Policies & Procedures
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR PROVIDING SERVICES FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
DEPARTMENT OF COUNSELING AND CAREER SERVICES
DIVISION OF ENROLLMENT SERVICES
Middlesex County College provides reasonable accommodation for qualified individuals with disabilities, as noted in the College’s Affirmative Action and Compliance Statement:
- Middlesex County College is firmly committed to a policy of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. The College will implement this policy to assure that the educational programs, activities, services, benefits and employment opportunities offered by the College are available to all persons regardless of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, age, religion, sex, affectional or sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status or disability in accordance with applicable State and Federal laws. Inquiries regarding compliance may be directed to the Affirmative Action Officer, Mr. Walt DeAngelo, Director, Labor Relations, Middlesex County College, Chambers Hall, 2600 Woodbridge Avenue, Edison, New Jersey 08818-3050.
Federal Laws, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, provide the following definition of a person with a disability.
- A person with a disability, according to Federal and New Jersey laws, is someone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. A person is considered disabled if (1) he/she has a disability, (2) has a record of the disability, or (3) is regarded as having the disability. This includes, but is not limited to, such disabling conditions as visual impairments, psychological/emotional disabilities, speech, hearing impairments, mobility impairments or learning disabilities. A qualified handicapped person, under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is defined as one who meets the requisite academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in the post-secondary institution’s programs and activities.
A. Student Responsibilities
A Middlesex County College student with a disability has the right to reasonable accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
- Self-identification. It is the responsibility of the student with a disability to self -identify to Disability Services (ED 100, 732 906-2546) and to request appropriate accommodations in writing. Students requesting services are required to complete a Special Services application and submit appropriate documentation in a timely manner. Students are required to make an appointment for an intake interview to discuss their needs and requests for accommodations.
- Documentation. Eligibility for services and accommodations for a student with disability is based on review of the documentation submitted. Middlesex County College reserves the right to request additional documentation.
Examples of appropriate documentation for various disabilities may include:
a. Students with learning disabilities should provide recent written documentation (typically within the last three years) which includes:
- Psychological evaluation (WAIS preferred; standard scores should be used) including sub-test scores; and
- An educational evaluation (Woodcock Johnson III preferred;standard scores should be used) with sub-test scores.
- A discussion of the nature and severity of the learning disability and its impact on academic work.
b. Students with physical, visual, hearing, emotional, or other health impairments must provide:
- Medical and/or psychological documentation of the impairment; and
- Professional recommendations of accommodations necessitated by the impairment in an academic setting.
The College is not responsible for diagnosing a student’s disabilities.
Counseling and Career Services Responsibilities
The Department of Counseling and Career Services will assist students with disabilities in the provision of accommodations. This will be done for persons with disabilities who identify themselves, provide adequate documentation of their disability and request services. This Department works with academic departments to assist them in meeting their responsibilities. Disability Services Counselors may be reached at 732 906-2546, Edison Hall, Room 100.
Handling of Confidential Material. Any documentation provided to the Disability Services Staff is treated as confidential material. This information is not released to anyone else without the student’s written consent. Confidential records are maintained for seven years after a student graduates or leaves the College. Students are encouraged to make their own file copy of any information submitted to the Disability Services Office.
3. Accommodations. It is the student’s responsibility to make the specific request for an accommodation in writing and to allow sufficient time for the arrangements to be made.
Once the accommodation need has been verified by Disability Services Staff, it is the student’s responsibility to meet with a staff member to complete a Classroom Accommodation Form and transmit it to the faculty member or office involved. Classroom Accommodation Forms must be completed each and every semester.
C. Faculty Responsibilities
Faculty are required by Federal Law to accommodate a student’s request for reasonable accommodations. Failure to do so may result in personal as well as institutional liability.
A faculty member is not required to provide any accommodations unless notified through an official Accommodations Form from the Department of Counseling and Career Services. Faculty may verify the request by contacting the professional staff named on the form.
The accommodations shall not compromise the content of the course or the essential requirements of the degree. If a faculty member has questions about the request, they are encouraged to contact Disability Services.
