It is the policy of Midwestern State University (“MSU” or “University”), that no otherwise qualified person, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program, activity, or employment of the University. It is MSU’s policy to provide equal access and opportunity to individuals with disabilities in compliance with federal law.
Reason for Policy
The purpose of this policy is to ensure understanding of the University’s responsibilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Application of Policy
This policy applies to current and prospective students, current and prospective employees including qualified applicants for employment, visitors, contractors, vendors, and guests on campus. Every member of the University community is responsible for ensuring an accessible and inclusive educational and work environment.
ADA Coordinator: The ADA Coordinator for the University manages University programs and responsibilities to assure compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other federal and state laws and regulations pertaining to persons with disabilities. The ADA Coordinator is responsible for coordinating University policies and procedures relating to persons with disabilities, tracking University progress relating to its policies and procedures as well as state and federal laws and regulations relating to persons with disabilities, and filing all necessary reports. See infra Responsible Office(s), section VII.
Disability: An individual with a disability is an individual who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such impairment.
EIR (electronic and information resources): Includes information technology and any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in the creation, conversion, duplication, or delivery of data or information.
EIR Accessibility Coordinator: Per Rule §213.41(d) of Title 1, Part 10, Chapter 213, Subchapter C of the Texas Administrative Code, the “head of each institution of higher education shall designate an EIR Accessibility Coordinator who shall be organizationally placed to develop, support and maintain its accessibility policy institution wide. The institution’s designation must contain the individual’s name and other information in the format published by the department.” Such coordinator for MSU shall be the Section 508 Coordinator, Kristin Grassi, 940-397-4140.
Essential Function: The term essential functions means the fundamental job duties of the employment position the individual with a disability holds or desires. A job function may be considered essential for several reasons, including but not limited to the following: (i) the function may be essential because the reason the position exists is to perform that function; (ii) the function may be essential because of the limited number of employees available among whom the performance of that job function can be distributed; and/or (iii) the function may be highly specialized so that the incumbent in the position is hired for his or her expertise or ability to perform the particular function.
Qualified Individual with a Disability (student): With respect to education, a qualified person with a disability is a person with a disability who meets the academic and technical standards for admission or participation in a particular educational program or activity with or without accommodation.
Qualified Individual with a Disability (employee): With respect to employment, a qualified person with a disability is a person with a disability possessing the requisite skills, education, experience, and training for a position, and who can perform, with or without reasonable accommodation, the essential functions of the position the individual desires or holds.
Reasonable Accommodation: In regard to education, a modification or adjustment to an academic program or activity that enables a student to meet essential elements of the academic program. Such accommodation is required unless it causes undue hardship on the academic unit or poses a direct threat to the health and safety of the individual or others. In regard to employment, a modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the way things are done that enables a qualified individual with a disability to perform essential job functions. Such accommodation is required unless it poses an undue hardship on the employer or poses a direct threat to the health and safety of the individual or others.
Substantial Limitation (substantially limiting): An impairment preventing the performance of a major life activity that the average individual in the general population can perform; or a significant restriction as to the condition, manner or duration under which an individual can perform a particular major life activity as compared to the average individual in the general population.
Undue Hardship: Any accommodation that is substantially disruptive, administratively burdensome, unduly costly to the University, or that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the unit.
Web-based communication: The sharing of information, words, or ideas over a network of computers known as the internet.
Web page: The static or dynamic content displayed on the internet that is identified by a unique Uniform Resource Locator (URL).
Website: Several interrelated and cross-linked web resources designed to function as a collective unit.
Procedures and Responsibilities
To receive an accommodation under the ADA, an employee must make a request to the University’s Disability Support Services (DSS). The employee should include documentation from a qualified health professional of his or her functional limitations. The employee shall provide a medical statement that contains a diagnosis and prognosis, explaining the impact the impairment will have on the employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of the employee’s position. The document should also identify the major life activity that is substantially limited as a result of the disability. An initial request can be made through a departmental chair, Human Resources (HR) representative or supervisor, but requests made are ultimately elevated to the DSS.
After reviewing the documentation and the facts of each request, the DSS will determine if the employee is eligible for accommodations under the ADA. If eligible for accommodation, a member of the DSS will then facilitate a plan of reasonable accommodation and will:
- Determine what documentation is needed to support the employee's request for accommodation.
- Clarify the responsibilities of the University and the employee throughout the process.
- Identify the essential and marginal functions of the position (if not already done).
- Discuss the employee’s specific physical or mental abilities or limitations as they relate to the essential functions along with potential accommodations.
- Identify the accommodation that best serves the needs of the employee and the university.
