VII. Emergency Procedures
VIII. Grievance Procedures
Texas A&M International University is dedicated to serving its students with disabilities. Students who report experiencing impaired major life activities i.e. physical, cognitive, or psychological disabilities are entitled to receive appropriate services through the Office of Disability Student Services (DSS). Federal law requires colleges and universities to make reasonable accommodations to meet the needs of students with disabilities; and provide students with disabilities equal access to the benefits of the colleges’ or universities’ education, programs, and activities.
Students with disabilities at Texas A&M International University are expected to meet the University’s qualifications as well as essential technical, academic, and institutional standards. It is the responsibility of the student with a disability to initiate and follow-up in a timely manner the process to receive accommodations by first identifying him/herself as well as to include his/her disability-related needs with the Office of Disability Student Services.
This document was planned to explain the policies and procedures of the Office of Disability Student Services in an effort to help students understand how to obtain accommodations for their disabilities. The policies and procedure adopted by the DSS office are in accordance with the professional best standards recommended by the Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, the American’s with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the American’s with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008.
Please note that these policies and procedures are not contractual in nature and thus are subject to change with reasonable notice provided to students.
To be found eligible to receive services through Disability Services for Students (DSS), students with permanent disabilities: 1.) must be qualified under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 1973, the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) of 1990 and Amendments Act of 2008; 2.) must self-identify with the DSS office; and 3.) must present appropriate, comprehensive and current documentation regarding their stated disabilities. Once all of these requirements have been met, reasonable accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis by DSS in a meeting held with the student.
A. The student must be a qualified individual with a disability under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Federal Register, Vol. 45, No. 92, pp. 3093730944).,
(b) has a record of such impairment;
(c) is regarded as having such an impairment
2. The student must currently have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
(a). Physical impairments-any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitor-urinary, hemic, lymphatic, skin, endocrine or respiratory (including speech organs).
(b). Mental impairments-psychiatric/psychological, cognitive, and learning disorders meeting DSM-IV diagnostic criteria.
(c). Major life activities-functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. A major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, learning and working.
(d). Substantially limits indicates that the impairment prohibits or significantly restricts an individual’s ability to perform a major life activity as compared to the ability of the average person.
B. Title II of ADA of 1990, states that: “No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States …shall, solely by reason of disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
C. To be eligible for services, the student must self-identify and complete the intake process with DSS. To be able to receive accommodations, the student must have comprehensive and current documentation about his/her disability.
1. Self-Identification: To self-identify, the student must complete an intake interview with the Disability Services for Students (DSS) Coordinator and sign all necessary and appropriate accommodation agreements, releases of information and other required forms. (a) Students must self-identify as soon as the decision has been made to attend Texas A&M International University. Students should make an appointment for an intake interview as soon as they are accepted into TAMIU and have made the decision to attend the university. (b) Once accepted by TAMIU, students should notify the DSS Coordinator immediately if interpreter services or special equipment is needed. To provide the most efficient services, a one-month notice is highly recommended. In many cases, the cost of interpreter services is shared between the university and the regional vocational rehabilitation (VR) commission. Therefore, the student must contact his/her VR counselor to determine if a special contract will be needed.
2. Documentation of a student’s disability (ies) must be provided by a qualified licensed professional. These professional may include medical doctors, psychologists, diagnosticians and psychiatrists. Please see following page for documentation requirements.
A. General Documentation Guidelines: allows for consistency and compliance with federal statutes, to legitimize a student's request for accommodations, to assist in the determination of appropriate accommodations for the student, and to personalize the student's right to equal access to the university.
a. identify the nature and extent of the disability;
b. include information regarding the functional limitations as related to the academic environment;
c. provide a description of the current course of treatment including medical side effects and prognosis for the disability; and
d. include a recommendation for reasonable accommodations.
2. Documentation must indicate the current status of the disability. For most disabling conditions, documentation is considered current within a period of 3-5 years. This time period varies depend upon the nature and course of a student’s particular disability. DSS may request periodic updates regarding a student’s functional limitations due to his/her disability (ies). For psychiatric disabilities, a report should not be older than-9 months.
