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When Are Accommodations Not Provided?

The University provides accommodations unless they fall under one of the following three categories:

Fundamental Alteration

If an accommodation reduces the academic standards of the University, its colleges, its departments, or its courses, the University denies the accommodation and deems it unreasonable. Academic standards are essential for any student. Determination of a fundamental alteration is made by Accessibility Resource Center after discussion with faculty on the essential components of the course or major. Students with disabilities must acquire the same knowledge and skills as other students.

Undue Hardship

If an accommodation costs too much or is impossible to administer, the accommodation is deemed unreasonable. An undue administrative burden occurs when the University doesn't have enough time to respond to the request, or when it would be impossible or unfeasible to administer. In every instance, the University reserves the right to offer other, equally effective accommodations. In twenty years of case law and findings under Section 504 and the ADA, the federal government has never allowed a post-secondary institution to claim undue financial hardship as a legitimate refusal to provide auxiliary aids or services.

Personal Service

If a request for an accommodation falls under the definition of a "personal service," the University is not responsible for providing the request. Personal services are those that a person with a disability must use, regardless of attendance at the University. In addition, personal services are those for which no correlation between the disability's functional limitation and program access can be established. The University, for instance, does not purchase wheelchairs or other assistive technologies used in every setting to compensate for a mobility disability. Other examples of personal services may include independent living, mental health, rehabilitation, remediation, and homework assistance.

Process regarding denial or failure to accommodate during an academic semester:

  • Student submits appeal to academic department
  • If resolution does not occur:
    • Appeal to Provost/HSC designee
    • Ad hoc committee of 3-5 members is convened
  • Student may also submit a discrimination claim to the Office of Equal Opportunity

Please see UNM Policy 2310, Exhibit A  for a full text of the appeal process.

Grade appeal involving failure to accommodate after academic semester:

  • Upon receipt of a grade appeal from a student which asserts a failure to accommodate, the academic unit can request guidance from ARC and/or OEO to verify whether a failure to accommodate occurred.
  • If it is determined that a failure to accommodate occurred, the academic unit shall take such fact into consideration to equitably resolve the grade appeal. Further, the student may simultaneously pursue a claim with Office of Equal Opportunity pursuant to its Discrimination Claims Procedure.