Frequently Asked Faculty Questions
Q: Who is a person with a disability?
A: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act define a person with a disability as someone who: a) has a physical and/or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; b) has a record of such an impairment; or c) is regarded as having such an impairment. Major life activities include, but are not limited to: performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, and learning. A person may have a visible disability (e.g.: a person who is blind, Deaf, or a wheelchair-user) or a hidden disability (e.g.: a person who has a learning disorder, psychological disorder, or some type of chronic health impairment, such as epilepsy, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, cardiac problems, or HIV/AIDS).
Q: Am I legally required to honor a student’s request for accommodations if s/he presents official paperwork to me from the SAS office?
A: The ADA and the Rehabilitation Act protect Trinity students with disabilities from discrimination at the post-secondary level. These laws function together to guarantee both physical and programmatic access to Trinity classes and events. The University is required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals. The accommodations outlined in the accommodation letter have been negotiated between the student and the SAS Coordinator. If you believe the requested accommodations are unreasonable for your class, please contact the SAS Coordinator to discuss your concerns.
Q: I have a student in a class who claims to have a disability and has requested accommodations. I have not received official paperwork documenting that s/he is registered with SAS. Do I need to accommodate?
A: Without an official notice from the SAS office, you are not required legally to accommodate the student. First, ask the student if s/he has registered with SAS. If the student has not done so, refer the student to SAS to follow the appropriate procedures. Even if the student claims to already be registered with SAS, s/he must present you with the appropriate notification. Until you receive this notification, it is not appropriate to provide the requested accommodations.
Q: What is my role in accommodating students who request note takers?
A: Trinity recruits fellow classmates as note takers. The request for note takers is included in the accommodation letter from SAS. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to make the class aware of the opportunity and to refer them to SAS. It is the responsibility of SAS to select the actual note taker. The letter includes a general announcement that you may read to the class, send via e-mail, or post on Blackboard to alert the class to the opportunity. There are also copies of application instructions for interested students. These can also be sent via e-mail or posted online. Interested students should come to SAS to apply, and the SAS Coordinator will select the most qualified student. If there are no students who apply in a timely manner, the SAS Coordinator will contact you to remind the class of the opportunity again.
Q: I have a student who has requested an accommodation for exams (extra time, separate location, etc.). How do I arrange for these accommodations?
A: Students who request testing accommodations for exams are instructed to maintain good communication with each professor. Extra time may entail the student beginning the exam before class, finishing the exam after class, or completing the exam at a different time altogether. This is to be negotiated between the student and the professor. The student must make the request in a timely manner (generally at least two days in advance). Students understand that next-day or same-day requests may or may not be honored.
Trinity does not have a designated testing center on campus for students with disabilities, but normally professors have been successful in determining an alternate location. Possibilities include a departmental seminar room, conference room, or an empty classroom. The Honor Code allows for greater flexibility in testing accommodations, as professors may decide to allow students to take exams without a proctor or in locations outside of the department.
If a student needs a scribe for an exam, SAS can assist with these arrangements. If you are having difficulty making alternate testing arrangements, please contact the SAS Coordinator.
Q: Should I evaluate students with disabilities any differently than I do the rest of the class?
A: All students, including those with disabilities, should be evaluated at the same level. The requested accommodations are not in place to give the student an extra advantage or to raise or lower academic expectations. Accommodations are designed to “level the playing field” and compensate for any deficits to the educational environment experienced by the student. Accommodations may present an alternative manner in which a student participates in your class or gains access to information.
Q: Does Trinity offer on-campus testing to diagnose learning disorders, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), or psychological disorders?
A: No. Trinity does not offer diagnostic testing. However, SAS does have screening tools available to students who have concerns about AD/HD. SAS also has a list of off-campus diagnosticians to whom we frequently refer students for professional assessment.
Q: How does Trinity accommodate students with temporary impairments (broken legs, hands, etc.)?
A: Temporary conditions are not legally covered under the federal laws. However, SAS will work with students to ensure that the campus is accessible as possible. Students with mobility concerns may work with off-campus vendors to rent a golf cart or scooter to maneuver around campus. The Department of Campus Safety and SAS are not equipped to transport students to and from class. Students with temporary writing difficulties may work with SAS and their professors to ensure that they still receive class notes and are able to complete tests and quizzes.