students should be directed to the AccessAbility Center for registration.

I suspect that a student has a disability. How do I talk to the student about my concern?

You can tell the student that you have noticed he/she is struggling and ask if you could suggest some campus resources that may be helpful, listing the AccessAbility Center among the resources. The student can come to our office or call (212) 650-7060 to schedule an appointment.

We will encourage students experiencing psychiatric or medical conditions to seek consultation with their physicians and/or psychologists for disability evaluation. We do have a list of community resources and can be of some assistance in directing students to resources who can help with documentation

What accommodations are required if a student discloses a disability after the fact (e.g., after failing an exam or assignment)?

If exceptions are not made for other students after-the-fact, none are required for students with disabilities. However, if exceptions are made for other students, requests such as this must be considered.

What do I do about a student with a disability who is misbehaving, threatening, or rude?

All students are expected to abide by the University Code of Conduct. Poor behavior is not excused on the basis of disability. If any student is disruptive, follow standard departmental procedures such as contacting campus security.

Should I extend deadlines or grade students with disabilities differently?

Students with disabilities are expected to meet the same course requirements as other students unless having an extended deadline is a specific accommodation in the accommodation memo provided to you from our office. Faculty members are not required to make modifications that fundamentally alter the nature and content of a course.  

In providing academic adjustments, (an institution) does not guarantee the success of the student, rather it commits itself to providing that student whatever assistance is necessary to ensure that a disabled student has the same opportunity of academic success as any other student in the same program we strive to level the playing field.

*Source: Salome Hayward, JD. Hayward, Lawton and Associates, Inc. 2002.


 Adapted from the University Of Iowa Faculty FAQ