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Skidmore College
Disability and Accessibility Services

Ethical Standards and Legislative Foundations

Skidmore College is a member of the Association of Higher Education and Disability and, as such, adheres to its code of ethics.

AHEAD Code of Ethics

We agree that these principles are the code of ethics for post-secondary disability service providers. As professionals, we are responsible for upholding, supporting and advancing these ideas whenever possible. Members of AHEAD agree to monitor themselves and their peers in accordance with the spirit and provisions of this code, as delineated by the following principles:

  1. Postsecondary disability service providers are committed to facilitating the highest levels of educational excellence and potential quality of life for postsecondary students with disabilities.
  2. Postsecondary disability service providers strive to achieve and maintain the highest levels of competence and integrity in all areas of assistance to adult students with disabilities. This support is guided by the consistent use of objective, professional judgment in all areas, especially when addressing the confidential nature of the student's disability.
  3. Postsecondary disability service providers continually participate in professional activities and educational opportunities designed to strengthen the personal, educational and vocational quality of life for students with disabilities. This includes the ongoing development of strategies, skills, research and knowledge pertinent to the highest quality of disability service delivery whenever and wherever it occurs.
  4. Postsecondary disability service providers carry out their responsibilities in accordance with AHEAD professional standards and policy guidelines for adult students with disabilities. When certified, licensed or affiliated with other professionals or organizations, they comply with those professional guidelines as well.
  5. Postsecondary service providers are actively engaged in supporting and clarifying institutional, state, provincial and federal laws, policies and procedures applicable to the service delivery to students with disabilities. Compliance implies that professionals will not condone or participate in any unethical or illegal acts discussed within these guidelines.

Legislative Foundations

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Overall, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits federal agencies from discriminating against individuals based on a disabling condition. The most pertinent part of the act is subpart E of Section 504, which requires federal grantees to make their programs and activities accessible to individuals with disabilities. Subpart E states that "No qualified handicapped student shall, on the basis of handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any academic, research, occupational training, housing, health insurance, counseling, financial aid, physical education, athletics, recreation, transportation, other extracurricular, or other postsecondary education aid, benefits, or services to which this subpart applies." The provision requires recipients to make modifications to academic requirements as are necessary to ensure that such requirements do not discriminate or have the effect of discriminating, on the basis of handicap, against a qualified handicapped applicant or student and to provide auxiliary aids designed to facilitate equal access to the educational activities of the institution. Skidmore is not required to provide attendants, individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study, or other devices or services of a personal nature.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Signed into law in July 1990, the ADA provides comprehensive civil rights protections for individuals with disabilities by guaranteeing equal rights access in the areas of employment, governmental service, public transportation, public accommodations and telecommunications. The ADA seeks to remove barriers to meaningful participation and to provide individuals with disabilities with equal opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of community life.