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Legal Guidelines

Saginaw Valley State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for higher education to academically qualified students without regard to disability. Federal and state laws prohibit  discrimination on the basis of disability.  "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity" (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act).

The Americans with Disability Act of 1990, (ADA) requires faculty to take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that communications with students with disabilities are as effective as communications with others. Universal Design of Instruction is the best way to ensure inclusion in your course.  If Universal Design is not available, SVSU will provide auxiliary aids and services to qualified students with documented disabilities. Providing these services is a cooperative effort between SVSU faculty and the Office of Disability Services. These aids and services may include large print, tape recording lectures, alternative testing, note takers, assistive listening devices, braille, captioned videos or sign language interpreters.

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAAA) broaden the definition of disability.  It also increased the liability of the university and the responsibility of faculty to appropriately respond to students who self disclose a disability.  The appropriate response is to refer students to Disability Services.

On May 26, 2011, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued a binding policy statement in the form of Frequently Asked Questions to a Dear Colleague Letter (June 29, 2010) regarding emerging technology and equal access in the classroom.  Included in the document is a mandate to make all course work accessible at all times:  "faculty have a continuing obligation to comply with these laws...even if no students with disabilities have signed up for the course."  The new guidelines also mandate that all programs and activities will be fully accessible or equally effective and equally integrated.

Here is a link to the letter:

For questions on guidelines, contact the Director of Disability Services.

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