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Special Support Services

POLICIES & PROCEDURES


Statement of Purpose
 
The purpose of Special Support Services (SSS) is to provide prospective and enrolled students, faculty and staff information about (a) Truett-McConnell College’s policy regarding reasonable accommodation of students and employees with disabilities, and (b) the manner in which the College will comply with federal and state laws such as section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990).

SSS acts as a disabilities advocate by counseling (a) students and their families regarding College disability policy, and (b) College personnel about the legal rights and responsibilities of the College.

The Director of Special Support Services (a) supervises services such as the College’s obligation to provide “reasonable accommodations” and appropriate academic accommodations, and (b) provide counsel related to such issues as the rights of prospective students; the rights of enrolled students; the rights of applicants for employment; and the rights of current College employees.

The Director also provides counsel to administration, faculty, and staff regarding the legal policy requirements of the College’s disability services.


Administrative Structure
 
The Director of Special Support Services is under the direct supervision of the Vice President for Academic Services.

The Director of Special Support Services insures that policies and procedures are coordinated with the Vice President of Academic Services.

POLICIES

It is the policy of Truett-McConnell College to provide reasonable accommodations for students and employees with disabilities. Accommodations will be made in such a manner that will not impose an “undue hardship” on the College. An accommodation that creates an “undue hardship” for the College is an action, policy, procedure, and an institutional expenditure that is not required by federal law.

Truett-McConnell College is under no obligation to provide reasonable accommodations unless an individual identifies him/herself as having a disability and provides the necessary documentation. The Director of Special Support Services approves or disapproves of all accommodations requested and the documentation presented by the student. Truett-McConnell College reserves the right to request additional medical or disability information if the college feels that the current information is not valid or is insufficient. All information relevant to a disability issue is considered confidential. Records related to student and employee disabilities will be maintained in a locked fireproof cabinet, in a secure, non-public area.
 
I. Students
 
A. Admission requirements for students with disabilities are the same as for all other students. The requirements are outlined in the Truett-McConnell College catalog. The college does accept ACT and SAT scores given under special circumstances (i.e., oral or extended time).

B. It is the responsibility of the student to inform the Special Support Services (SSS) of disability concerns and accommodation issues. If SSS is not aware of a student’s disability, the Office cannot make appropriate arrangements and, therefore, is not liable.

C. Reasonable accommodations will be provided for students with disabilities upon receipt of appropriate documentation of disability.

D. A request for changes in accommodations must be submitted in writing to SSS and approved by the Director of Special Support Services.

E. The student with a disability will participate in an intake interview with the Director of Special Support Services or an approved representative to discuss the purpose of the Office and the student’s responsibilities as a recipient of services. The interviews are held prior to the beginning of the academic term in which the student wishes to enroll. For those students who disclose after initial enrollment, interviews are held as soon as possible.

F. Various auxiliary aids are provided for students with disabilities through SSS. These auxiliary aids are provided on a case-by-case basis.

G. Students requesting accommodations, academic waivers, and various services through SSS must notify the office three weeks prior to every new semester. The Office is not responsible for knowing if a student plans to return each semester.

H. Students requesting an academic waiver must submit the request in writing and explain in detail the reason for the request. An academic committee will approve or disapprove the request.

I. The student is responsible for informing SSS of his/her class schedule three weeks prior to every semester to ensure that appropriate arrangements and accommodations are fulfilled before the beginning of classes.

J. Students with disabilities who need accommodations for an exam must notify SSS three to five days prior to the exam. Any student who notifies the SSS after this period may be denied testing accommodations.

K. All psychological and disability information pertaining to students with disabilities is considered confidential and is housed in secure, locked, fireproof facility in SSS office.

L. If a student allows his/her parent(s)/guardian to be in attendance during the intake interview, a release form must be signed by the student. The information discussed in the interview is confidential, therefore, students must approve of their parent(s)/guardians presence.

M. Accommodations in registration may be possible provided documentation demonstrating the need for such accommodations is submitted and approved by the Director of Special Support Services.

II. Employees

A. Reasonable accommodations are provided for employees with disabilities. An accommodation request from an employee is reviewed by the Director of Special Support Services before an accommodation is granted. The director will approve or disapprove of the accommodation.

B. It is the responsibility of the employee to inform SSS of disability concerns and accommodation issues. If SSS is not aware of the employee’s disability issue, the institution cannot make appropriate arrangements and is not liable.

C. Reasonable accommodations will be provided for employees with disabilities upon appropriate documentation of disability.

D. New employees with disabilities requesting accommodations must notify SSS as soon as employment begins. Current employees with disabilities should also notify SSS as soon as possible.

E. All psychological and disability information pertaining to employees is considered confidential and will be housed in a locked fireproof cabinet in SSS office
.

