Policies and Procedures

Policies and Procedures

Mansfield University
Office of Services for Students with Disabilities


Mansfield University's Office of Services for Students with Disabilities is committed to both the letter and the spirit of the law which mandates that access to higher education be provided to students with disabilities. Accordingly, Mansfield will provide various disability-related services to ensure that students with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in the educational, social and cultural life at Mansfield University.

Mansfield University is committed to serving our students with documented disabilities. Students with documented physical, cognitive or psychological disabilities are entitled to appropriate services through our Office of Services for Students with Disabilities. Federal law requires that instructors make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the needs of students with documented disabilities as a way to provide those students equal educational access and opportunity. It is the responsibility of the student with a disability to initiate services and furnish documentation by identifying himself/herself as well as sharing his/her disability with the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD Coordinator). The student is responsible for signing a release of information form, and allowing the SSD Coordinator to communicate with necessary persons in order to arrange requested accommodations.

This document is designed to explain the policies and procedures of the Office for Students with Disabilities in an effort to help students understand how to obtain accommodations for their documented disabilities, as well as foster a staff understanding of the disability policies and procedures here on campus. The policies and procedures adopted by the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities are in accordance with the professional standards recommended by Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD).For more information regarding these standards see section IX or visit: http://www.ahead.org/

Please note that these policies and procedures are not contractual in nature and are subject to change with reasonable notice given to students.

Eligibility for Services

To be eligible for disability related services through the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, students with permanent disabilities:

1) must be qualified under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act;

2) must self-identify with the SSD Coordinator located in the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities; and

3) must present appropriate, comprehensive and current documentation regarding their stated disabilities. 

Current documentation is defined as student self-report, observations, evaluations, educational or medical records, testing reports and assessments created by health care providers, school psychologists, teachers, or the educational system. This information is inclusive of documents that reflect education and accommodation history, such as Individual Education Program (IEP), Summary of Performance (SOP), and teacher observation. The Association on Higher Education and Disability (2012) establishes the revisions to Title III regulations provide, "When considering requests for modifications, accommodations, or auxiliary aids or services, the entity gives considerable weight to documentation of past modifications, accommodations, or auxiliary aids or services received in similar testing situations, as well as such modifications, accommodations, or related aids and services provided in response to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) provided under IDEA or a plan describing services provided pursuant to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973" (AHEAD, 2012). The documentation process as advised by the American with Disabilities Act establishes that professionals must utilize a deliberative and collaborative process that is responsive to the unique experience of "each" individual when providing effective access to accommodations, and furthermore accommodations are no not limited to those only with IEP's or Section 504 plans. The Department of Justice guidance (2010) recommends all entities must consider the entirety of an applicant's history to determine whether that history, without the context of an IEP or Section 504 Plan, indicates a need for accommodations (Department of Justice guidance, 2010).

Once a student has met these requirements, reasonable accommodations are determined on a case by case basis by the SSD Coordinator in the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities during consultation with the student. Individual cases will take into account individual review, commonsense standard, a non-burdensome process, and the current and relevant information in order to make a determination for accommodations according to federal laws within University rights and responsibilities (as outlined below).

Mansfield University has the right to:

  • Identify and establish essential functions, abilities, skills, knowledge, requirements and standards for courses, programs, services, and activities; and to evaluate students on the basis of these things.

  • Request and receive, from the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, current documentation that supports requests for accommodations, and academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services.

  • Deny a request for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services if the documentation demonstrates that the request is not warranted, or if the student fails to provide appropriate documentation.

  • Select among equally effective accommodations, adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services.

  • Refuse an unreasonable accommodation, adjustment, and/or auxiliary aid or service that imposes a fundamental alteration of a program or activity.

Mansfield University has the responsibility to:

  • Provide information to faculty, staff, and students or guests with disabilities in accessible formats upon request.

  • Ensure that courses, programs, services and activities – when viewed in their entirety – are available in the most integrated and appropriate settings possible.

  • Evaluate students on their abilities, not their disabilities.

  • Provide or arrange for reasonable accommodations, and/or academic adjustments for students with disabilities in courses, programs, services, jobs and activities.

  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communication, except where breaching confidentiality is permitted or required by law, or when the student requests that the information be shared.