3. Documentation of the disability must be from a licensed professional qualified to make the diagnosis. The documentation must contain the evaluator’s name, address, telephone number and professional credentials relevant to the diagnosis, and must be completed on official letterhead stationery, dated and signed. The evaluator may also use the Specialist form provided by the DSS office.
a. Documentation of Medical Conditions: Students whose disabilities are medical conditions must present documentation from a medical professional that is qualified to diagnose the specific medical condition. If a student has multiple conditions, each condition for which the student is seeking academic accommodations must be documented. The documentation must sufficiently indicate the functional limitations of the disability to determine and support appropriate accommodations.
b. Documentation of Psychiatric/Psychological Conditions: Students with psychiatric, psychological, cognitive and learning impairments must present a comprehensive psychological evaluation using DSM 5 diagnostic criteria. This report must provide sufficient indication of the functional limitations posed by the disability to determine appropriate academic accommodation(s). The DSS Coordinator will review the
documentation to make a determination if the information is sufficient to support the accommodations requested by the student.
4. Texas A&M International University reserves the right to make a determination on the appropriateness of submitted documentation and requests for accommodation(s) on a case-by-case situation. Additional information may be requested to determine eligibility for DSS services. Documentation acceptable for other agencies and institutions (e.g., vocational rehabilitation agencies, public schools) may not be sufficient for determining post-secondary services. Generally, an Individualized Educational Plan, 504 Plan, or (Summary of Performance) SOP from a secondary school does not show comprehensive information for the documentation of disability and needed accommodations in the postsecondary setting.
B. Assistance and Referral to Obtain Documentation: To be eligible for services, the student must present appropriate documentation from a professional who is qualified to give a diagnosis of his/her disability (ies). The student may be referred for additional documentation if the documentation initially provided is not sufficient. In such cases, a student providing documentation showing good evidence of a disability will receive DSS services for one semester on a provisional basis to allow for referral, funding and processing time. TAMIU is not required to provide assessment of disabilities or related expenditures for these assessments.
A. Determination of accommodations:
B. Verification fo Disability Letters
A. Student Rights of Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure: In order to receive disability related services, the student must provide documentation to the individual assigned by Texas A&M International University. The Disability Services for Students Coordinator with the DSS office is given the responsibility for collecting and holding this documentation. All records will be kept in a secure file with limited access. In general, faculty or staff is only provided the information that a student has a documented disability and a need for accommodation(s). "The U.S. Department of Justice has indicated that a faculty or staff member generally does not have a need to know what the disability is, only that it has been appropriately verified by the individual (or office) assigned this responsibility on behalf of the institution and that other individuals at the university would have no legal right to demand access to the actual documentation including testing scores, dates or names of professionals providing such documentation." (Confidentiality & Disability Issues in Higher Education, AHEAD. 1996). The student is protected by law from disclosure of confidential information to other university personnel or external parties, unless prescribed by law or the situation warrants a justifiable “need to know."
B. “Need to Know” Basis for Release of Documentation Information: The person(s) to whom information would be released is dependent upon a justifiable need to know. Generally, the “need to know” is very limited, unless proscribed by law. Some common needs may be: requests for a course substitution, safety for the student's health or emergency evacuation purposes, special circumstances in campus housing, grievance procedures, and special financial aid considerations.
C. Procedures for Release of Information: The student must sign a release for interdepartmental requests for copies of documentation. If a student requests a copy of his/her documentation, he/she must sign a written request, discuss his/her rights of non-disclosure and review the documentation with the Disability Services Coordinator; the Disability Services Coordinator may remove any non-pertinent information before copies are released. If the documentation was received from a vocational rehabilitation agency, the student will be referred to them for copies.
D. Exceptions to confidentiality protections would include child abuse (of which reporting is mandatory in most states), suicide or homicidal intent. Confidentiality is not maintained in the case of child abuse, suicidal or homicidal intent. DSS will work with the Student Counseling Services and the University Police Department in the event that student expresses an action or intent to harm self or others.
A. Meet with the Disability Services Coordinator each semester (including summer sessions). Meeting with the Disability Services Coordinator is important as records are updated if needed, and it allows the DSS office to be informed of a student’s intent to use DSS services for the semester. During this meeting, the DSS Coordinator and student will review and update records, forms, Faculty Memorandum letters, etc.
B. Early enrollment is essential. DSS students are encouraged to enroll early for classes before desired classes are filled. This will require meeting with advisors early.
C. Requests for Assistive & Adaptive Equipment. Students need to inform the DSS office early if assistive equipment is needed. It may take 2-4 weeks for processing such requests.
D. Deliver verification of disability letters to your professors. DSS students are encouraged to speak with their professors about the types of accommodations needed in the classroom. Students will need to discuss with professors how examination accommodations will be provided (i.e., by DSS staff).