III. Applicants

A. Pre-employment: an applicant is not required to participate in a medical examination unless it is job related and only after an offer of employment. Should such an examination be required for all employees, the information obtained is confidential.

B. Applicants are subjected to inquiries concerning a disability or the severity of the disability.

IV. Reporting Disability

A. Instructors, administration, and staff should report disability disclosures made by students on an informal basis and also refer students who are experiencing difficulty in achieving academic success to OSS. Employees should not assume that a student has a disability or instruct them to seek psychological or psychoeducational testing.

B. Special Support Services does not provide testing for students. However, a list of licensed professionals who do provide testing services is available. This list is not a recommendation or a referral by the College, but a list of professionals that students can select.

C. Once students or employees with disabilities have appropriately disclosed information about their disability, this information will not be released to other employees or students.

V. Documentation of Disability

A. Documentation must be prepared by a professional qualified to diagnose disabilities. Such professionals include the following: certified or licensed physician, psychologist, vocational evaluator, or school psychologist. If initial documentation presented does not verify a student’s disability, the student’s original documentation may be subjected to further verification.

B. Documentation must include the following information: testing procedures followed, the instruments used, the test results, and interpretation of the results.

C. If academic accommodations are requested, documentation from a qualified professional (outlined in V-A) specifying recommended academic accommodations must be provided.

D. Documentation for “changeable conditions” such as attention disorders or mental impairments must be dated no more than three years prior to the student’s matriculation. Documentation for former students being readmitted to the College must be dated no more than three years prior to matriculation. This policy does not apply to those students with learning disabilities and/or physical impairments.

E. Documentation involving “changeable conditions” should include the results of an assessment of intellectual functioning, assessment of psychological and cognitive processes, and any other instrument used to determine attention, learning, or cognitive impairments. A list of current medications should also be documented.

F. Additional testing may be required as determined by the Special Support Services.

VI. Physical Structures (ADA Building Codes)

A. Facilities and buildings located on all the College’s campuses are evaluated by the Director of Special Support Services and other administrative personnel on an annual basis to determine architectural barriers. Once identification of physical obstacles that limit accessibility for persons with disabilities has been made, a transition plan is implemented. This plan gives a detailed description of methods to make facilities accessible and the steps needed to achieve this transition.

B. The transition plan will be updated annually to reflect institutional progress in completing modifications to its campus facilities. A copy of this transition plan can be obtained from the Director of Special Support Services.

C. An instructor refusing to accommodate a student with a disability must present a legitimate reason for denying the student’s request. The Director of Special Support Services will determine if the reason is sufficient for denying the student’s request.

VII. Grievance Policy

Any prospective or enrolled student or employee who is dissatisfied with any policy, procedure or service must write a letter of grievance stating the offense and address it to the Director of Support Services. The Director of Support Services will review and determine the appropriate course of action, and a response will be mailed. If this response is not satisfactory, a grievance may be filed with the Vice President for Academic Services.


PROCEDURES

I. Students (Admission to Special Support Services)

A. The Admissions Office encloses a Disclosure of Disability form to each new student with his/her acceptance letter. If a student wishes to disclose a disability, the student completes this form and returns it to the Office of Special Support Services (SSS). Students currently enrolled at the College obtain the same disclosure form from SSS and return it when it is completed. Additional copies of this form can be obtained at the following link:



B. After the Disclosure of Disability has been received, a letter will be sent outlining the application process and available services and accommodations. This letter will request medical or psychological documentation of disability. [An outline of proper documentation is in the previous policies section.] Documentation can be mailed to SSS or a student may call to schedule a meeting once they obtain the necessary documentation.

C. All students must participate in an intake interview in which the student officially requests academic accommodations. All students requesting academic accommodations must complete a Student Request for Accommodations form and return it to SSS.

D. Once all necessary materials are received and evaluated, SSS will make a decision on the request. After the decision has been made, the student will be notified of the committee’s decision.

II. Employees

Employees with disabilities must inform SSS of their disability. SSS then provides the employee with a Disclosure of Disability form and an Employee Request for Accommodations form to complete and return. After the forms have been completed, SSS determines if the accommodations are reasonable. After the decision has been made, the employee will be notified of this decision.

III. Auxiliary Aids

A. The recruitment process for exam proctors is determined by the Director Special Support Services.

B. Proctors will be required to participate in a session given SSS on the requirements and procedures to follow during proctoring.

C. Equipment used for accommodating persons with disabilities is available through the SSS. Persons needing the equipment can obtain it through this office. Equipment must be checked out and reserved in advance.

D. Proctors pick up testing material in SSS and return it when testing is complete.

IV. Readmission for SSS Students with Academic Dismissal

A copy of the Special Support Services Academic Dismissal and Readmission Policy can be obtained from the Director of Special Support Services.

Nell G. Hoyle
Director of Special Support Services
(706) 865-2134 ext. 172

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