Accommodating Students with Disabilities


1.1 UNC Pembroke is committed to equality of educational opportunity and does not discriminate against applicants, students, or employees based on color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability.  UNC Pembroke is committed to providing services for all students with disabilities in accordance with Sections 504 and 508 of the rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 2009.

1.2.It is the policy of the University that services are available for any student who can document a disability.
 The administration provides appropriate services, including: 1) support, counseling, and information, 2) academic assistance services, 3) advocacy services, and 4) physical assistance within the classroom.

1.3. In general, University policy calls for reasonable accommodations to be made for students with disabilities on an individualized and flexible basis.  It is the responsibility of students with disabilities, however, to seek available assistance at the University and to make their needs known.  The University office that is designated to determine eligibility of services and  ensure equitable access for students with disabilities is the office of the Accessibility Resource Center and is located in D. F. Lowry, Room 107.

1.4. The University prohibits and actively discourages discrimination against people with disabilities.  Toward this end, the University community will continue to develop training and resources to promote sensitivity and awareness of disability issues.

1.5. The University is committed to providing equal access and reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.  Toward this end, the University will continue to develop and coordinate policies and procedures and provide services and access to employment, academic programs, co-curricular activities, and facilities.

1.6. The Chancellor and administrative officers will provide leadership in improving access for people with disabilities and will be responsible for implementing the principles of equal access at the University.

1.7. The University will organize disability services in a way that promotes, to the greatest extent possible, increased independence for people with disabilities and that engages the entire campus community in access issues.  The goal of reasonable accommodations will be to increase rather than decrease opportunities for people with disabilities. 

1.8. In order to respect the independence, rights, and dignity of people with disabilities, the initiative requesting an accommodation or identifying oneself as having a disability must come from the affected individual.

1.9. The University will treat data on people with disabilities with confidentiality in accordance with data privacy laws and established University regulations.   No information will be collected for administrative purposes except information that is essential for program development, implementation, determination of reasonable accommodation, or as required by law.

1.10. College administrators, faculty, and staff will encourage institutional cooperation to collect, develop, and disseminate knowledge about creating accommodating environments for people with disabilities.


2.1. The office of the Accessibility Resource Center is the only office sanctioned to determine eligibility for services under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act or any other laws affecting services for people with disabilities in a higher education setting.

2.2. Preadmission Information

2.2.a. The university is not allowed, by law, to ask if a prospective student has a disability prior to admission.  However, that information is often provided.  The admissions office makes every attempt to judge an application on its merits.  If the applicant's disability played some role in a problem on the transcript (i.e. the student

was not provided services or diagnosed until midway through high school or did not become disabled until later in high school), then it is suggested that the student write an additional essay or letter and indicate how that affected the student's work.  It is not recommended that the student include actual documentation, because someone trained to interpret it must read documentation. Therefore, documentation of a disability is not requested until after students are at the university.

2.2.b. In addition, documentation is very personal information and should only be kept in the files of the Accessibility Resource Center. This is another reason why it is not recommended that documentation be sent to the admissions office.  UNC-P realizes that it is extremely important that all information about a student's disability
remain confidential and that it not be used in making an admission decision. It is also important for prospective students to understand that, if they include documentation with their application and are admitted, this does not necessarily mean that they are guaranteed to receive services.  For that, they must go through a separate application process and need to contact the Accessibility Resource Center directly.

2.3 To be eligible for disability-related services, students must have a documented disability or condition as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 2009 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  Under the ADA and Section 504, a person has a disability if that person has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities.

2.4. At UNC-P, DSS is the designated office that obtains and files disability-related documents, certifies eligibility for services, determines reasonable accommodations, and develops plans for the provision of such accommodations.  Reasonable accommodations are provided to ensure access to all courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities at UNC-P, including those that are off-site, such as study abroad, field trips, student teaching, internships and field work.  The Accessibility Resource Center works closely with other departments to provide accommodations in all aspects of campus life.

2.5. DSS provides or arranges a variety of auxiliary services to the UNCP community and visitors, such as sign language interpreting, document conversion, assistive technology, exam modifications and academic assistance.

2.6. Certification and eligibility of services are the sole duty of the Accessibility Resource Center. Staff from the Accessibility Resource Center request disability-related documents from the appropriate licensed professionals to certify students as having a disability and to determine reasonable accommodations.  Professionals providing documentation may not be family members.  The cost of obtaining documentation is the responsibility of the students.  If the initial documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability and reasonable accommodations, the office has the discretion to require additional documentation.  Any cost of obtaining additional documentation is also borne by the student.  This information will help the Accessibility Resource Center provide appropriate academic accommodations and support services.  Students with documented disabilities have the responsibility of contacting the Accessibility Resource Center for an intake interview to assess their needs prior to their first semester at UNCP.  Students are also responsible for identifying themselves and their needs to each instructor at the beginning of the term.  Pending receipt of documentation, the Accessibility Resource Center reserves the right to deny services or accommodations.