A. The student must be a qualified individual with a disability under section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act and the 2008 Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act. Section 504 is designed to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. It provides that no person with a disability shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity which receives or benefits from federal financial assistance. The 1973 Rehabilitation Act defines a person with a disability as "any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (seeing, hearing, walking, learning, working, speaking, and caring for oneself), has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment." The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 was enacted by Congress to make it easier for an individual seeking protection under the ADA to establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the statute. The prior definition had been deemed as too narrow and did not protect individuals with impairments such as cancer, diabetes, and epilepsy. The ADAAA 2008 includes a broader range of coverage of the definition of the limitations of "major life" activities as defined in #2 below.

B. Admissions and Recruitment: Qualified persons with disabilities may not, on the basis of disability, be denied admission or be subjected to discrimination in admission or recruitment. Institutions may not make pre-admission inquiry as to whether an applicant for admission is a disabled person. After admission, the recipient may make inquiries on a confidential basis as to what disabilities may require accommodation. If accommodations are requested, the student will be referred to the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities. Admission is non-biased and based upon Mansfield University's admission requirements, which can be found online at:


1) The student must be "otherwise qualified"; in other words the student must:
a) Meet the technical, academic standards required for admissions or participation within the Mansfield University education programs or other activity.
b) Meet the essential eligibility requirements for regular University services; and
c) Meet the requirements of the student code of conduct.

2) The student must currently have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

C. To be eligible for services, the student must self-identify and complete the intake process with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities. To receive accommodations, the student must present current documentation regarding his/her stated disability.

According to the ADAA (Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act) of 2008, "In general, major life activities include but are not limited to caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working".

Additionally, the ADAA defines a major life activity as including "the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions".

1) Self-identification: To self-identify, the student must complete an intake interview with the SSD Coordinator, and sign any needed accommodation agreements, releases of information, and any other required forms.

a) Students should self-identify in a timely manner: Students should make an appointment for an intake interview as soon as they are accepted at MU and have made the decision to attend. For out-of-state students, this meeting should take place as soon as they arrive on campus.
b) If interpreter services or special equipment are needed, students should notify the SSD Coordinator by phone, TDD, or email, immediately upon acceptance. To provide the most efficient services, a one-month notice is beneficial.

2) Documentation of a student's disability(ies) must be obtained from a qualified professional. For more information, see section "Documentation Requirements" below.

Documentation Requirements

It is the responsibility of the student to provide information that verifies that the student's condition meets the definition of a disability as defined by applicable laws (i.e., Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008). Federal Law requires that requests for services for students with disabilities be considered on an individual, case-by-case basis. As established by AHEAD (2012) one impact of the amendments to the ADA is to offer wide protection from discrimination on the basis of disability. Therefore, when students identify as having a disability, it is essential that they are protected against discrimination. However, this does not mean that accommodations will be available to every student (AHEAD, 2012). Appropriate and equitable accommodations can be ensured through focusing on each individual student's request along with their supporting documentation in collaboration with the essential elements of the course or program.

A fair and consistent process is achieved through provision of a consistency in evaluation of a student's self-report, and available external documentation on a case-by-case basis within the University by way of not demanding the same "information" from each student.

A. Student Self-Report

Prospective students may indicate if they have a disability when applying for admission to Mansfield University; however, it is not required and is volunteered information. Students are never denied admission based upon disability. In some cases a special screening committee will review a student's file for acceptance if they do not meet regular admissions criteria. Both prospective and current students can make an appointment with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities where they can describe their disability, provide any documentation, and discuss the accommodations they are hoping to receive to the SSD Coordinator. Students can further include experiences directly related to their disability in which they feel may have an effect (positive or negative) on their educational experience.

B. Documentation

Disability related documentation should provide information on the functional impact of the disability so that effective accommodations can be identified. Documentation may include assessments, reports, and letters from qualified evaluators, psychologists, health care providers, and educational institutions.

Documentation elements should include one or more of the following:

  • Typed on letterhead, dated, and signed by a qualified professional.
  • Diagnostic Statement with any related diagnostic methodology (diagnostic criteria and/or procedures).
  • Functional limitations or symptoms (limitations inform which accommodations are appropriate).
  • Severity and/or expected progression.
  • Current and/or past accommodations.

