TO: Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Officers of Administration
FROM: Penelope Daugherty, Director
Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity
DATE: May 23, 2003
RE: Changes in Disability Accommodation Procedures
As a public agency, the University of Oregon is obligated under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified students, employees and prospective students and employees with disabilities. Given both the complexity of determining who qualifies as an individual with a disability under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act and what constitutes a reasonable accommodation, and in order to ensure a consistent process across the institution, the university has established procedures to ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided an appropriate response to their requests for accommodation. Those procedures were last addressed in an April 1, 2002 memo from Linda King, Director of Human Resources. Those procedures have recently been changed with regard to the contact for employees with disabilities. This memo is to remind you of our obligation to provide reasonable accommodation where appropriate and to update you on who is responsible for assisting with requests for accommodation, whether from students, employees or members of the public.*
Since many factors must be considered in determining whether an individual qualifies as an individual with a disability under the law and what, if any, accommodation is appropriate, the following offices have been charged with responsibility for coordinating that process. When you receive a request for accommodation, please contact whichever of the following offices is appropriate depending on the relationship of the individual to the university:
Students with disabilities should be referred to the Disability Services Office for assistance. That office is responsible for reviewing documentation of students' disabilities, and for determining appropriate accommodations for students on an individual basis. In addition, Disability Services staff will assist departments in providing reasonable accommodations once they determine what they should be. Disability Services is located in Suite 164 of Oregon Hall and may be reached at 346-1155, or TTY 346-1083.
Employees with disabilities (classified employees, Officers of Administration, Instructional Faculty and Researchers) should be referred to the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity. The Office of Affirmative Action is responsible for requesting and reviewing appropriate supporting documentation to determine whether an individual qualifies as an individual with a disability and for working with the employee and the employee's supervisor to identify and implement appropriate accommodation on an individual basis. The Office of Affirmative Action will coordinate with staff in Human Resources or the Provost's Office where that is appropriate. The Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity is located in Suite 474 of Oregon Hall and may be reached at 346-3123.
Members of the public in need of reasonable accommodation for program access are invited to contact and/or should be directed to the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity for assistance. In addition to program accessibility concerns, Affirmative Action staff can assist in identifying reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities in the hiring process. The Affirmative Action Office also accepts grievances from members of the public who have been denied access and/or reasonable accommodation to university-sponsored events or programs, and from students who believe they have suffered discrimination on the basis of disability.
The above offices, in connection with the Disability Issues Administrative Council (DIAC), are responsible for the university's compliance with relevant disability-related laws and regulations. Denials of requests for accommodations - if necessary - should be made only by appropriate persons in the offices of Disability Services or Affirmative Action, or the DIAC. Under no circumstances should other academic or administrative departments deny accommodation requests.
If you have any questions regarding the instructions in this memo or about disability issues generally, please do not hesitate to contact either Steve Pickett, Director of Disability Services, or me for further information. Please share this memo with members of your unit who might be approached by either students or employees with a possible need for reasonable accommodation.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this important process.
*It is important to note that an individual need not use the words "disability" or "reasonable accommodation" to trigger our obligation to engage in a process to determine whether reasonable accommodation may be appropriate. If a student or employee indicates that due to a medical condition he or she is having difficulty meeting his/her classroom or workplace responsibilities, that is enough to put us on notice that the student or employee may be an individual with a disability. In that case, the faculty member or supervisor should advise the student or employee that he or she MAY be an individual with a disability under the law and entitled to reasonable accommodation, and refer the student or employee to the appropriate office as noted in this memo if the student/employee is interested in exploring the issue further.