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Fall 2020

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Student Accessibility Services

Fall 2020 Accommodations for Hybrid and Remote Instruction

All MassArt students, including incoming first year, transfer and graduate students, who require accommodations should contact Student Accessibility Services within the Academic Resource Center as soon as possible, if they have not already done so, so accommodations can be put in place for Fall 2020. This includes students who have disabilities, including students who may have certain medical conditions which necessitate that they complete their coursework remotely rather than coming to campus for hybrid instruction.  All accommodation requests should be directed to Student Accessibility Services and not to faculty, department chairs, and/or Academic Affairs.

The process for requesting accommodations is outlined in the Student Accessibility Services webpage. In brief, students should complete and submit an Accommodations Request form and supporting documentation for review by Student Accessibility Services staff who will dialogue with students regarding their requests in light of the specifics of their academic program.  For example, if a student is requesting that they be allowed to take their hybrid course remotely due to a medical condition which prevents them from coming to campus, documentation of the medical condition will be reviewed along with the requirements of their academic program and a determination will be made whether the accommodation is reasonable and specifically that it will not fundamentally alter the program or cause an undue burden. If an accommodation is granted, the student will be informed and provided with the details of how they will complete all aspects of the courses remotely including the requirements and expectations. The student’s faculty members will also be informed of the approved accommodations.  If an accommodation is denied, the student will be notified of that decision and their options, including appeal rights.

Students who do not qualify for disability accommodations through Student Accessibility Services who are seeking changes to their hybrid or remote courses for any reason should work with their advisors and be mindful of the add/drop periods.

Students who require additional information or have questions regarding accommodations for the Fall 2020 semester, should contact Jessie Neikrie, Accessibility Advisor, at mneikrie@massart.edu and 617.879.7002, or Elizabeth Smith-Freedman, Associate Dean, at esmith-freedman@massart.edu and 617.879.7278.

MassArt offers equal opportunities to all qualified students, including those with disabilities. By federal law, a person with a disability is any person who:

  1. has a physical or mental impairment;
  2. has a record of such impairment; or
  3. is regarded as having such an impairment,

which substantially limits one or more major life activity such as self-care, walking, hearing, speaking, breathing, or learning.

Student Accessibility Services within the Academic Resource Center (ARC) provides support to students with learning and psychiatric disabilities, neurodiverse students, as well as students with visual, mobility and hearing impairments.

Academic Accommodations
Accommodations are academic adjustments designed to provide students with disabilities equal access and equal opportunity to participate in programs, courses, services, and activities. Appropriate accommodations allow students to be evaluated based on their true abilities and are designed to “level the playing field” for students with disabilities. All students must learn the same material and are graded according to the same standards. Likewise, all students must comply with the behavioral standards set forth in the Code of Conduct. Colleges are not required to reduce or adjust the essential requirements of a course or program, conduct testing of learning disabilities, prepare or adhere to IEPs (Individual Education Plans), or to provide personal attendants or tutors. Requests for accommodations are evaluated based on documentation supplied by students and in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and subsequent Amendment Act (ADAAA). 

Student Responsibility 
At the college level, students are responsible for the success of their academic experience. This includes setting up accommodations. Students seeking accommodations must do the following:

  • Self-identify to Student Accessibility Services prior to the start of the semester. 
  • Submit requests in an appropriately timely manner
  • Provide documentation – with current functional limitations and recommendations for academic support – by a qualified practitioner. 
  • Set an appointment to meet with Accessibility Advisor or Associate Dean, within the first few weeks of the semester to create letters of accommodation for instructors.
  • Set up a meeting with each instructor to review the letter of accommodation, have the faculty member sign a copy, and return it to ARC.
  • Assume responsibility for testing procedures and notifying faculty
  • Self-advocate and seek help regarding their academics, including meeting with faculty and advisors and utilizing resources such as tutors and success coaches in the ARC
  • Follow the attendance policy outlined in each professor’s syllabus 
  • Meet MassArt’s graduation requirements 

    • A student can begin the process by completing and submitting a Request for Accommodations Form included in this packet. Incoming students must submit their request and accompanying documentation by May 1st for housing accommodations and July 1st for academic accommodations for the fall semester. Students entering MassArt in the spring semester should submit their requests by December 1st and January 10th, respectively. Current students requesting housing accommodations should follow the timeline set forth in the information regarding the housing lottery process.

      Documentation Guidelines
      To identify the type of information and documentation necessary to the process for determining reasonable and appropriate accommodations, please refer to the following guidelines:

      • • Students must submit any prior assessment and/or evaluative report conducted by educational evaluators, medical professionals, mental health providers, etc. to establish the existence of a disability.
      • • Documentation must be current and relevant to the requested accommodation. Adult measures are preferred.
      • • An Individual Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan may not provide sufficient information determine accommodations, but should be submitted if other information is not available.
      • • Professionals conducting assessments, rendering diagnoses, and making recommendations for appropriate accommodations must be qualified to do so. Information from these sources must be made on professional letterhead, dated, and signed.
      • • Prescriptions for medication is not appropriate documentation.
      • • Diagnostic providers should include information regarding the existing condition(s), presenting concerns, history of prior accommodations, current treatments, recommendation for accommodations in the post-secondary environment.
      • • Student Accessibility Services may request additional documentation if information provided is insufficient.
      • • Documentation should be scanned and emailed to mjneikrie@massart.edu either using a scanner or see these instructions for scanning documents with your phone.