    (1) Mansfield University reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of submitted documentation and requests for accommodation(s) on a case-by-case basis. Additional information may be requested to determine eligibility for services. Documentation acceptable for other agencies and institutions (e.g. vocational rehabilitation agencies, public schools) may not be sufficient for determining post-secondary services. Generally, an Individualized Education Plan, 504 Plan, or General Education Initiative from a secondary school does not provide thorough information for the documentation of disability and needed accommodations in the post-secondary setting.

C. Assistance and Referral to Obtain Documentation:

To be eligible for services, the student must present appropriate documentation from a professional qualified to diagnose his or her disability(ies). The student may be referred for additional documentation if the documentation initially provided is not sufficient. In such cases, a student providing documentation showing good evidence of a disability will be served for one semester on a provisional basis to allow for referral, funding and processing time. Mansfield University is not required to provide assessment of disabilities or related funding. (See section "Provisional and Temporary Services" for more information.)

Provisional and Temporary Services

In addition to services provided to students with permanently disabling conditions, the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities also provides services on a provisional or temporary basis. Documentation is needed to provide these services. It is to the student's advantage to provide the documentation either before arriving at the campus or at the initial visit.

(1) Provisional Services: If the student does not have current documentation at the initial interview, provisional services may be provided if the student can provide documentation that he/she has been in special education at the K-12 level or has received accommodation services at another post-secondary institution. If the SSD Coordinator determines through an initial intake screening that there is strong evidence of a disability, provisional services will be provided for a period of one semester while the assessment and documentation is in process. Records are reviewed at the beginning of the semester and services are discontinued if documentation is still incomplete or does not meet eligibility requirements for the university.

Temporary Medical Condition: Some medical conditions are temporarily disabling and a student may desire accommodations for a limited amount of time. These conditions may include surgery, accidents, severe illness or any other medical condition that temporarily impairs regular attendance or academic performance. Documentation will be required and, if possible the SSD Coordinator will provide appropriate accommodations under the condition that by doing so the university does not undertake excessive financial responsibility. Students who need temporary accessible parking can apply for a disability parking placard through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The application can be found online through the University Police Department website for submission to the PA Department of Transportation located in Harrisburg, PA.

Transportation: Students with temporary mobility problems can receive assistance with transportation on campus through the Mountie Express. It is available each day for transportation on campus and in the Mansfield community. When the Mountie is not running, University Police can provide assistance on a case by case basis. Call 570-662-4900. Students with temporary mobility problems should provide documentation, as soon as possible, which specifies any restrictions, limitations, and the approximate amount of time for which accommodations will be necessary to the SSD Coordinator. Cases which require a Disability Parking Placard will be referred to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

After the Intake Process

A. Determination of accommodations: Using the documentation provided, the student and the SSD Coordinator Director collaboratively determine the most appropriate and reasonable academic adjustments.

(1) Reasonable accommodations appropriate for the disability will be determined based on recommendations in the documentation, standard best professional practices, and discussion with the student of past experiences with accommodations. Accommodations requested must not pose an undue hardship on the financial or administrative resources of the university and should promote the student's professional self-determination and independence. In general, the professional best practice standards of the Association for Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD) will be followed to determine appropriate accommodations.
(2) The student should be aware that there is often a difference in the types of accommodations provided by elementary/secondary schools and post-secondary programs. In general, there are fewer substitutions and modifications at the post-secondary level, and more emphasis is placed on student development of learning strategies, skills, and self-accountability.

B. Agreements for Frequent Accommodations: To ensure that the student is aware of policies and procedures related to major accommodation services, he/she will be asked to read and sign agreements related to frequently used accommodations. Agreements are developed for assistive hearing and interpreter services, examinations, note-taking, audio-recording classes, reading services, scribe services, installed mobility or assistive devices, service dogs (assistance/emotional support animals) on campus. Individualized agreements may need to be developed for any other accommodations with complex procedures and responsibilities.

C. Verification of Disability Letters: The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities will prepare faculty notification of accommodation letters for each semester the student registers with the office. These letters will verify that the student qualifies for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act and the Rehabilitation Act, as well as indicate the type of accommodations that have been approved through the SSD Coordinator located in the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities.

