The Law & Regent Policy

Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008, the University of Wisconsin has a legal responsibility to accommodate and provide access to students with disabilities. Pursuant to these federal laws, no qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of services, programs or activities of the University or be subject to discrimination. As a public entity, the University must make reasonable modifications to its policies, practices, or procedures to ensure equal access unless those accommodations would result in an undue administrative or financial burden or would fundamentally alter the program, services or activity.

To meet this mandate, UW-Stevens Point must provide physical and programmatic access to students with disabilities, including auxiliary aids and services. Furthermore, as a requirement of the law, faculty must make accommodations or reasonable modifications in the instructional process to ensure full educational opportunity to students with disabilities. Faculty need to be concerned with providing accommodations because it is a requirement of the law. Listed below are some aspects of Section 504 and the ADA that institutions of higher education are required to follow:

  1. Institutions must offer qualified students with disabilities the same opportunities that other students have to participate in campus programs and activities, including: academic, research, occupational training, counseling programs, housing, health services, student services, physical education, transportation, and extracurricular activities.
  2. Students with impaired sensory, manual, language, or processing skills must be allowed to use educational auxiliary aids or services, including: taped texts, readers, interpreters, note takers, tape recorders, adapted classroom equipment, and other similar services or equipment.
    1. Institutions cannot impose rules limiting the use of such aids in the classroom. However, services or equipment of a personal nature or personally prescribed need not be provided by the institution.
  3. Modifications in academic requirements, if necessary, may include changes in the length of time permitted for completion of degree requirements, substitution of specific required courses, and accommodations in the manner courses are conducted or learning is demonstrated. Requirements essential to the program of instruction or related to licensing requirements may not require modification.

The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System has recognized the mandates of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA by adopting Regent Policy Document 14-10: Nondiscrimination on Basis of Disability. Directly reflecting the requirements of federal law, the revised policy states the following:

It is the policy of the Board of Regents that discrimination on the basis of a disability is prohibited. No otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall be denied access to or participation in any program, service, activity or employment opportunity offered by the UW System or its institutions.

Pursuant to the System policy, each institution maintains an Office of Disability Services as a resource for students, faculty, and staff. Students may document a disability and request auxiliary aids from this office; faculty and staff should use it as a source of expertise and assistance.