      Timeline
      Some classroom accommodations need additional time to be prepared including, but not limited to, adaptive technology, physically accessible classrooms, interpreters, note takers and texts in alternative format. Students are encouraged to make these requests at the end of the prior semester to ensure staff are able to provide the requested accommodation at the beginning of the new semester. Current students requesting housing accommodations should refer to the deadlines in the housing contract.

      Accommodations in Housing and Residence Life

      Policy
      Student Accessibility Services works closely with the Office of Housing and Residence Life to provide housing accommodations to qualified students with disabilities. As in the classroom, reasonable accommodations within housing (including, but not limited to, accessible rooms, specific buildings or floors, single rooms, access to kitchens, service and emotional support animals) depend upon the nature and degree of severity of the documented disability. While the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires that priority be given to the specific methods requested by the student, it does not imply that a particular accommodation must be granted if it is deemed not reasonable and other suitable modifications are available. Please be advised that single rooms as an accommodation are reserved for individuals who document substantial needs and for whom living with a roommate is not a viable option.

      Procedure
      Students requesting housing accommodations should note the request on the Housing Application Form and comply with all housing deadlines. Students must also provide appropriate documentation from a medical or mental health provider to Student Accessibility Services by May 1 for students entering in the fall and December 1 for students entering in the spring semester. The provided documentation must establish the need for an accommodation and relates the current impact of the condition to the requested accommodation. Guidelines for documentation listed above.

      Staff from Housing and Residence Life and Student Accessibility Services will review requests and meet with students to discuss the needs and options for accommodation; however, all requests, even with appropriate documentation, are not guaranteed. Students will be informed of the decision within 2 weeks of the meeting. Students requesting Services or Emotional Support Animals must follow the policies and procedures outlined in these guidelines.

      All students residing on campus are required to purchase a meal plan. Students with allergies and dietary restrictions are encouraged to work with Student Accessibility Services and Chartwell’s to ensure that Chartwell’s staff are aware of the student’s needs and will prepare food accordingly. Students are encouraged to review our meal service provider's dietary needs guide to learn more about accessing meals in the dining halls.


    • Students must schedule a meeting with Student Accessibility Services and engage in a dialogue regarding their disability, functional limitations, and appropriate accommodations. Meetings can be scheduled with:

      Jessie Neikrie
      Accessibility Advisor
      Academic Resource Center & Student Accessibility Services
      mjneikrie@massart.edu • 617.879.7002

      OR

      Elizabeth Smith-Freedman
      Associate Dean
      Academic Resource Center & Student Accessibility Services
      esmith-freedman@massart.edu • 617.879.7278

      We encourage students to schedule meetings during the first weeks of each semester. Accommodations are not retroactive. Students may not take "make up exams" or request to redo projects with accommodations if they originally took place before the faculty were notified.


    • Once the student has met with Student Accessibility Services, a staff member will create an email outlining the approved accommodations for that class or studio. This email will be sent to the student, who will give it to their faculty digitally and set up meetings with faculty to review the accommodations and discuss the manner in which they will be implemented. Once this discussion has occurred, faculty should let the ARC know when they have received the information.

      Self Advocating
      Once the student has met with Student Accessibility Services, a staff member will create an email outlining the approved accommodations for that class or studio. This email will be sent to the student, who will give it to their faculty digitally and set up meetings with faculty to review the accommodations and discuss the manner in which they will be implemented. Once this discussion has occurred, faculty should let the ARC know when they have received the information.

      As a part self-advocation, students should anticipate challenges and work with faculty on a resolution. For example, if an exam is scheduled and the student qualifies for extended time, they should reach out to the instructor a week prior to the test to ensure plans are in place for the accommodation.

      Student Accessibility Services is available to support students as they navigate advocating for themselves or if they feel an accommodation has not been properly provided.


    • Appeal Process
      Reasonable accommodations depend upon the nature and degree of severity of the documented disability. While the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires that priority be given to the specific methods requested by the student, it does not imply that a particular accommodation must be granted if it is deemed unreasonable and other suitable modifications are available.

      If a student believes they have had a necessary accommodation denied or unsuitably modified, they have the right to seek an appeal. MassArt has established informal and formal appeal procedures to resolve differences between students and Accessibility Services regarding accommodations. The student has the right to seek a review if such a difference arises. The student has the option of pursuing either an informal or formal grievance. Though not required, students are asked to speak about their concerns first with the Associate Dean, Elizabeth Smith-Freedman, to achieve a satisfactory resolution. If a student opts to pursue an informal complaint, he or she may later pursue a formal grievance if not satisfied with the resolution of the informal process.

      Formal Appeals can be made by contacting Dr. Jamie Glanton Costello, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students, who will carry out an investigation of the complaint within a reasonable amount of time.