(1) The faculty notification of accommodation letters are written to respect the student's confidentiality. The nature of a student's disability is only shared on a 'need to know' basis, and only with the student's written permission. Accommodations for a particular student may vary somewhat semester-to-semester depending upon the course content of the student's classes. It is the student's responsibility to notify the SSD Coordinator when a specific course format requires changes or additions.
(2) Students will be notified when faculty notification of accommodation letters are ready. Each student is expected to pick up his/her letters from the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities and deliver the letters to his/her professors. Each student is encouraged to deliver the faculty letters in person and to take this opportunity to self-identify with instructors and discuss issues related to the accommodations he/she needs in class. The student decides how much specific information he/she wishes to provide to the faculty in addition to the notification letter.
(3) For students for whom it would be a hardship to deliver the faculty notification of accommodation letters (i.e., they have a mobility or visual impairment that presents a barrier to delivering letters), the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities will make arrangements for the letters to be delivered to instructors.

Confidentiality Protections and Guidelines

A. Student Rights of Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure: To obtain disability related services, the student must present documentation to the person designated by Mansfield University as the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities. The SSD Coordinator is assigned the responsibility for collecting and holding this documentation. All records will be kept in a secure file with limited access. Generally faculty is only given the information that a student has a documented disability and a need for accommodation(s). The U.S. Department of Justice has indicated that a faculty or staff member generally does not have a 'need to know' what the disability is; only that it has been appropriately verified by the individual (or office) assigned this responsibility on behalf of the institution, and that other individuals at the university would have no legal right to demand access to the actual documentation including testing scores, dates or names of professionals providing such documentation." (Confidentiality & Disability Issues in Higher Education, AHEAD. 1996). The student is protected by law from disclosure of confidential information to other university personnel or external parties, unless proscribed by law or the situation warrants a justifiable 'need to know'.

B 'Need to Know' Basis for Release of Documentation Information: The person(s) to whom information would be released is dependent upon a justifiable 'need to know' basis. In general, the 'need to know' is very limited, unless proscribed by law. Some common needs may be: requests for a course substitution, safety for the student's health or emergency evacuation purposes, special circumstances in campus housing, grievance procedures, and special financial aid considerations.

C. Procedures for Release of Information: The student must sign a release for inter-departmental requests for copies of documentation. If a student requests a copy of his/her documentation, he/she must sign a written request, discuss his/her rights of non-disclosure and review the documentation with the SSD Coordinator. The SSD Coordinator may remove any non-pertinent information before copies are released. If the documentation was received from another agency prior to admission, the student will be referred to that entity for copies.

D. The extreme exceptions to confidentiality protections would be child abuse (of which reporting is mandatory in most states), suicide or homicidal intent. Confidentiality is not maintained in the case of child abuse, suicidal or homicidal intent or violations of the University Student Code of Conduct. The SSD Coordinator will work with the University Counseling Office and/or the University Police Department in the event that a student expresses an action or intent to harm self or others.

E. Maintenance of Records-Hard Copy: A confidential file is maintained on each student. Each file includes information on the student's demographics, notes on activities performed for the student, correspondence, degree-related information (e.g., class schedules, degree plan, transcripts, etc.) and agreements regarding accommodations. Within that confidential file is the documentation of the disability and any ongoing changes in the student's condition. These files are kept in a locked file cabinet accessible only to the SSD Coordinator and permissive staff.

(1) Disposal of Records: It is the policy of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities to dispose of files of students who have elected not to use SSD services or who have withdrawn or graduated from Mansfield University. A student's file may be disposed when:
(a) A student has not used disability services or made any contact with the SSD office in over seven years (with the stipulation that records must be kept at least 7 years after a student turns 18 years old); or
(b) A student applied for services, but never provided documentation and therefore never used services, and it has been over a year since date of application.

Student Responsibilities

A. Register with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities each semester (including summer sessions). Registering is important for updating records and for notifying the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities that a student wants to use accommodations for the semester. After registering, students will be asked to meet with the SSD Coordinator to review and update records, forms, faculty notification letters, etc.

B. Early enrollment is essential. Students who are services by the OSSD are encouraged to enroll early for classes before desired classes are filled. This will require meeting with advisors early to develop a schedule on the course selection sheet, and setting up a time to meet with the SSD Coordinator to look over and sign the course selection sheet.

C. Requests for Assistive & Adaptive Equipment. Students need to inform the OSSD as early as possible if assistive equipment is needed.

