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Frequently Asked Questions


Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

According to these laws, no “otherwise” qualified person with a disability shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity of a public entity.

“Qualified,” with respect to post-secondary education, means “a person who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the education program or activity.”

Accommodations are determined on an individual basis, based on each student’s unique needs in relation to his or her disability.

a. Self-identify as a student with a disability.
b. Present appropriate documentation of disability and request accommodations.
c. Send accommodation letters to his/her instructor(s) and set up a time to discuss his/her specific situation with each instructor.
d. Follow ODS’s procedures for accessing and utilizing accommodations. 

a. Inform all students of procedures for accessing accommodations at the beginning of each semester, preferably through a statement in the syllabus.
b. Provide and arrange for accommodations addressed in the accommodation letter in a timely manner.
c. Maintain the same academic and behavior standards for all students.

 i. Accommodations allow the student equal access to the educational  opportunities in your course. If you are concerned that these accommodations might fundamentally alter the requirements of your course in some way, please contact our office as soon as possible. It is important to the Office of Disability Services that the academic integrity of your class is maintained while ensuring equal access to the  student.
ii. Students are encouraged to speak with faculty about their accommodations. Upon their request, please meet with students to ensure there is a clear, mutual understanding of requested accommodations.

d. In compliance with FERPA guidelines, please keep all disability-related information confidential.

Any student who feels he or she may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at 865-974-6087 in 100 Dunford Hall to document his or her eligibility for services. ODS will work with students and faculty to coordinate accommodations for students with
documented disabilities.

Explain to the student that:
a. All students are held to the same standards of academic performance.
b. The issue cannot be discussed further because you must respect the confidentiality of all students.

Please note that you do not need to assist ODS with recruiting a Note Taker solely based on this being an accommodation listed on the Faculty Accommodation Letter.

Students may choose not to use the accommodation even though it has been approved for them. If a student wishes to use the note-taker accommodation in your course, he or she will submit a request to ODS. If needed, ODS will then e-mail you to request that you make an announcement in class, via e-mail, and/or on Blackboard that we are hiring a Note Taker for the course. You may ask any prospective Note Takers to contact ODS directly.

Generally, it is recommended that faculty hold all students to the same standard with respect to class attendance. Please contact ODS if you have questions or concerns about how to appropriately assist a student who has an accommodation indicating that he or she may need to be unexpectedly absent due to disability.

Please note that you do not need to initiate test accommodations solely based on them being listed on the Faculty Accommodation Letter. Students may choose not to utilize the accommodations even though they are approved for them. If students choose to use their testing accommodations, they may make arrangements
with you or schedule their exams with the Testing Center via the student portal on the ODS website at least seven days in advance. An earlier scheduling deadline will apply for final exams, and the date will be communicated each semester.
Once a student schedules to take an exam in ODS, you will receive a notification to review the information and approve the exam. Instructions for providing the exam to ODS are also included.

In an effort to make your courses accessible to individuals with disabilities, please ask publishers whether course materials are available in an accessible format when considering textbook adoption. Students who qualify for printed materials in alternative format must submit their request to ODS as early as possible and
allow at least four weeks for books to arrive. Additionally, students must provide ODS with a copy of their receipt confirming the purchase of their books. ODS is also available to assist faculty with the conversion of printed materials in alternative format (e.g., handouts, PowerPoint) with advance notice.

Faculty are encouraged to make every effort to select media that are accessible to individuals with disabilities (e.g., captioned videos, audio with transcript, video descriptions, etc.). If you need to use media that are not accessible, please contact ODS as soon as possible. Please also note that captioning software is available in the Studio at Hodges Library for faculty who would like to caption their own materials.

For guidance on assisting struggling students, please visit the Teaching Guide
published annually by the Tennessee Teaching and Learning Center and the
Provost’s Office. Please also feel free to contact ODS. We are happy to engage
students in conversation about how to best utilize their accommodations, as well as to connect them to other campus resources.

Upon referral, ODS meets with the student to discuss his or her needs and to provide
information about other campus resources.

Standards of conduct for students are outlined in Hilltopics, The Student Handbook,
published annually by the Office of the Dean of Students. All students should be held to the same standards of conduct. In any case of obstruction or disruption of teaching, you have the right to ask the disruptive student(s) to leave the classroom. In case of an emergency, you may call 865-974-3114 to contact security. Please report such instances to the Dean of Students at 865-974-3179. If a student’s behavior represents an immediate threat, call 911. If the threat is not immediate, but you are concerned the student may harm self or others, please call 865-974-HELP (4357).

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