Accommodations Policy Statement
As an institution devoted to the education of students with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, Landmark College fully supports and recognizes the standards set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and similar state laws (“applicable law”), which are designed to eliminate discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities.
Covered disabilities may include physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or more of a student's major life activities, and which require modifications to the facilities, programs, or services of the College. The College is committed to making the campus and its facilities accessible as required by applicable law. The College cannot make accommodations that are unduly burdensome or that fundamentally alter the nature of the College’s programs.
Given the College’s unique mission, many academic accommodations that might be customary or required at traditional institutions would not be appropriate at Landmark College, because they would alter the College’s academic program. Therefore, while all students are encouraged to make inquiries or requests regarding disability issues through the following procedure as necessary, students should recognize that there is usually no need for them to use the procedure to address learning disability or attention deficit disorder-related issues. Such issues are not ordinarily viewed as within the scope of this policy, because they are addressed with faculty, faculty advisors, or otherwise, as part of the College’s core curriculum and academic and residential programs.
Certification and Accommodation Procedures
All requests for accommodation, inquiries about the scope of this policy, and related procedural questions should be directed to the Vice President for Student Affairs. The Vice President for Student Affairs administers this policy and procedure, and is the College’s designated Section 504 Coordinator. The Vice President for Student Affairs will address accommodation requests through the following two-stage process.
The first step in the process requires that students provide information from which the College can determine whether the student is a person with a disability within the scope of this policy. Such certification is a prerequisite to the reasonable accommodation dialogue described in section I.A.2. below. Students seeking certification must fill out a Special Needs Identification Form and provide the information and documentation requested on the form. The form requests, among other things:
- a description of the impairment, and a description of the manner in which it substantially limits one or more major life activities;
- a description of the specific accommodations requested; and
- documentation consisting of reports and clinical information from objective professionals qualified to diagnose the impairment at issue, verifying the nature and extent of the impairment, and the manner in which the impairment limits a major life activity (see Documentation, below).
The Special Needs Identification Form and documentation should be submitted to the Vice President for Student Affairs as far in advance of the period for which the accommodations are requested as possible. The College may not be able to arrange for accommodations that are not requested in a timely manner.
The Vice President for Student Affairs reviews the Special Needs Identification Form and the accompanying documentation, and pursues one of the following courses of action:
- certifies the student’s eligibility for accommodation under this policy; or
- finds that there is insufficient information to certify the student’s eligibility, and through a written or e-mail communication, either
- denies the student’s request for certification and accommodation and informs the student of the available channels of appeal; or
- requests additional information.
Once a student has been certified as a student with a disability within the scope of this policy and is therefore deemed eligible for accommodation within the scope of this policy, the Vice President for Student Affairs:
- reviews the student’s request for accommodation(s); and
- consults and works with the student and other appropriate members of the College community to formulate and communicate a proposed course of action that would constitute a reasonable accommodation of the student's disability, given the nature and extent of the disability, the student’s compensatory skills, course or program requirements (to the extent applicable, given the scope of this policy and the College’s unique curriculum), and College resources.
In reaching certification and accommodation decisions, the Vice President for Student Affairs may, in his or her discretion, consult discretely and/or confidentially with appropriate professionals within and/or outside the College regarding the interpretation, appropriateness and validity of requests and documentation submitted in connection with this procedure.
Note: The College reserves the right to recommend accommodations that differ from the specific approaches suggested by the student or individuals documenting the student’s disability, so long as the accommodations proposed by the Vice President for Student Affairs achieve the objective of program accessibility as required by law.
Agreed-upon accommodations will be documented in a written accommodations plan that will be signed by the student and the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee. If accommodations are not agreed upon, the Vice President for Student Affairs will provide to the student a written (or e-mail) description of what accommodations were deemed reasonable and offered by the College.
If accommodations acceptable to the student cannot be developed through cooperative dialogue, the student may appeal the decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs through the Appeals Process described in Section III below.
Role of the Student
Landmark College neither imposes accommodations on its students nor pre-empts their responsibilities, as legal and social adults, to identify their special needs within the scope of this policy and to ensure that these needs are being met.
It is the student's responsibility to initiate the certification process described above by:
- Completing the Special Needs Identification Form in a timely manner;
- Ensuring that the Vice President for Student Affairs has received appropriately current, adequate and comprehensive medical and/or psychological documentation of a disability and the manner in which it limits a major life activity relevant to the student’s participation in Landmark’s programs.