D. Deliver verification of disability letters to your professors. Students are encouraged to meet with their professors during office hours and give them notice of the approved academic accommodations as outlined in the Faculty Notification Accommodation Letters. Specifics as to how examination accommodations will be provided within the letters (i.e., proctored by the graduate assistant and his/her contact information).

E. Follow Exam Services procedures. Students are expected to follow outlined exam procedures. These procedures require students to provide the testing center and graduate assistant who proctors the exams a two week notice. If an exam schedule should change at any point in the semester, it is the student's responsibility to notify the testing center of those changes. Final exams must be scheduled at least two weeks prior to the beginning of finals week. Without sufficient notice, the testing center may not be able to fulfill a student's request and the student will have to take the exam/quiz with his/her class.

F. Report needs and problems as they arise. In the event that initial accommodations do not meet a student's needs or do not seem possible due to the specific requirements of a course, it is the student's responsibility to contact the SSD Coordinator to determine other options.

G. Understand and follow all procedures. Students will keep a copy of the Policies and Procedures and other agreement forms from the OSSD, and are encouraged to refer to them each semester.  Students are responsible for following all OSSD policies and procedures and for reporting any need for clarifications or changes of agreements with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities.

H. Class Attendance. Class attendance policies are determined by each instructor. If a student has chronic health or other disability-related problems that may cause him/her to miss classes, he/she should discuss attendance requirements and options with all professors and the SSD Coordinator as early as possible (preferably before enrollment) for the purpose of health related accommodations. Using a note-taker, does not excuse a student from attending class. Professors will not excuse absences just because a student has a note-taker.

I. Follow the Student Code of Conduct. Having a documented disability does not excuse a student from following any Mansfield University rule, policy or procedure. If a student has a behavioral disorder, he/she is expected to work with the SSD Coordinator and/or University Counseling Center or other resources to develop behavior management strategies. The Student Code of Conduct is available on the student affairs website through my.mansfield.edu web page. Any further questions can be answered by the Community Conduct Officer.

J. Referrals & Testing - Office of Services for Students with Disabilities. Students are expected to follow-up on all referrals in a timely fashion. Students should contact the SSD Coordinator if a referral does not meet his/her needs so that other options can be determined. Please do not attempt to diagnose yourself or anyone else; that should be left to the professionals. If you feel you or someone you know (family member, friend, student) has a disability, please contact the SSD Coordinator for more information. A referral form can be submitted via the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities website. Testing is not offered by Mansfield University. If testing is necessary, the student will be referred to the appropriate public or private agency. Any associated costs will be the student's responsibility. If the test results indicate that the person has a learning disability, the SSD Coordinator will work to ensure that appropriate accommodations are provided to the student.

K. Tutoring, Study Skills and Time Management Support. Time management and good study skills are critical to a student's success. Students are expected to use all resources available, including the Learning Center, Writing Center, TutorTrac, the University Counseling Center, and any informal or course-related study groups and seminars. The OSSD office does not provide tutoring services. Students are expected to contact schedule tutors through TutorTrac on Web Advisor, contact his/her advisor, or the SSD Coordinator for assistance in doing so.

L. Emergency Medical Assistance. Students with a condition that may require emergency assistance during classes (e.g., seizure condition), should meet with each professor during the first week of classes to explain the condition and discuss emergency procedures. It is recommended that students obtain a letter from their physician outlining emergency procedures. These students should also update emergency contact information with the University each semester. This can be done through the Office of Admissions and Records. Additionally, should any accommodations be needed as a result of a medical condition, the student should visit the SSD Coordinator in the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities.

M. Scheduling Appointments with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities. Students should schedule appointments or call in advance to see the SSD Coordinator. In the case of an emergency, students should contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities as soon as possible. The Office is open Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00pm; Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Emergency Procedures

A. Campus emergency assistance: University Police are the first responders on campus for all emergencies. Emergency assistance may be obtained 24 hours a day by contacting University Police at 570-662-4900 or by pressing the red emergency button on any of the campus 'blue light phones' which link directly to the Tioga county 911 Emergency Services Communication Center.

B. Medical emergencies: Some students with disabilities experience medical emergencies in the classroom (i.e., seizures, diabetic hypoglycemia, and cardiac-related incidents). Students who are concerned that medical emergencies may occur during class are encouraged to obtain a letter from their physician to give to their professors. This letter should give information on the nature of the disability-related emergency and instructions for emergency service providers. As first responders, University Police will provide initial assessment and treatment, and contact other emergency personnel as needed. If a medical emergency occurs within the dorms, the University police are trained to deal with medical emergencies and are assisted as necessary by the residence hall staff. Community ambulance service is available on a 24-hour basis to transport students with serious emergency medical problems to local hospitals as required.

