Mississippi College has a history of providing assistance to students with disabilities. In addition to moral responsibility and the University’s commitment to access, there is a legal imperative which is embodied in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
To comply with these mandates, Mississippi College ensures that comparable educational programs and services offered to other qualified students are available to qualified students with disabilities. A qualified student with disabilities is one who, with reasonable accommodation, can meet all of an educational program’s requirements notwithstanding the disability.
To accomplish this goal, both physical and programmatic access is provided. This means that reasonable accommodations are made in the instructional process to ensure appropriate educational opportunity. This principle applies to teaching strategies and modes, as well as to institutional and departmental policies. It does not mean, however, that essential elements of a course or program will be deleted or substantially altered because of the disability. The objective is to assist the student in meeting established academic standards, not to provide a program different in substance from that provided to other qualified students.
Guidelines for Requesting Accommodations for Disability
Mississippi College accommodates students with disabilities in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Any student with a documented disability is eligible for assistance in meeting the needs for accommodations. To request accommodations, students should follow the procedures outlined below.
1. Initial Contact. Students should contact the Director of Student Counseling Services to make an initial request for accommodations relating to a disability. The current director can be contacted in Alumni Hall, Room 4A, and reached by phone at 601.925.7791. Forms to be completed in conjunction with a request for accommodation are located in Student Counseling Services Center in Alumni Hall. It should be emphasized that students who desire accommodations for disability must assume responsibility for making the initial contact and for providing supporting documentation.
2. Written Documentation of Disability. It is the responsibility of the student to provide written documentation of the disability for which accommodation is requested. The following guidelines should be followed to assure that the diagnostic evaluation report is appropriate for verifying accommodation needs:
- Testing must be comprehensive.
- Testing must be current which, in most cases, means that the test results must be no more than three years old.
- There must be clear and specific evidence and identification of a disability.
- Professionals conducting the assessment must be qualified, as evidenced by appropriate licensure or certification.
- Diagnostic reports must include the names and titles of the evaluators as well as testing dates, together with particular recommendations for educational interventions.
3. Confidentiality. Material submitted to verify a disability and to determine whether accommodations are warranted is treated as confidential information; that is, such information is not stored with the student’s general files but is kept in Student Counseling Services office where access is strictly limited. This information will be released to one or more of the student’s teachers only if the involved student gives permission. Consequently, a student must contact the Director of Student Counseling Services every semester to renew his or her request for accommodations; otherwise, the appropriate faculty members cannot be informed of the student’s needs.
4. Recommendation on Appropriate Accommodations. The Director of Student Counseling Services thoroughly reviews each request for accommodation, together with the supporting documentation, before making her recommendation as to the accommodations, if any, that are warranted in particular cases. The Director’s decision making process will involve consultations with the student and may include a solicitation of advisory opinions from other Mississippi College personnel. At the conclusion of this process, an effort will be made to adopt accommodations that are mutually acceptable to the University and the student.
5. Changing Needs. The student is obliged to keep the University informed as to changes relating to his or her needs for accommodations. The process for establishing accommodations in the first instance (see above) should also be followed in requesting a change in accommodations.
6. Appeals Process. Students who are displeased with some aspect of the accommodations recommended by the Director of Counseling and Testing may have the recommendation reviewed by following the procedures set forth below.
- An appeal must be filed in writing with the Committee on Disabilities within thirty days after a final recommendation has been communicated to the student by the Director of Student Counseling Services. This appeal should be addressed to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, at P.O. Box 4002, Mississippi College, Clinton, MS 39058, who will in turn forward the appeal to the Committee on Disabilities.
- The Committee on Disabilities will interview the student to obtain a complete account of the reasons for the appeal. The Committee and student will seek to reach an agreement on a compromise which is satisfactory to the student.
- If the student remains unsatisfied with the Committee’s accommodations, a further appeal may be filed with the President of the University at Box 4001, Mississippi College, Clinton, MS 39058. Such an appeal must be in writing and filed within 30 days of the Committee’s action. The President will make whatever investigation is warranted and thereafter render a prompt decision.