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Diversity. Inclusion. Access.
At the Rutgers University-Newark Office of Disability Services, our mission is to ensure students with disabilities have the opportunity to fully experience what it means to be a Rutgers University - Newark Student and be a part of our community.
We are always looking for how we can reduce barriers for students in-and-out of the classroom, help students achieve their goals, and be a resource for the campus community. We envision a barrier-free community accessibility is embedded in all facets of the university community and diverse experiences are not only included but are also embraced.
My main goals were to complete my graduate program with honors and it wasn’t until I spoke ODS that I realized what rights and protections I have as a person with Health conditions.
We are here because we believe that every qualified student should have the opportunity to experience what it means to be a Rutgers Newark student. We believe in the mission of Rutgers University- Newark and want students to be able to participate to the fullest extent possible.
We are also here because people with disabilities have legal rights and protections. ODS is the office at Rutgers University-Newark that works with students with disabilities to determine reasonable accommodations and ensure that they are implemented effectively.
A person is disabled when the environment creates a barrier with a person’s condition(s), whether medical, physical, or mental. If the environment is accessible to a person and there is no barrier, then they are not disabled.
For example, a person who is Deaf and communicates with American Sign Language is attending a class. If there are no sign language interpreters, they are disabled in that moment. However, if they have communication through sign language interpreters and captions on videos, they are not disabled. It is the situation, not the person, that is the primary determinant of if someone is disabled or not.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that a disability can be present when there is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Examples of disabilities can be and are not limited to: Psychiatric Conditions ( e.g. Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar, etc.), Medical Conditions (e.g. Diabetes, Epilepsy, Cancer, Multiple sclerosis, etc. ), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum, Learning Disabilities (e.g. dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia), Sensory (e.g., blindness and Deafness), and Physical/mobility conditions.
When an environment has a barrier and is not accessible, we use accommodations to provide you with an opportunity to participate and address the disabling issue. An example of an accommodation is moving a class if a person who cannot use stairs has a class on the second floor of a building with no working elevator or providing materials in an electronic format for a blind student who does not read paper based materials.
Accommodations must be reasonable and do not change the fundamental requirements of the program. Reasonable accommodations may include academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, services, or modifications for facilities.
Students looking to receive accommodations to address disability barriers at Rutgers University Newark will need to complete the following process:
1. Complete and submit our initial information form
Our Initial Information form provides important information to the Office of Disability Services (ODS) staff and allows us to follow up with you. Our staff will follow up with-in 3-5 business days to schedule an appointment once we receive the form.
2. Complete Initial Appointment
After receiving your initial information form, a representative from ODS will contact you to schedule an initial meeting with a coordinator. This meeting typically lasts up to one hour and can be in person, via video, or by phone.
Your experience is a critical part of this process. During the meeting, we will discuss previous educational experiences, past use of accommodations, if any, what the condition means to you, and what has been effective or ineffective in providing access. Our conversation will help us understand of who you are and help us in determining what accommodations might be appropriate.
This is an interactive process and we will work with you to help you understand the process and what to expect at Rutgers-Newark.
3. Submit Appropriate Documentation
We use documentation to help us understand the impact of your condition and what are the potential barriers you might encounter. Documentation is not necessary for us to meet for an initial appointment. Our goal is to support you in making this process as smooth as possible and are happy to answer any questions you might have.
Documentation should be current and relevant but does not necessarily need to be recent. Detailed information about documentation, including forms for healthcare providers, can be found at Documentation Guidelines. When possible, it is helpful for us to have documentation for our first meeting.
Please submit the appropriate documentation that meets ODS guidelines for your disability by any of the following methods:
Your accommodation request(s) will be reviewed by a committee of Disability Services staff. You will receive a response in a timely manner with one of the following application statuses:
Reasonable Accommodations Approved: You will be contacted by your assigned disability coordinator to finalize the process for receiving your approved, reasonable accommodations. Once approved, you will be able to request your Letter of Accommodation and other accommodations as appropriate.
More Information Needed: We require more information demonstrating your need for requested accommodations before the request can be approved. Your coordinator will provide further information on the process.
Accommodation Not Approved: The coordinator will contact you to explain the rationale for the denial and discuss next steps, as appropriate.
We value your right to privacy and work to keep your information confidential. You drive the process and decide when and if you use the accommodations you are approved for. The Letter of Accommodation (LOA) lists the accommodations and does not refer to the condition itself.
Your information is protected by FERPA and only shared as required. The records are housed within the Office of Disability Services.
We recognize that this can be a difficult topic for people to discuss. We encourage you to sit down with us and have a conversation about any concerns or questions you might have. You drive this process. You can meet with us for an initial meeting and then decide how you want to proceed.
Stigma is real and the present. ODS is committed to addressing stigma and working on our campus to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment. You have rights and we will work to help protect those rights. We want to be a resource and support for you.
Overview of the Informal Resolution Process
Rutgers University has adopted this Informal Resolution Process for students with disabilities enrolled at Rutgers University as one of the means to provide for prompt and equitable resolutions to informally resolve problems, issues or concerns related to equal access to University programs, courses, services, facilities, and activities. The objective of the Informal Resolution Process is to provide a means for students to report concerns or issues and for the University to attempt to resolve or mediate the situation in a timely manner. No formal investigation is involved in the Informal Resolution Process. The Informal Resolution Process may be an appropriate choice when:
· the conduct involved is not of a serious or repetitive nature and disciplinary action is not required to remedy the situation.
· attitudinal or behavioral conduct is involved.
· the student has tried to resolve the issue informally with the parties involved (e.g., their professor, the department or school) and a disagreement has occurred.
Please visit the Informal Resolution page to find more information and determine if this is the appropriate route for your concern.
Overview of the Grievance Process
Rutgers University has adopted this grievance procedure for students with disabilities, enrolled at Rutgers University, as the means to provide for prompt and equitable resolution of grievances. While we encourage students to use the Informal Resolution Process first to resolve concerns, this is not required. The grievance process may be applicable if a student has concerns related to:
· Denial of academic adjustments, accommodations, services or modifications related to a Rutgers course.
· Inaccessibility of a Rutgers course, program, service, activity, facility, parking or transportation.
· Previously granted accommodations that are not being implemented.
Please visit the Grievance Process page to find more information and determine if this is the appropriate route for your concern.
Rutgers University is committed to a working and learning environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. The University strictly prohibits discrimination and harassment based on membership in protected classes such as disability.
If a student believes that they have been discriminated or harassed because of their disability by a Rutgers employee or third party, the student should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEE).
If a student believes that they have been discriminated against or harassed because of their disability by a Rutgers student, the student should contact the Office of Student Conduct.