C. Procedures for Emergency Evacuation of Buildings:

a)  Elevators are not operational during fire and other building evacuation alarms.  Therefore in emergencies, some students with disabilities (such as those with limited mobility or visual impairments) may need assistance in evacuating the building.
b) It is important that students take responsibility for their own safety. Students who may need assistance in evacuating buildings during emergencies are encouraged to:
Speak with professors about their emergency evacuation needs and familiarize themselves with the emergency exists of all campus buildings.
c) During an emergency, students with disabilities requiring assistance should call University Police at 570-662-4900 by cell or if there are telephones in the classrooms. After notifying police, students should go to the nearest "Area of Rescue Assistance." Students should wait there for University Police. Students are encouraged to ask an instructor, classmate or passer-by to stay with them until the police arrive.

D. Procedures for Emergency Evacuation of Campus: If campus is evacuated due to approaching severe weather or other emergencies threatening campus;

a) Students are encouraged to review the emergency evacuation procedures on the website and in the student manual.
b) Students with disabilities needing special transportation assistance during emergencies should contact University Police at 570-662-4900 or by pressing the help button on any of the campus emergency 'blue light phones'.
c) Campus housing residents with disabilities: At the beginning of each semester, housing management and staff responsible for campus evacuation are informed by the SSD office of the needs of residents with disabilities who will need assistance with emergency evacuation. Student residents should also discuss any special arrangements in regards to evacuation with the housing management. Students may request that a special sign be placed on their apartment to assist evacuation personnel.

Grievance Procedures

A. Mansfield University and the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities support students in their right to file a grievance when they believe equal access has been denied in regard to appropriate accommodations, modifications, auxiliary aids, or effective communication, or when they believe they have been discriminated against as described in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).

B. Mansfield University has general grievance procedures that apply to all students, which of course include students with disabilities. These procedures can be found in the Student Handbook and on the Mansfield University website.

C. There are also two additional grievance procedures established specifically for students with disabilities who feel their rights have been violated under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the ADAAA.

(1)  The first procedure is recommended for resolving disability-related conflicts with faculty, staff, campus organizations and/or other students.
(a) A student is encouraged to discuss his/her concerns with the SSD Coordinator who will contact the parties involved, as appropriate, to determine resolution. For example, the SSD Coordinator may attempt to resolve the situation by assisting the student in discussing issues with the Academic and Human Development/ OSSD Department Chair and SSD Coordinator through a facilitated meeting of the parties involved, and/or by calling the faculty member and/or head of the department in an effort to clarify and resolve issues. In some instances, other OSSD staff may be consulted. The student, and other involved parties, will be notified by the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities of the resolution of the situation within 10 business days. Due to the urgency of some issues, it is likely that many problems will be resolved much sooner.
(2)  The second procedure is recommended for resolving conflicts with the OSSD office and/or a particular OSSD staff person.
(a)  When a student has a complaint against the OSSD office and/or one of its staff members, the student should first discuss the complaint with the SSD Coordinator. Resolution of the issue may be reached at this level.
(b)  If the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved or for a specific reason cannot be discussed with the SSD Coordinator, the student should contact the Dean of Students; Associate Vice President of Student Affairs in Alumni Hall to discuss the issue further and explore resolution. After investigating the situation, the Dean of Students/Associate Vice-President of Student Affairs will inform the student and the involved parties of progress, findings or resolution within 10 business days. A student has the right to bypass OSSD office and go directly to the Dean of Students/Associate Vice-President of Student Affairs. A student may also choose to file a complaint with the Federal Office of Civil Rights. As per the U.S. Department of Education "prior to filing a complaint with OCR against an institution, a potential complainant may want to find out about the institution's grievance process and use that process to have the complaint resolved. However, a complainant is not required by law to use the institutional grievance process before filing a complaint with OCR. If a complainant uses an institutional grievance process and also chooses to file the complaint with OCR, the complaint must be filed with OCR within 60 days after the last act of the institutional grievance process." More information can be found at:


Association of Higher Education
and Disability (AHEAD) Professional Standards

1. Administration

Responsibilities related to the administration or management of the Office for Services for Students with Disabilities.