Faculty are encouraged to alert students to the availability of special services by placing a statement such as the following in their course syllabi:
“Students with disabilities, whether physical, learning or psychological, who believe that they may need accommodations in this class, are encouraged to contact Disability Services as soon as possible to ensure that the accommodations are implemented. Please meet with the Disability Services staff in Edison Hall, Room 100, 732 906-2546.”
D. Institutional Responsibilities
The College makes every effort to accommodate a student with a disability. However, the student must meet all the academic requirements of his/her program. Accommodation is not a guarantee of success.
If a student believes that he/she has not received a reasonable accommodation, they are encouraged to discuss the situation with the Counselor for Students with Disabilities in ED 100.
E. Grievance Procedure
Grievance Procedure – Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973/ Americans with Disabilities Act
Middlesex County College has adopted an internal grievance procedure for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by federal regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and the NJ State statue /New Jersey Law against Discrimination. If you believe that you have been denied equal access in the form of appropriate accommodations, modifications, auxiliary aids, or effective communication or suffered discriminatory harassment as described in the above mentioned laws follow the procedures outlined below.
Students are encouraged to first try to resolve complaints with the Disability Service Office of the Department of Counseling and Career (ED100). However, if this does not satisfy the student, complaints may be addressed to the Mr. Walt DeAngelo, Director, Labor Relations/ Compliance Officer, Chambers Hall, room 208, ext. 4166, who has been appointed to coordinate Section 504/ADA compliance efforts.
This complaint procedure will be conducted in a way that respects, to the extent possible the privacy of all persons involved. The investigation shall be conducted in a prompt, thorough and impartial manner. The results of the investigation shall be forwarded to the Vice President of Legal and External Affairs to make the final decision as to whether or not a violation has occurred. Prompt remedial action will be taken when appropriate. At Middlesex County College, persons who have a “professional need to know” the results of a college investigation and/or any remedial actions that must be taken, will be officially notified.
When to file a Complaint:
It is requested that the Complaint be filed within 45 calendar days or sooner when the aggrieved became aware of the alleged violation.
Who can File a Formal Complaint:
Students and others who believe they have been discriminated against may file a complaint with the Director, Labor Relations/Compliance Officer. The complaint must be in writing and include:
1. The Complainant’s name and address
2. Accused name and address or accommodation/service not provided.
3. The nature of the violation.
4. Preliminary facts alleged, dates and times of incidents.
5. Names, addresses and phone numbers of witnesses, if applicable.
6. The date of the complaint.
7. Remedy sought.
The Complainant must sign the complaint.
Role of the Director of Labor Relations/Compliance Officer:
1. Upon receipt of said complaint, the Director will investigate the complaint by contacting all interested parties.
2. The investigation will include interviewing the complainant and others who may have information relevant to the complaint. The complainant may be accompanied by a colleague, peer, friend, or representative in any discussions relating to the investigation of a formal complaint.
3. After interviewing those involved and reviewing pertinent evidence or documents, the Director will analyze the facts relating to the issues in contention and make a decision based on the facts and evidence.
4. The findings of the Director will be forwarded to the Vice-President, Legal and External Affairs no later than 25 days after the complaint was filed.
5. The findings will include:
a. A synopsis of the complaint.
b. A complete listing of the facts.
c. Conclusions drawn from the evidence and facts.
d. Recommended action.
Role of the Vice-President of Legal and External Affairs:
Within 15 working days of receipt of the findings and recommendations from the Director, the President may in writing:
1. Accept the recommendations of the Director;
2. Accept the findings of the Director and modify the recommended sanction;
3. Dismiss the case based upon the presented record.
In all cases, the Vice-President of Legal and External Affairs may confer with the Director regarding his/her decision.
The right of a person to a prompt and equitable resolution of the complaint filed here shall not impede the person’s pursuit of other remedies such as filing a Section 504/ADA complaint with the responsible federal department or agency. Utilization of the grievance procedure is not a pre-requisite for other remedies.
This process is designed to protect the substantive rights of interested parties, to meet appropriate due process standards and to assure that Middlesex County College complies with Section 504/ADA and implementing requirements.