A student who has received disability certification must work cooperatively with the Vice President for Student Affairs and other designated staff and faculty to determine and sustain reasonable and appropriate academic accommodations. Once a written accommodation plan has been agreed upon by the student and the Vice President for Student Affairs, the student is responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure that the plan is meeting his or her special needs. Students are therefore responsible for: (1) communicating with faculty; (2) keeping appointments with faculty and designated staff to avoid delays in implementation; and (3) conferring with faculty and the Vice President for Student Affairs as necessary regarding the effectiveness of accommodations.
If a student perceives a need for additional accommodations or for the modification of existing accommodations, the student must request, in writing, a revision of the accommodation plan. Such requests should be addressed to the Vice President for Student Affairs. Providing reasonable accommodations requires timely student input. It may be impossible to arrange accommodations that are not requested in a timely manner.
The College requires appropriately current documentation of any disabilities for which accommodation is requested under this policy, provided at the expense of the student requesting accommodation, prior to making certification or accommodation decisions. Documentation of impairments furnished by the student will be handled discretely, and will only be shared with faculty and faculty advisors in a manner consistent with other College policies and practices and student authorizations regarding student medical or psychoeducational records. Since insufficient information may jeopardize the accommodations process, the College reserves the right to request additional documentation considered necessary to the formulation of a reasonable and appropriate accommodation plan. The cost of obtaining any such additional documentation shall be borne by the student. The College also reserves the right to request an independent evaluation by a professional of its choosing. The cost of obtaining any such independent evaluation shall be borne by the College.
Generally, documentation must:
- be prepared by an objective professional qualified in the diagnosis of such conditions;
- demonstrate the manner in which the impairment substantially limits the student’s performance of one or more major life activities;
- include information regarding the testing procedures followed, the instruments used to assess the impairment, the test results, and a written interpretation of these results as they pertain to an educational environment and/or participation in the College’s programs;
- reflect the student’s present level of functioning in the areas related to the particular accommodations being sought;
- be appropriately recent, e.g., prepared within the last several years before the first request for accommodation.
The Vice President for Student Affairs determines whether the documentation submitted is adequate to support certification or a requested accommodation and whether the individual preparing the documentation is qualified to make the diagnosis at issue.
A student may appeal any decision made under this policy by the Vice President for Student Affairs that is communicated in writing or by e-mail. Appeals may be based upon, for example: newly discovered evidence; a challenge to a decision not to certify a student as a person with a disability within the scope of this policy; a challenge to a decision not to provide a particular accommodation; and/or issues regarding documentation of disabilities.
Any appeal must be submitted to the Office of the President of the College within 10 calendar days of the written (or e-mail) decision appealed. The appeal should state the grounds for the appeal in detail. A copy of the appeal must also be provided to the Vice President for Student Affairs at such time. The President will either decide the appeal personally, or will designate another administrative official to do so. Temporary relief pending appeal, in the form of the accommodations sought or otherwise, may be requested in writing along with the appeal. Such relief may be granted by the President or designated administrative officer, at his or her discretion.
As soon as practicable following receipt of the copy of the appeal from the student, the Vice President for Student Affairs will provide to the President’s Office a copy of the student’s Special Needs Identification Form, attached documentation, and record of other communications with the student or other documents that might be relevant to the appeal. The President or designated official may review such documents in reaching a decision on the appeal.
The President or designated administrative officer may, at his or her discretion: 1) grant the appeal and order that the requested accommodation be provided as requested; 2) propose an alternative accommodation, and remand the matter to the Vice President for Student Affairs so that an accommodation dialogue may be had regarding the proposed alternative (another appeal may follow if that does not resolve the matter); 3) request more information from the student, the Vice President for Student Affairs, and/or other appropriate individuals; 4) deny the appeal, which would be the College’s final decision; or 5) take other action deemed appropriate at the discretion of the President or administrative officer.
Complaints Regarding Disability-Related Harassment and Discrimination
In addition to the above-stated appeals process regarding accommodations decisions, students who feel that they have been harassed or discriminated against on the basis of their disability, in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or other applicable law, may file a formal or informal complaint with the College or otherwise, as described in the harassment policy found elsewhere in the Student Handbook.
Assistance for Students with Temporary Impairments
While not required by applicable law or this policy, the Vice President for Student Affairs may be able to arrange limited assistance for temporarily impaired students at the discretion of the Vice President for Student Affairs and other College offices or programs. It must be understood that the Vice President for Student Affairs’ voluntarily providing or arranging such help does not mean the temporarily injured or impaired student qualifies or is certified as an individual with a disability under applicable law or within the scope of this policy. If you have questions about what assistance the College may be able to provide in the event of a temporary impairment, you should contact the Vice President for Student Affairs.