2.7. Obtaining academic accommodations is initiated by the student with a disability. UNCP does not identify and contact students with disabilities for services.  It is up to the student to identify as a person with a disability seeking services.

2.8. Procedures for receiving accommodations at UNCP are:

2.8.a. Disabled students who require accommodations must seek assistance at DSS in a timely manner, usually prior to the start of classes or as soon as a disability becomes known.

2.8.b. Disabled students will provide documentation of their disability and how it limits their participation in courses, programs, services, jobs, activities and facilities of UNC-P.

2.8.c.  The Accessibility Resource Center will maintain official documentation of the disability, including information about the manifestations of the disability.

2.8.d. The Accessibility Resource Center will ensure that disability-related documents are kept confidential and shared with UNC-P personnel on a limited and need-to-know basis only.

2.8.e. The Accessibility Resource Center and disabled students will discuss the interaction between the disability and the academic environment and determine the reasonable accommodations.  Consultation with faculty, staff, and outside professionals regarding essential elements and reasonable accommodations will occur in situations that are new, complex or sensitive by permission of the students.

2.8.f. The Accessibility Resource Center will outline the process for the provision of reasonable accommodations and will present this verbally and in writing to the students.  In determining reasonable accommodations the following questions will be answered:

2.8.f.1. What accommodations will be provided;

2.8.f.2. Why will they be provided;

2.8.f.3. When will they be provided;

2.8.f.4.Who is responsible for providing them; and,

2.8.f.5. How will they be provided?

2.9. Standard policies and procedures established by the Accessibility Resource Center, for auxiliary aids and services (e.g., sign language interpreting, document conversion, exam modifications, and academic assistance) will be included in the plans.

2.10.The Accessibility Resource Center will write individualized letters the student with a disability will deliver to faculty members certifying that students have disabilities and stating the determined reasonable accommodations.  The provision of accommodations is often shared among faculty, students, and the DSS office; the letters detail the provisions of recommended accommodations, including:               

2.10.a. Who is responsible for the provision of the accommodations;

2.10.b. When the accommodations will be provided; and,

2.10.c. How they will be provided. 
2.11. The letters also invite faculty to contact the Accessibility Resource Center if there are concerns or questions about the accommodations.  Instructors will be expected to assist with the provision of accommodations when reasonable and necessary.  Instructors are not required to compromise essential elements of the course or evaluation standards.

2.11.a. Letters of Accommodation are provided at the beginning of each new semester.

2.11.b.    Students with disabilities will be responsible for delivering the individualized letters to faculty.

2.11.c. Disabled students will be responsible for contacting the DSS office if reasonable accommodations are not implemented in an effective or timely manner.  The Accessibility Resource Center will work with UNC Pembroke personnel and disabled students to resolve disagreements regarding recommended accommodations.

2.11.d. Students with disabilities who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of their disability may file a grievance with the ADA Coordinator in DF Lowry Room 107.

2.12 Determining Reasonable Accommodations are determined by the office of the Accessibility Resource Center. A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, job, activity, or facility that enables qualified students with disabilities to have an equal opportunity.  An equal opportunity means an opportunity to attain the same level of performance or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges as are available to a similarly situated student without a disability.  UNC-P is obligated to make reasonable accommodation only to the known limitations of otherwise qualified disabled students.  To determine reasonable accommodations, the Accessibility Resource Center may seek information from appropriate UNC-P personnel regarding essential standards for courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities.  Final determination of reasonable accommodations is made by the Accessibility Resource Center.  Reasonable accommodations are determined by examining:

2.12.a. The barriers resulting from the interaction between the documented disability and the campus environment;

2.12.b. The possible accommodations that might remove the barriers;

2.12.c. Whether or not students have access to the course, program, service, job, activity, or facility without accommodations; and

2.12.d. Whether or not essential elements of the course, program, service, job, activity, or facility are compromised by the accommodations.

2.13. Accommodations Letters are written by the Accessibility Resource Center service providers and delivered by students to faculty each semester. The institution is under no obligation to provide accommodations unless students have fulfilled their obligations in the process.

2.13.a. Student Guidelines for Accommodation Letters are  provided to assure timely and reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. In the process of arranging accommodations for classes, students must make an appointment to see the Accessibility Resource Center personnel at the beginning of the semester.  Students should bring copies of their schedules.  Student accommodations will be the same each semester, unless there are changes in the disability or other accommodations are discussed.  If any changes need to be made, these need to be discussed at the time of the appointment. It is recommended that students make an appointment to meet with all of their instructors as soon as possible at the beginning of the semester.

2.13.b. Students should take their letters to these meetings with the instructors. At the meetings, the following should be discussed:

2.13.b.1. The approved accommodations

2.13.b.2. How the accommodations will be carried out

2.13.b.3. Any alternatives that might be considered

2.13.b.4. The students' responsibilities per agreement

2014. If there are any problems in adhering to the accommodations outlined in the letters, the students are expected to notify the Accessibility Resource Center immediately.