E. Follow Testing Accommodations procedures. Students are expected to follow the procedures outlined in the Testing Accommodations Procedure. When exams or quizzes are to be administered by DSS, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the DSS office and schedule the test in person. Exams must be taken during the regular class time unless alternative time is approved by the Disability Services Coordinator and the professor. Exams must be scheduled at least 48 hours in advance to ensure adequate accommodations. The DSS office is open Monday and Tuesday from 8:00am-5:00pm; Wednesday and Thursday from 8:00am-7:00pm and Friday from 8:00am-3:00pm. Regular business hours are subject to change due to holidays, and summer schedules.
F. Report needs and problems as they arise. In the event that initial accommodations do not meet a student's needs or the student experienced of academic related concerns due to the specific requirements of a course, it is the student's responsibility to contact the DSS Coordinator to determine other options.
G. Understand and follow all procedures. Students will keep a copy of the Faculty Memorandum letters and other agreement forms from the DSS office, and are encouraged to refer to them each semester. Students are responsible for following all DSS policies and procedures and for reporting any need for clarifications or changes of agreements with the DSS office.
H. Class Attendance. Class attendance policies are determined by each instructor. If a student has chronic health or other disability-related problems that may cause him/her to miss classes, he/she should discuss attendance requirements and options with all professors and the DSS Coordinator as early as possible (preferably before enrollment). The use of a note taker does not excuse a student from attending class. Please see Texas A&M International University Attendance Rules regarding its policy on absences.
I. Follow the Student Code of Conduct. Having a documented disability does not excuse a student from following any Texas A&M International University rule, policy or procedure. The Student Classroom Conduct is available on the TAMIU web page under Current Students, “Student Handbook.”
J. Referrals by DSS office. Students are expected to follow-up on all referrals as soon as possible if requested by the student; DSS Coordinator can make appointment with referral source. If a referral does not meet the student’s needs, the student should contact the Disability Services Coordinator as soon as possible to discuss other possible options that may be of assistance.
K. Tutoring Support. The DSS office does not provide tutoring services. However, tutoring services are available to all students through The Learning Center, The Writing Center, and/or TRIO located at the Billy Cowart Hall.
L. Scheduling Appointments with the office of DSS. Students should schedule appointments or call in advance to see the Disability Services Coordinator or to ask for staff assistance. In the case of an emergency, students should contact the DSS office as soon as possible.
A. Campus emergency assistance: University Police are the first responders on campus for all emergencies. Emergency assistance may be obtained 24 hours a day by contacting University Police at 326-2911.
B. Medical emergencies: As first responders, University Police will provide initial assessment and contact other emergency personnel as needed. The Student Health Services trained personnel may also be contacted to respond during medical emergencies.
C. Procedures for Emergency Evacuation of Buildings:
B. Texas A&M International University has general grievance procedures that pertain to all students. These procedures can be found in the Student Handbook.
C. There are also two additional grievance procedures established specifically for students with disabilities who feel their rights have been violated under the Rehabilitation Act of 1974 or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 Amendments Act of 2008.
(1) The first procedure (Informal Grievance Procedure) is recommended for resolving disability-related conflicts with faculty, staff, campus organizations and/or other students.
(a) A student is encouraged to discuss his/her concerns with the Disability Services Coordinator who will contact the parties involved, as appropriate, to determine resolution. For instance, the DSS Coordinator may attempt to resolve the matter by assisting the student in discussing issues with a faculty member, by facilitating a meeting of the parties involved, or by calling the faculty member and/or head of the department in an effort to clarify and resolve issues. The student and other involved parties will be notified by the DSS office of the resolution of the matter within 10 business days. Due to the urgency of many issues, it is likely that many problems will be resolved much sooner.
(b) A student may take further action if he/she does not believe a satisfactory resolution was reached after intervention by the DSS Coordinator. Students should notify the Dean of the appropriate College with disability-related academic concerns and the Dean of Student Success for disability-related nonacademic concerns
(2) The second procedure is recommended for resolving conflicts with the office of DSS.
(a) When a student has a complaint against the Office of Disability Services for Students and/or one of its staff members, the student should first discuss the complaint with the DSS Coordinator. The issue may be resolved at this level.
(b) If the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved or for a specific reason cannot be discussed with the DSS Coordinator, the student should contact the Dean of Student Success to discuss the issue further and try to resolve the issue. After the matter has been investigated, the Dean of Student Success will inform the student and the involved parties of the progress, findings or resolution within 10 business days. A student has the right to bypass the DSS office and go directly to the Dean of Student Success.
(3) If after utilizing these procedures a satisfactory resolution is still not obtained, the student may choose to file a complaint with the Federal Office of Civil Rights. The Office of Civil Rights will take complaints and investigate when appropriate.
Student Counseling and Disability Services
Student Center 128
Phone: (956) 326-2230
Fax: (956) 326-2231