Service & Assistance Animals
A Service Animal is defined as any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Under specific circumstances, the College may allow the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition.
The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.
The crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA or this policy.
Individuals with disabilities will be permitted to be accompanied by their service animals in all areas of College facilities where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities, or invitees, as relevant, are allowed to go.
Service animals need not have special certification or identification in order to qualify as such. They need only be required because of a disability and to be trained to work or perform a task. If it is not readily apparent what work an animal performs, Landmark personnel will limit inquiries to only two questions, which are:
- Is this animal a service animal required because of a disability?
- What task or work has this animal been trained to perform?
Students who plan to bring a service animal to campus are encouraged to provide the College with enough advanced notice as possible to allow for appropriate and compatible housing assignments.
According to current regulations as interpreted by the federal United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Landmark College residence halls fall under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Under the FHA, the College is required to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities living in residence halls. Assistance animals are considered a reasonable accommodation under the FHA.
Assistance Animals are defined as an animal (not limited to dogs) that is necessary to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling and provides identifiable support or assistance that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability.
Because assistance animals that do not qualify as service animals are covered only by the FHA, they are allowed only in residence halls on campus and only in the room of the student who has been approved for this accommodation. They will be allowed in outdoor spaces only under proper handling when appropriate, but they are not allowed in other buildings on campus or in residence hall common spaces.
Requesting Permission to Use Assistance Animals
Because housing assignments with assistance animals requires extra care and planning when determining appropriate placement and roommate matches, the College requires as much advance notice as possible to allow for this accommodation. The College will attempt to honor all appropriately-supported requests, but may not be able to do so if allowing the accommodation would cause an unreasonable hardship, threat, or impact on other students or any program.
In order to request permission to use an assistance animal, a student must initiate the accommodation process through the Vice President for Student Affairs by:
- Completing a Special Needs Identification Form and
- Providing supporting documentation of their disability and of their need for an assistance animal. Generally, such documentation must:
- be prepared by an objective professional qualified in the diagnosis of such conditions;
- include information regarding the testing procedures followed, the instruments used to assess the disability, the test results, and a written interpretation of these results as they pertain to the need for an assistance animal
- reflect the student’s present level of functioning in the area related to the request for an assistance animal
- be appropriately recent, e.g., prepared within the last several years before the first request for accommodation.
As noted above, documentation should be submitted to the Vice President for Student Affairs as far in advance of the period for which the accommodations are requested as possible. The College may not be able to arrange for accommodations that are not requested in a timely manner.
A full description of documentation requirements may be found in the College’s general Accommodations Policy found in the Student Handbook.
Any person dissatisfied by a decision concerning a service animal or an assistance animal may appeal the decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs by submitting a letter of appeal to the Office of the President of the College within 10 calendar days of the written (or e-mail) decision appealed.
A full description of the appeals process may be found in the College’s general Accommodations Policy found in the Student Handbook.
Service & Assistance Animal Care, Supervision & Control
Unless they are in a Residence Hall room, animals must be accompanied by their owners/handlers and under their control at all times. Owners/handlers are responsible for their animal’s behavior in both public and private areas, and they must ensure their animals are harnessed or on a leash at all times.
Owners/handlers are responsible for cleaning and grooming related to their animal including bathing and grooming, pest control, and sanitary disposal of animal waste.
The owner/handler is responsible for any property damage caused by their animal.
To the extent possible, the animal should be unobtrusive to other individuals and the learning, living, and working environment.
The animal must be licensed and vaccinated in accordance with Vermont state, county, and/or municipal laws. The vaccination tag and license must be worn by the animal at all times. When wearing such an item is not practical, then the information must be made readily available upon request.
Exclusion of Service or Assistance Animals
Landmark College reserves the right to exclude a Service or Assistance animal under certain circumstances, including, but not limited to the following:
- The animal is out of control and the animal's handler does not take effective action to control it.
- The animal is not housebroken.
- When the animal poses a substantial and direct threat to health or safety (examples include a very ill animal, a substantial lack of cleanliness of the animal, aggressive behavior of the animal, or the presence of an animal in a sensitive area like a medical facility, laboratories, or mechanical or industrial areas).
- When the presence of the animal constitutes a fundamental alteration to the nature of the program or service.
- If the College determines that the animal is being subjected to neglect or mistreatment.
Landmark College will make those determinations on a case-by-case basis.