Berkeley Campus Plan for Accommodating the Academic Needs of Students with Disabilities
This policy describes the roles of various units and individuals at the University of California, Berkeley in ensuring that students with disabilities receive appropriate accommodations in their instructional activities, as mandated by Federal and State law and by University policy.
The fundamental principles of nondiscrimination and accommodation in academic programs were set forth in Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Title II; and their implementing regulations at 34 C.F.R. Part 104 and 28 C.F.R. Part 35 respectively.
These laws establish that students with disabilities may not, on the basis of their disabilities, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any University program or activity. The University must make sure that its academic requirements do not discriminate or have the effect of discriminating against persons with disabilities. Academic requirements that are justifiably essential to a student's program of instruction are not considered discriminatory. Academic accommodations to which a student may be entitled include changes in the length of time allowed to complete degree requirements, substitution of specific courses required for the completion of degree requirements, and adaptation of the manner in which specific courses or examinations are conducted.
University of California policies are presented in the University of California Guidelines Applying to Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Handicap, which appear as Section 140 of the University's Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations, and Students.
Academic Accommodations Policy Board
At Berkeley, the Administration and the Academic Senate have created an Academic Accommodations Policy Board. The Board has as its primary functions: (a) advising the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost about policies and procedures related to the provision of academic accommodations for students with disabilities, (b) recommending steps to be taken by the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost related to the provision of accommodations for instructors with disabilities , such as faculty, lecturers, graduate student instructors, etc., (c) developing mechanisms for increasing the understanding of the academic departments and faculty with respect to disabilities and their accommodation in an academic setting, and (d) assisting the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost in resolving any disagreements with faculty that might arise concerning particular accommodations in an academic setting. The Policy Board is comprised of at least six members:
Two faculty members who are knowledgeable in the area of learning and disabilities (nominated by the Senate Committee on Committees and appointed by the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost). If one of the faculty members on the Board is party to a matter under review by the Board, that faculty member will not participate in the Board's review of that matter.
Two professional staff members of the Disabled Students' Program who are also knowledgeable in these areas (nominated by the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and appointed by the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost). If one of the Disabled Students' Program staff members on the Board determined an accommodation that is the subject of dispute, the staff member will not participate in the Board's review of that accommodation and will be temporarily replaced by another staff member appointed by the Assistant Provost.
The campus Assistant Provost of Academic Compliance & Disability Standards, who has responsibility for ensuring that the policies and procedures the campus develops comply with Federal, State, and University requirements.
The campus Disability Resolution Officer, who has responsibility for responding to disability-related complaints from students.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
The Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost is the senior administrative officer responsible for campus policies affecting persons with disabilities. With the advice of the Assistant Provost of Academic Compliance & Disability Standards and the Academic Accommodations Policy Board, the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost ensures that these policies are both educationally sound and responsive to the needs of students with disabilities.
If there is disagreement by faculty over the appropriateness of a particular academic accommodation, the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost (in consultation with the Academic Accommodations Policy Board, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, and the Assistant Provost of Academic Compliance & Disability Standards) makes a final determination in the matter. In the rare instance when an instructor refuses to comply with the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost's decision, the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost is responsible for ensuring that the accommodation is provided in a timely manner and that appropriate administrative sanctions are pursued in accordance with established policy and procedures. The University's Faculty Code of Conduct, presented in Section 015 of the Academic Personnel Manual, defines as unacceptable conduct "knowing violation of the University policy, including the pertinent guidelines, applying to nondiscrimination against students on the basis of disability."
Assistant Provost of Academic Compliance & Disability Standards
The campus Assistant Provost of Academic Compliance & Disability Standards serves as a resource to the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, other members of the Administration, faculty members, and the Disabled Students' Program in meeting their obligation to provide appropriate academic accommodations to students with disabilities. The Assistant Provost advises them about the requirements of Federal law and University policy and works to resolve informally any disagreements about accommodations for students with disabilities. The Assistant Provost may, as described in the section of this Policy entitled Instructors, set aside or modify an academic accommodation that is under dispute. As described above, the Assistant Provost serves as a member of the Academic Accommodations Policy Board and has responsibility for ensuring that the policies and procedures the campus develops comply with Federal, State, and University requirements. The Assistant Provost also oversees resolution of complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of disability and complaints alleging failure to appropriately accommodate a disability.