F. Course Substitution Policy and Procedures for Students with Disabilities
Middlesex County College follows the legal guidance of relevant Federal and State Laws concerning equal access to its programs, services and facilities for students with disabilities. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, PL 93-112 provides the legal guidance concerning program access for students with disabilities at post-secondary institutions. A college cannot discriminate against an otherwise qualified student solely on the basis of disability, and must reasonably accommodate students with disabilities to ensure equal access to the programs and services of the institution.
Specifically, this law states that a college “shall make such modifications to its academic requirements as are necessary to ensure that such requirements do not discriminate or have the effects of discriminating, on the basis of disability, against a qualified applicant or student with a disability….Modifications may include changes in the length of time permitted for the completion of degree requirements, substitution of specific courses required for the completion of degree requirements, and adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted” (34.C.R.R. 104.44 (a).
At the same time, Section 504 clearly states that academic requirements which the College can “demonstrate are essential to the program of instruction being pursued by such student or to any directly related licensing requirement will not be regarded as discriminatory…” (34 C.F.R. 104.44). Institutions are responsible for showing that a requirement is essential to a given program of study and that a substitution would fundamentally alter the program.
In 2002, a New Jersey law ( N.J.S.A. 18A:62-44) was passed addressing “reasonable substitution of certain courses” for students with some specific disabilities attending NJ Colleges and Universities. Furthermore, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act upholds the intentions and direction of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Procedures for Disability Related Course Substitution Request
Middlesex County College promotes equal access to its academic programs for students with disabilities. One of the functions of the Disabilities Services Office is to facilitate the provision of appropriate academic accommodations. The Disability Services Office will not support a petition for course substitution if the course is essential for the major. A decision about the essential nature of a course will be made with the academic department. Each request will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Substitutions are not automatically supported for students who have had substitutions or waivers at other institutions, including high schools. In addition, a waived course may not be used as a pre-requisite to a higher level course.
Eligibility for Petition
In every case it is the student’s sole responsibility to initiate the petition and to provide all information necessary to support the need for a course substitution.
In addition, the student must meet the following criteria:
1. The student has a documented disability and asserts that this disability precludes the successful completion of the requirement under petition.
2. The student has attempted to meet the requirement or a similar requirement while using academic accommodations and academic support services, if appropriate.
1. The student must have on file or provide to Disability Services comprehensive, current and relevant documentation of the related disability. This documentation must be from an appropriated certified professional (e.g. learning disabilities specialist, neuro-psychologist, psychologist, psychiatrist, audiologist). This documentation must substantiate the condition and its impact on the student’s ability in the subject area.
2. A complete case history documenting the student’s difficulties in learning including:
a. A typed personal statement by the student indicating the reasons for the request, including prior experiences with the subject matter and a statement of the student’s educational goals.
b. A history of the use of academic accommodations used during course attempts at Middlesex County College.
c. Transcripts of courses and grades. The student may submit letters from appropriate high school personnel and/or College faculty attesting to the student’s efforts and diligence in attempting to master the subject matter.
d. Any additional information the student wishes to submit.
The review process may consist of two phases. In Phase 1, Disability Services staff will determine whether or not a course substitution is warranted. In the case of an appeal for a foreign language substitution request, the DS staff will utilize the list of courses previously developed as acceptable substitutes. The paper work and recommended courses will be sent to the student’s Divisional Dean for final review. Steps will include:
1. Student will submit required documentation to the Disability Services Office for review.
2. Within 30 days, the DS staff will notify the student in writing whether any additional information is needed to consider the petition. If the student does not submit the requested information by the deadline date specified in the written notice, the file will be closed. If the necessary information is secured at a later date, the student may re-initiate the procedure.
3. Within 45 days of receipt of the required documentation, the DS staff will make a determination and will notify the student of the decision in writing. The following will occur:
a. If the petition results in a recommendation for appropriate academic accommodations other that course substitution, a meeting with the student will be arranged to coordinate the recommendations.
b. If the petition results in a recommendation for a course substitution, DS will send a portfolio containing the student request and relevant supporting documentation to the appropriate Dean.
c. If the DS office does not have a specific course substitution recommendation, the request will be forwarded to the Ad hoc Committee on Course Substitution for further consideration.
Phase 2: Ad-hoc Committee on Course Substitution
An Ad-hoc Committee on Course Substitution will be formed every time it is determined that a petition is directed to this phase. Each committee will consist of five members who shall collaborate in the development of an appropriate course substitution:
- The Dean of the student’s Division.
- One faculty member from the subject area under appeal, appointed by the appropriate Dean.
- One faculty member from the student’s declared major or intended field of study, preferably the student’s assigned Academic Advisor.
- One representative from the Disability Services Staff.
- One representative from the Registrar’s Office.
The appointment to this committee is for the duration of the specific appeal under consideration. The Committee will elect a Chairperson from among its members.
The Ad-hoc Committee will adhere to the following procedures:
1. The Ad-hoc Committee on Course Substitution will be formed within ten days of notice of the appeal to review the case. The Committee members may request additional information at any time during the process.
2. The Committee will review all related information and make a decision for implementation within thirty days.
3. The Committee will forward its proposed course substitution to the Office of the Vice-President of Academic and Student Affairs.
4. The Office of the Vice-President of Academic and Student Affairs will inform the student in writing within ten days of receipt of the Committee’s proposal. Any approved substitutions will be documented in the student’s academic file.
Right to Appeal
If a student disagrees with the recommendations of the DS staff in Phase 1 or the Ad-hoc Committee recommendation, the student may file an appeal directly to the Vice-President of Academic and Student Affairs’s Office. The Vice-President will review all pertinent material and will consult with the College’s ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer to make a determination. The decision of the Vice-President is final. If a student is dissatisfied with the Vice-Presidents decision they may file a formal grievance through the College’s Grievance Policy.
G. Project Connections
Students with learning disabilities may apply to Project Connections, the comprehensive support service program for students with learning disabilities.
This supplemental service, which goes above and beyond what the law requires, is grant-funded. Students must submit a separate application form directly to the Project Connections office. Students may call (732) 906-2507 to request an application. The application to the program is competitive and space is limited. The application deadline is February 15, prior to the fall semester. Students not accepted to Project Connections may receive accommodation support through Disability Services in ED 100.
Students with disabilities may request accommodations during testing (e.g. scribing, oral testing, extended time, quiet environment). Decisions for appropriate accommodations are made (based on what the documentation supports) on an individual basis by the Counselor for Students with Disabilities and/or a member of the Project Connections staff.
Alternate testing arrangements may be made by the instructor or through the Adaptive Testing Service, which is part of the College’s Testing Center in JLC
1. The following are procedures for the use of the Adaptive Testing Service:
a. Notification. The student must notify the instructor that he/she may need alternative methods of testing during the semester. Verification of this need can be obtained from the Project Connections Office, 732 906-2547, Johnson Leaning Center or from the Counselor for Students with Disabilities, 732 906-2546, Edison Hall. Instructors should feel free to call if there are any questions about stated needs or requested accommodations for testing.
b. Test Provision and Instructions. The student must provide the instructor with an Adaptive Testing form a week prior to test date. This needs to be done for each test to be taken in the Adaptive Testing Center. The instructor is required to deliver the test several days in advance to the Adaptive Testing Center. In addition, the instructor should specify any special directions regarding administration or note any allowable materials on the “Adapted Testing Service” form. Tests should be hand-delivered by the instructor.
c. Scheduling of Examination. The student is responsible for scheduling the date and time of an examination, as far in advance as possible and with the instructor’s approval. It is preferred that students schedule the alternative test-taking appointment at the same time that the rest of the class is taking the test.
d. Test Administration and Security. Adaptive Testing staff will log the receipt of the test, the instructions, the amount of time used, and proctor’s name. Completed tests may be picked up from the Testing Center in JLC. The signed receipt and written instructions will be kept on file in the Adaptive Testing Center Office.
e. Student Responsibilities. Students are expected to complete a contract which outlines procedures in order to use the service. Any student found cheating will be referred immediately to his or her instructor for sanctions under their cheating policy.
I. Additional Services
a. Class Relocation. When necessary and feasible, classes will be moved to accessible locations to accommodate students with mobility impairments. If a student needs to meet with a staff person whose office is in an inaccessible location, the staff person will meet the student in an alternate accessible location, upon request.
b. Attendance Policies. Disability Services does not have a role in determining course attendance policies. Because attendance may be integral to the course all policies concerning attendance are set by faculty at the college, department or individual level. In some cases, attendance is fundamental to course objectives. In other cases faculty may determine that students can master course content despite some or many absences. Rarely will an instructor decide that a student does not need to attend class at all. Disability Services may be consulted and assist students in interacting with faculty if need arises due to a disability related absence.
c. Note takers. If a student needs a note taker for a class, several options are used by the College to satisfy the request. In some cases, the instructor of the class is asked to identify a student to act as a peer note taker. Students from class may be paid a stipend for their services. In other cases, a peer tutor is hired by the peer tutoring service to act as a note taker. Some students may use shared notes and others prefer to use a tape recorder. When a recorder is needed, the student may sign a Recorder Agreement Form available from Disability Services to protect confidentiality and ensure proper handling of the tapes. New technologies currently exist as well, like the Live Smart Pens that students may use to take their own notes and record at the same time. Our Assistive Technology Center has some of these available for student loan. If the student with a disability is using a note taker they are not entitled to notes if they are absent from the class.
d. Interpreters/C-Print Services. Interpreters will be hired for deaf students who use sign language skills. Every attempt will be made to hire qualified interpreters. Due to the difficulties securing interpreter services, 6 to 8 weeks advance notice is required.
It is the responsibility of the student to attend every class throughout the semester. However, if there is a situation where the student cannot attend class, they should notify the Counselor for Students with Disabilities Office, 732 906-2546, 24 hours in advance. Students who miss two consecutive classes without notifying the Office may have their support services temporarily suspended. To continue services, it will be necessary to have a meeting with the Counselor for Students with Disabilities.
For interpreter requests outside of regularly scheduled class times, students are to contact Disability Services, (732)906-2546, two weeks prior to the event or as soon as they are aware of the need.
Students are encouraged to discuss any problems directly with their interpreter before coming to the Office.
e. Recorded/Taped Texts/E-Text – Texts in alternate format will be ordered from Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic, Bookshare and at times directly from the publisher. The College maintains an institutional membership with several sources. Students will be assisted in applying for such services and ordering texts in advance by the Disability Services Office. Students may also use the resources of the staff and technology of the Assistive Technology Lab to scan and read print materials.
f. Tutoring. Tutoring services are available to all students through the peer tutoring service in the Tutoring Center, Johnson Learning Center, Room 241. In addition, the English and Math department offer tutorial support for developmental coursework. Specialized professional tutoring for Project Connections students is also available.
g. Adaptive Computer Lab Equipment. The Counseling and Career Services Department has specialized adaptive computer hardware and software for student use in JLC 221. A lab coordinator is available to assist students in learning to use the equipment. In addition, some assistive technology is available in the College Library and can be made available on any computer that a student has need to access, upon request.
h. Cooperative Education Programs. Career Services will assist students with disabilities in finding an accessible field placement location.
i. Parking. The College’s Edison campus is equipped with handicapped parking in several locations on campus. Students who have New Jersey handicapped license plates or placards may park in these designated spots. Designated handicapped parking is also available at the New Brunswick and Perth Amboy Centers.
j. Service Animals: The College permits the use of service animals when they are in use by a person with a disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as “any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair , or fetching dropped items”. This definition means that an individual must have a disability as defined by the ADA and the accompanying animal must be trained to do specific tasks for the qualified individual. Students wishing to use a service animal on campus should first contact Disability Services to register with the Office. Employees should contact the Office of Human Resources.
J. Services Not Provided
a. Equipment. The College does not provide personal devices such as wheelchairs or individually prescribed devices such as hearing aids.
b. Personal Assistants. The College does not provide personal assistants. It does not provide personal services in eating, dressing, toileting or on-campus travel.
c. Transportation. The College does not provide on-campus transportation. However, if the College provides transportation to any off-campus activity, the College will make special arrangements for a student with a disability. Advance notice must be provided to the sponsor of the activity.
d. Guide Dogs. The College does not provide guide dogs. However, students with impairments are permitted to bring their guide dogs to campus.
Any disability or accommodation not discussed in this document may be discussed with the Counselor for Students with Disabilities, Department of Counseling and Career Services, Edison Hall, 732 906-2546 or email : EDaidone@middlesexcc.edu.