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Information for Faculty

Below, you will find important details for faculty when the need to provide accommodations for a student arises.

Faculty Responsibilities

In terms of providing accommodations a student with a documented disability, faculty are responsible for:

  • Being open to accommodating students
  • Providing program access
  • Meeting with students to discuss their needs
  • Implementing reasonable accommodations
  • Maintaining confidentiality

All faculty members are obligated to help provide accommodations as described in each accommodation letter. Any questions regarding an accommodation, or concerns about an accommodation fundamentally altering the academic curriculum, should be discussed with the student and disability specialist. All parties will engage in an interactive process to determine if a request is reasonable and ensure that equal access is maintained.

Please read the Division for Equity & Inclusion guidelines on disability etiquette.

When an instructor disagrees with a recommended accommodation the procedure is:

  • Notify ARC and discuss why you do not consider the accommodation reasonable.
  • ARC and instructor may reach agreement on recommended or alternative accommodation.

If agreement is not reached-

  • Accommodation is implemented.
  • ARC initiates assisted dialogue with the Office of Equal Opportunity Office (OEO) and University ADA Compliance officer.
  • Director of OEO makes final determination on reasonableness of recommended accommodation.

Student may seek action through Exhibit A appeal process found in Policy 2310 at any time.

Informal options include the following:
  • Clarifying the student's rights in the situation and coaching them about how to best discuss the accommodations further with their instructor.
  • The Accessibility Resource Center staff may phone the instructor to further clarify the issue and to ensure that he or she understands the student's civil rights.
  • The student and the Accessibility Resource Center staff meet with instructor. The student may contact the chair or dean for assistance with the situation.

In most instances, the academic adjustment determination made by the Accessibility Resource Center will be acceptable to the student and faculty. If this is not the case, the determination is subject to appeal. The student can appeal if an academic unit had determined that an adjustment would result in a fundamental alteration of a course or program. The Provost/HSC Dean or designee will convene an ad hoc committee to consider the appeal. Members of the ad hoc committee will include representatives from relevant University departments and will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The ad hoc committee will follow appeal procedures listed in Exhibit A (appendix ii). The ad hoc committee will make a recommendation to the Provost/HSC Dean or designee. The Provost/HSC Dean or designee’s decision on the appeal is final. Every effort will be made to come to a decision about the appeal as soon as possible.

The student may wish to file a formal, internal complaint with the OEO/ADA Compliance office on campus. This review process will attempt to determine if discrimination on the basis of disability has occurred, and recommend resolution.

The student also has the right to file formal complaints with either the New Mexico Human Rights Commission or with the U.S. Dept. of Education's Office of Civil Rights. This process takes longer for resolution, but carries with it greater consequences for the University in the event of adverse findings. Additionally, the student has the right to file a lawsuit alleging that the University, individual faculty member, or the administration violated their legal rights.

How to Refer for Services

Faculty may refer students requesting accommodations due to a disability to ARC when no prior notification was received. Students requesting services should ARC and schedule an appointment as soon as they are admitted to the University of New Mexico. All applicants must submit documentation that verifies that they have a disabling condition before services can be initiated. The Accessibility Resource Center must be provided with documentation from a qualified medical and/or mental health professional or diagnostician.

According to the criteria stated in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act (ADAAA), and UNM Policy 2310 Academic Adjustments for Students with Disabilities, professional evaluations are the only acceptable proof of a disabling condition. Students must also demonstrate that their need for academic adjustments or other reasonable accommodation is based solely on their permanent disability.

After a student submits their documentation, the Accessibility Resource Center Documentation Committee will meet to determine eligibility as well as appropriate and reasonable accommodations. Before services begin, an eligibility agreement must be completed by the student and an ARC staff member. Students need to repeat their request for services every semester. Documentation submitted to ARC must:

  • Verify a disability -- The ADAAA defines a disability as a substantial limitation of a major life function.
  • Include a specific diagnosis which describes the nature of the permanent disability and its functional limitations in an academic environment as well as other university settings.
  • Include specific recommendations for academic adjustments or accommodations -- Academic adjustment needs can change over time and are not always identified through the initial diagnostic process. A prior history of accommodation, without demonstration of current need, does not in itself warrant the provision of a similar accommodation.
  • Be signed by the medical or mental health professional or diagnostician.
  • Be timely and typed/written on professional letterhead stationary.
  • Be given to a counselor at the Accessibility Resource Center who will begin the intake process.