Disability Service Guidelines
Skidmore College understands that maintaining confidentiality of student documentation is essential. The coordinator of student access services understands the sensitive nature of the comprehensive documentation required to verify the existence of a student's disability and to determine the need for accommodation. All applications and disability related information is kept in secure files accessible only to the essential staff, and students may review their individual file at any time.
Disability-related documentation submitted to the coordinator for the purpose of verifying a disability is considered an academic record. Based on this, the documentation is subject to the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This act requires records to be maintained as private and specific disability-related information to be shared only when there is a legitimate educational need to know. Therefore Skidmore faculty members may at times request disability-related information they view as necessary to assist in the improvement of a student's education or academic skills. Below are a few examples of situations that may lead to the release of information.
- The coordinator is attempting to assess a student's "otherwise qualified" status for a degree program or course.
- It is necessary for the coordinator to consult with faculty and/or administrative staff in order to evaluate a student's documentation and determine eligibility for academic accommodation.
- A faculty member seeks consultation with the coordinator in order to gain a better understanding of the nature of a student's approved accommodations or educational needs.
As noted above, students are better served when they work in collaboration and cooperation with faculty and the coordinator of student access services to identify and implement accommodations. The coordinator is available to work with students to develop the self-advocacy skills necessary to facilitate this process.
At all times the coordinator of student access services will make every effort to work collaboratively with individual students to establish reasonable accommodations based on strengths, needs and personal preferences. In the event of disagreement regarding the coordinator's determination or denial of accommodation, students may appeal the decision by following the steps outlined below.
- Submit a letter of appeal to the associate dean of student affairs overseeing the office of student academic services. The letter should identify the specific accommodation request, a justification as to why the request should be considered reasonable and an explanation of extenuating circumstances.
- The associate dean may consult with the student and/or the coordinator of student access services and may review disability documentation as necessary.
- The associate dean reserves the right to also consult with the dean of student affairs, the dean of studies and/or convene an ad hoc committee to review the appeal. A final decision will rest with the associate dean of student academic services, who will submit a written decision to the student, and the coordinator of student access services will then assist with implementation of the accommodation accordingly. In the event a student's appeal is denied, if appropriate, the coordinator of student access services will work with the student to establish alternative accommodations or services.
Skidmore College is committed to the ideal that all students should be free from discrimination, whether intentional or unintentional, throughout their educational pursuit at the college. If at any time students feel that they have been subjected to discriminatory actions or denied entitled rights, redress can be sought by filing a grievance with the coordinator of student access services. The grievance should be in writing and should address any concerns regarding an activity of the college or the behavior of another student or college employee.
If the coordinator agrees that discrimination has taken place, or has the potential of taking place, steps will be taken to remedy the situation which may include cooperation and input from the student and consultation with the Office of Human Resources, the dean of student affairs and/or the dean of studies. If the coordinator does not or cannot conclude that discrimination has taken place, or has the potential of taking place, the complaint will be forwarded to the dean of student affairs for review. The dean of student affairs may also consult with college offices or personnel as deemed necessary to determine a course of action. The student will be informed of the findings and actions regarding the grievance in a timely fashion.