Disability Accommodation Policies

Student Disability Accommodation Policy

Policy Overview

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for qualified students with documented disabilities to ensure that its programs, activities, and services are accessible and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992 (ADA; including changes made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. MICA offers services to students with documented disabilities to the extent that it is reasonably able to do so without enduring an undue hardship on the operation of the College’s programs. This policy applies to every aspect of the College’s operations, including but not limited to admissions, academic requirements, financial aid, housing, or any other College-administered program or service.

It is the responsibility of students with disabilities to identify themselves (self-identify) to the Director, Accessibility & Disability Services in the Office of Accessibility & Disability Services (ADS). No accommodations will be made that fundamentally alter the content, nature, or requirements of a program or course. Given the complexities of disabilities, reasonable accommodations are determined on an individual basis using the interactive process.

Definitions

  1. Disability is a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities.
  2. Qualified student is a person who, with or without reasonable accommodations, meets the academic and technical standards for admission to or participation in an educational program, activity, or service. 
  3. An otherwise qualified student with a disability is defined as any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such impairment as defined by law and who meets the academic, technical and behavioral standards requisite to admission and participation in the College’s educational programs and activities.
  4. An accommodation is any reasonable modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, activity, or facility required for a student, by virtue of the specific functional limitations of a disability, to have equal access to MICA’s programs and activities, inside or outside the classroom. An accommodation does not fundamentally alter curricular requirements, the essential learning goals and outcomes of a course, and/or the nature of a service or program. In the case of academic classes, the accommodation cannot be so significant that it alters or substantially modifies the essential nature or standards of the course as determined by MICA. 

Policies and Procedures

A. Verification of Disability

The student has an obligation to self-identify and to provide appropriate, relevant, and verifiable documentation in a timely fashion to the Director, Accessibility & Disability Services. The documentation required by the College may vary according to the type of disability. Documentation guidelines and requirements for specific diagnoses are available from the Office of Accessibility & Disability Services. The Director, Accessibility & Disability Services reserves the right to determine eligibility for services based on the submitted documentation. Further, the College reserves the right to request additional documentation in order to consider any accommodation request. All documentation is kept strictly confidential, as required by law. Documentation must be written on the provider’s official letterhead and include a date and provider’s signature. Complete documentation must include all aspects of the following:

1. The credentials of the evaluator(s).

2. A diagnostic statement identifying the disability.

3. A description of the diagnostic methodology used.

4. A description of the current functional limitations.

5. A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability.

6. A description of current and past accommodations, services, and/or medications.

7. Recommendations for accommodations based on current functional limitations. 

B. Exclusions

Under Section 504, personal attendants, individually prescribed devices such as wheelchairs, readers for personal use or study, or other devices or services of a personal nature are excluded as mandated academic adjustments. Personal needs that necessitate an attendant are the responsibility of the student. Requesting such services from untrained individuals can pose a safety threat to both the student with a disability and the individual providing the assistance. The student is wholly responsible for the person(s) the student retains to provide such services. The College shall not participate in the selection or retention of such individuals or assume the liability of any risk involved.

C. Requesting Accommodations

The Office of Accessibility & Disability Services (ADS) will make every effort to assist students in implementing approved accommodations in a timely manner. ADS requests that students contact ADS as soon as possible so that they may begin the application process. The student must meet with staff from ADS in order to request and implement services. 

In order to receive accommodations in the classroom, in MICA housing, or elsewhere on campus, students must follow the procedures outlined below:

1. The student must self-identify to the Office of Accessibility & Disability Services. Parents and faculty members may not initiate disability support. In the college setting, the student determines whether or not to disclose a disability, request accommodations, and utilize services from Accessibility & Disability Services. 

2. Students requesting accommodations are required to complete an online application form. Students must also submit appropriate documentation with their application. Students should review MICA’s Documentation Guidelines and provide a copy to their provider as necessary. 

3. The Director of Accessibility & Disability Services will normally conduct an initial review of the documentation within two (2) business weeks after a student has submitted a complete application. MICA reserves the right to request additional documentation if documentation is not current or comprehensive. Documentation must focus on a student’s current level of functioning. In some cases, MICA may require an updated evaluation (the student will be responsible for the cost) in order to assess a student’s current functional limitations. 

4. Once documentation has been reviewed, the student will be required to meet with Accessibility & Disability Services staff for an intake appointment. At this meeting, any approved accommodations and their implementation will be discussed. Reasonable accommodations are implemented to provide students with equal access; they do not necessarily ensure success. 

5. Students should be aware that accommodations will not be implemented retroactively. 

Student Responsibilities

1. Students must self-identify and disclose disability-related information to the Office of Accessibility & Disability Services. 

2. Students must renew requests for accommodation memos to be sent to their faculty members each semester. Accessibility & Disability Services will contact students via email prior to the start of each semester to remind them to complete this step. 

3. Students whose accommodations may require renewal of documentation, must submit documentation in a timely manner so that accommodations may be implemented appropriately. 

4. Students will initiate requests for disability support in a timely manner. Current students should submit all requests within the first three weeks of an academic semester. Requests submitted after the third week or without sufficient documentation may result in a delayed action. 

5. Students must notify the Director, Accessibility & Disability Services immediately if the student believes the approved accommodations are not being properly implemented.

6. Requests for housing related accommodations should generally be made within the time limits established by Residence Life. Current students are strongly encouraged to submit all housing related accommodations no later than mid-February for the following academic year. New freshmen or transfer students should request disability accommodations prior to matriculation; students are advised to submit requests no later than July 1 to ensure that the review process is completed prior to their arrival. Requests submitted late may result in a delayed action. 

Appeals Procedure

A student who disagrees with the decision of ADS staff or seeks clarification of the decision may within 5 business days of the decision request a meeting with the Director, Accessibility & Disability Services, to discuss. The following steps will be taken during the course of the investigation:

1. The Director will meet with the concerned individual as soon as practical in an attempt to resolve the complaint. If the complaint is not resolved at this level, or if the complaint includes the Director of ADS, the student may file an appeal in writing to the Assistant Vice President (AVP) of Health and Wellness within 5 business days. 

2. The AVP of Health and Wellness will consider the matter based on the student’s statement and ADS records of the accommodation(s) request. Following reconsideration, the AVP of health and Wellness will notify the student in writing of any change in decision, generally within 5 business days of receiving the formal request for reconsideration.

3. Thereafter, if the student still disagrees with the decision, the student may appeal the decision, in writing, to the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students within 5 business days of the written reconsideration notification from the AVP Of Health and Wellness. The written appeal must explain in the student’s own words and in sufficient detail why the student disagrees with the decision. The Vice President of Student Affairs will review the appeal, the reconsideration decision and all support documentation, meet with the AVP of Health and Wellness, ADS staff and the student as necessary; and may obtain any additional information deemed relevant. The Vice President of Student Affairs will render a decision to the student as soon as possible but generally within 5 business days of receiving the appeal. 

4. The decision of the Vice President of Student Affair is final. 

Complaint and Grievances

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA/ADAAA) and MICA policies and procedures prohibit discrimination on the basic of disability. Students who believe they have been discriminated against because of their disability, or who have a complaint regarding disability accommodations or services, should email the Director, Accessibility & Disability Services. 

MICA is committed to ensuring that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination due to his/her/their disability. Any MICA student who believes that he/she/they has been discriminated against on the basis of disability or who has been denied access or accommodations required by law, may file an appeal through MICA’s Director of Equity Compliance, Andrea Neal.