 1.  Develops program policies and procedures (e.g., required documentation, course substitutions).

 2. Develops program services.

 3.  Maintains up-to-date knowledge of emerging issues in disability services (e.g., ADD/ADHD).

 4. Identifies/establishes program goals.

 5. Evaluates program services.

 6.  Communicates program activities, services, and outcomes to institutional administrators.

 7. Supervise/trains program staff.

 8. Develops/administers program budget.

 9. Compiles reports on program activities/services.

10. Develops program brochure and handbook.

11. Responds to requests for interpretation of legal mandates on campus-specific issues.

12. Evaluates program staff.

13.  Interprets court/government agency rulings and interpretations affecting services for students.

2. Direct Service

Providing services directly to students or acting on behalf of students with members of the campus community.

 1. Maintains confidential student records (e.g., documentation of disability).

 2. Serves as an advocate for students with faculty or administrators.

 3. Determines program eligibility for services based upon documentation of a disability.

 4. Responds to inquiries from prospective students or their parents.

 5.  Consults with students about appropriate individualized accommodations based upon documentation.

 6. Provides information to students regarding their legal rights and responsibilities.

 7. Communicates information regarding program activities and services to students.

 8. Consults with faculty regarding the instructional needs of students.

 9.  Consults with institutional administrators regarding the needs of students (e.g., department directors).

10.  Consults with other campus departments regarding the needs of students (e.g., health services, residential life, admissions, and counseling services).

11.  Communicates information regarding program services to the campus community (e.g., admissions brochure, student catalog).

12. Arranges auxiliary aides for students.

13.  Arranges individualized accommodations for students (e.g., testing accommodations).

14. Distributes program brochure or handbook to campus departments (e.g., health services, counseling services).

15. Processes complaints/grievances from students.

16. Provides personal/individual counseling to students relating to disability issues.

17. Coordinates assistants for students (e.g., note takers, interpreters, readers).

18. Provides academic advisement to students relating to disability issues.

19. Provides counseling/advisement to enhance student development (e.g., self-advocacy).

20. Assists students in self-monitoring the effectiveness of accommodations.

3. Consultation/Collaboration

Working with campus or community personnel and agencies regarding students with disabilities or disability issues.

1. Consults with state, provincial, or community resources (e.g., rehabilitation services).

2.  Collaborates with human resources and facilities to ensure modifications to campus facilities.

3. Maintains up-to-date knowledge of adaptive technology.

4.  Collaborates with campus architects to review or plan new construction and renovations.

5. Conducts campus-wide disability awareness activities (e.g., disability awareness day).

6.  Communicates program activities to campus community (e.g., via campus newspapers).

7.  Conducts outreach activities for high school students (e.g., college fairs, transition workshops).

8.  Consults with campus personnel regarding job accommodations for faculty and campus staff with disabilities.

4. Institutional Awareness

Providing training and expertise regarding disability issues to members of the campus community.

1.  Serves on campus committees to develop institutional policies and procedures regarding students with disabilities.

2. Provides training for faculty regarding awareness of disabilities.

3.  Serves on campus committees addressing regulatory issues affecting students with disabilities.

4. Provides training for campus staff regarding awareness of disabilities.

5.  Responsible for organizing training for campus personnel regarding the legal requirements of serving students with disabilities.

6. Provides training for faculty regarding accommodations and auxiliary aides.

7. Provides training for institutional administration regarding awareness of disabilities.

5. Professional Development

Maintaining up-to-date professional knowledge and skill.

1. Attends conferences and professional development workshops.

2.  Reads professional literature related to postsecondary education and students with disabilities.

3. Holds membership in professional organizations.

Items in this document are a compilation of research and information gathered on policies and procedures used and established by the following institutions and others in higher education in accordance to Federal laws regarding disabilities and access across the United States.


Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD).Retrieved September 30, 2013 from:

Texas A&M University, Retrieved October 5, 2013 from:

United States Department of Education. The Federal Role in Education. Retrieved October 5, 2013 from:

United States Department of Education. Frequently asked questions about section 504 and the education of children with disabilities. Protecting Students with Disabilities. Retrieved October 29, 2013 from: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html

University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved October 5, 2013 from: