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Webster's Ninth New Collegiate dictionary defines accessible as "capable of being reached". Disability Support Services (DSS) Offices exist on postsecondary campuses for that reason - to ensure equal access to programs and activities. The goal and the effort must come from the student. The campus DSS office provides support.

What DSS Offices Do

1. Part of the DSS Office's role is to empower students. The goal is always to help students be independent and gain control of their own lives.

2. While it is the student's right and responsibility to work with faculty to set up academic adjustments/auxiliary aids, it is the DSS Office's responsibility to assure that the appropriate academic adjustments/auxiliary aids are provided for students who register with the DSS Office. Student requests need to be made in a timely manner and must be reasonable, i.e. do not give an advantage but only an equal chance at success.

3. It is important to remember that academic adjustments/auxiliary aids cannot:

Bullet result in fundamental alterations to the nature or requirements of a program or
Bullet cause undue administrative burden to the institution

4. The DSS Office exists to ensure that no student is discriminated against by the institution on the basis of disability. It is the institution's legal obligation and mission to determine and to provide, upon request by the student with appropriate backup documentation, appropriate academic adjustments/auxiliary aids to ensure that the student has an equal educational opportunity.

5. The DSS office's role is to ensure that other campus offices are prepared to serve students with disabilities.

6. It is the DSS Office's role to protect the student's right to confidentiality. Specific information about a student's disability will be kept confidential by the DSS Office.

7. Clear procedures are established through the DSS Office for documentation of disabilities and arrangement of academic adjustments/auxiliary aids. Students may choose not to access these services.

"Students who choose not to access these established channels may be able to negotiate their academic adjustments/auxiliary aids needs on an individual basis, but may not bring a complaint for lack of accommodation if arrangements so negotiated prove to be unsatisfactory." (Jarrow, 1993)

Jarrow, Jane E. (1993), Subpart E: The Impact of Section 504 on Post-secondary Education, AHEAD, Columbus, OH.

Adapted from Missouri AHEAD

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