Several professional staff members of the Disabled Students' Program are responsible for evaluating the documentation concerning a student's disability, assessing the disability's impact on the student's participation in academic activities, and advising the student concerning appropriate learning strategies. These disability specialists also determine the nature of accommodations in instruction and testing that will be required for a student. In doing so, they may consult the student's instructor(s). The nature of the accommodations shall be consistent with policies developed by the Disabled Students' Program, approved by the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, and reviewed by the Academic Accommodations Policy Board. The disability specialists explain the nature and purpose of the accommodations to the student and, as appropriate, to the student's instructors. When possible, this is done at the beginning of each semester so that the accommodations can be implemented in a timely manner. The disability specialists advise their supervisor and the Director of the Disabled Students' Program when they anticipate a difficult determination of appropriate accommodations or experience difficulty coming to agreement with the instructor.
Director, Disabled Students' Program
The Director of the Disabled Students' Program is responsible for the overall role of the Disabled Students' Program in implementing this policy, including overseeing the disability specialist's proper use of the policy and guiding difficult determinations of appropriate accommodations.
Senate and non-Senate faculty (including Graduate Student Instructors) are responsible for conducting classes and administering examinations, as described in the Bylaws of the Academic Senate. They should be mindful, in developing tests or other procedures for evaluating students' academic achievement, that both Federal regulations and University policy require that
. . . methods should be provided for evaluating the achievement of students who have a [disability] that impairs sensory, manual, or speaking skills as will best ensure that the results of the evaluation represents the student's achievement in the course, rather than reflecting the student's impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills (except where such skills are the factors that the test purports to measure). [34 C.F.R. § 104.44 (c)]
If an instructor has concerns or questions about an accommodation that a disability specialist has determined to be appropriate for a particular student, the instructor should contact the disability specialist promptly. If, after adequately thorough and good faith discussion with the disability specialist, the instructor disagrees with the accommodation, the instructor should seek its review by contacting the Assistant Provost of Academic Compliance & Disability Standards within five University working days of being notified about it by the disability specialist or the student. The instructor must provide the accommodation until it is either set aside or modified by the Assistant Provost or the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. The Assistant Provost will attempt to resolve the disagreement informally. If this effort does not succeed, the Assistant Provost will refer the instructor to the Academic Accommodations Policy Board, which will review the matter and advise the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, whose decision will be final.
Department Chairs and Deans
The administrative heads of departments and schools are responsible for ensuring that the instructional staff of their units understand the Berkeley Campus' full commitment to implementing Federal law and University policy assuring nondiscrimination for students on the basis of disability. If an instructor fails to provide an academic accommodation that is determined to be appropriate pursuant to this policy, the instructor's Department Chair (or Dean), in conjunction with the Assistant Provost of Academic Compliance & Disability Standards, will ensure that the accommodation is provided in a timely manner until the matter has been reviewed by the Academic Accommodations Policy Board and a final decision reached by the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.
Filing a Complaint
In general, the complainant must be able to establish that he or she appropriately requested, in a timely manner, the desired accommodation. The campus has established a process for filing student complaints regarding disability accommodations.
As appropriate, complaints about the provision of appropriate academic accommodations may be addressed under the Disabled Students' Program Complaint Resolution process, or by the Disability Resolution Officer, or pursuant to the Berkeley Campus Student Grievance Procedure, the Graduate Appeals Procedure, Regulation A207 of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate, or the Academic Rules: University of California at Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). However, complaints regarding the appropriateness of academic adjustments, which have already been fully addressed in accordance with the Policy for Accommodating the Academic Needs of Students with Disabilities, will not be reconsidered under these or other complaint resolution procedures.
There shall be maintained an appendix to this policy containing the current names and contact information for filing disability accommodation complaints, the Director of the Disabled Students' Program, and other relevant resources.
Appendix I: Contact Information
Key personnel for implementing the Berkeley Campus Policy for Accommodating the Academic Needs of Students with Disabilities:
The disability specialists and the Director of the Disabled Students' Program are located at:
Disabled Students' Program
260 Cesar Chavez Center
Berkeley, CA 94720-4250
Voice: (510) 642-0518
TTY: (510) 642-6376
The Director is Karen Nielson; her email is email@example.com
For more information about the student disability complaint process, see the "Disability Resolution" page of the Academic Compliance website. To file a student complaint regarding disability accommodations, contact (510) 642-2795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Office of the Ombudsperson for Students may be able to provide information and assistance to students and to faculty with regard to informal resolution of student matters. Contact (510) 642-5754.
The Ombudsperson for Faculty may be able to provide information and assistance to faculty with regard to informal resolution of academic accommodation matters. Contact the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate at (510) 642-4226.