- Coordinate with the employee, HR, and supervisor as necessary.
The accommodation and any related documentation is maintained by the DSS office. Information shall be shared only with those having an official need to know. See infra Confidentiality, section VD.
The employee is responsible for contacting the DSS or HR if reasonable accommodations are not implemented in an effective and timely manner. The DSS will work with the employee, and other parties as needed, to resolve disagreements regarding the recommended accommodation. See infra Grievance Procedures, section VE.
- To receive an accommodation under the ADA, students must file an application with the DSS.
- A student must provide documentation of her/his disability and how it limits her/his participation in programs or services of the University. Appropriate documentation contains a clear diagnostic statement that describes how the condition was diagnosed, information about the functional impact, and suggestions of appropriate accommodations provided by a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional who has undergone appropriate and comprehensive training. Documentation of the disability should be timely and from appropriate professionals licensed to diagnose the type of disability the student has. Medical documentation will be retained by only the DSS and kept confidential. See infra Confidentiality, section VD.
- The DSS makes the determination of whether the student is eligible for accommodations under the ADA. Accommodations will be determined through an interactive process between the DSS and the student.
- If there is a discrepancy regarding requested accommodations, the DSS will facilitate discussions between the student and faculty members and/or academic units. It is the responsibility of the DSS to determine the reasonable accommodation in a particular case, taking into account the content of the course or program, the student's disability, and the documentation from an appropriately credentialed professional. These procedures DO NOT require an academic unit to fundamentally alter the nature of its academic program.
- Students are expected to discuss with their instructors the need for accommodations in their respective course. Faculty members are expected to discuss such matters privately and maintain confidentiality.
- Students are responsible for notifying the DSS if reasonable accommodations are not implemented in an effective and timely way.
Serving disabled students also requires the cooperation of the faculty. Faculty members must insert the following, or an equivalent to the following, into each course syllabus:
Any student who, because of a disability, may require special arrangements in order to meet the course requirements should contact the instructor as soon as possible to make necessary arrangements. Students must present appropriate verification from the University’s Disability Support Services (DSS) during the instructor’s office hours. Please note that instructors are not allowed to provide classroom accommodation to a student until appropriate verification from the DSS has been provided.
Faculty should announce the following, or an equivalent to the following, within the first few sessions of classes, in addition to pointing out the above clause that is to be inserted in the syllabus:
“I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has a disability that may require special accommodation. I am willing to assist you in arranging the accommodation for your disability as prescribed by the University’s Disability Support Services (DSS). Please make an appointment with me during my office hours so that we may discuss what accommodations will best serve you.”
Confidentiality: Any records or information obtained during the process that reflect diagnosis, evaluation, or treatment of an employee’s or applicant’s medical or mental health condition are confidential and will be maintained in a separate file. Such records will be shared only with those University employees who have a need to know in order to implement the accommodation process and will not be released except as required by law.
Grievance Procedures: Employees or students who believe the University has not met its obligations under the ADA should consult with the University’s ADA Coordinator, who serves all MSU sites and has overall responsibility for coordinating the efforts of the University to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and investigating any complaints regarding the same.
Website Accessibility: As of August 1, 2018, all new University websites and web-based communications must meet the accessibility standards set forth by Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA. Existing University websites and web-based communications will also be expected to meet accessibility standards and will be prioritized for review and compliance. Priority websites and web-based communications will be determined by the electronic and information resources (EIR) accessibility coordinator and the University’s compliance and ethics coordinating chairman in consultation with information technology, the webmaster, and distance education. See also MSU Policy 4.151 (Web Accessibility).
Related Statutes, Rules/Regulations, Policies, Forms, and Websites
Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Americans with Disabilities Act of 2008
29 CFR 1630.2 (Code of Federal Regulations)
Related MSU Policies:
4.131: Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy Statement
4.151: Web Accessibility
4.189: Disability Grievance Procedures
Forms associated with this policy may be obtained from Disability Support Services in Room 168 of Clark Student Center (940-397-4140).
Employee Accommodations and Resources:
Disability Support Services Frequent Questions (students):
Disability Grievance Procedures:
Director of Human Resources
Hardin Administration Building, Room 210
3410 Taft Boulevard
Wichita Falls, TX 76308
University ADA Coordinator
Clark Student Center, Room 168
3410 Taft Boulevard
Wichita Falls, TX 76308
- Approved by the Board of Regents.
- Revised to identify appropriate grievance committee (see Policy 4.189 – Disability Grievance Procedures).
- Revisions made to comply with recent changes enacted by the 81st Texas Legislature and to clarify the policy.
- Approved by the Board of Regents.