Faculty Accommodating Students with Disabilities Questions

Do students with disabilities go through the same admission process as the general student body?

Yes, With the exception of the STEPP program, students with disabilities must meet the admission standards of both UNC General Administration and East Carolina University.

How are students made aware of the Department for Disability Support Services (DSS)?

Students are provided information regarding our services in admission and orientation materials. Additionally we ask all faculty to include the following statement on their syllabi:

“East Carolina University seeks to comply fully with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with verifiable disabilities. In order to take advantage of available accommodations, students must be registered with the Department for Disability Support Services located in Suite 109 Mendenhall, 252-737-1016. Accommodation Information & Processes

If a student simply states they need an accommodation, am I required to provide it?

No, students requesting academic accommodations and adjustments must be registered with and approved for accommodations by DSS. A student requesting an accommodation in your class must give you a “Faculty Notification Letter” from DSS. We encourage students to present their letters to you early in the semester but they may request accommodations at any time during the course.

While handing out a test, a student gave me their letter and stated they need additional time and a separate setting in order to be accommodated, what should I do.

Students registered with DSS have all had an intake orientation and know the procedure for requesting testing accommodations. In this situation, our expectation is that the student will take the test in the classroom. In the event of a situation where the student, due to a physical or sensory impairment, can’t take the test with the class, you may choose to send the test and the student with a signed sealed envelope to DSS.

The faculty notification letter has an accommodation listed that I believe fundamentally alters the nature of my course, what should I do?


A student presented a Faculty Accommodation letter the first week of school, shortly thereafter; the student began causing disruption in the classroom in the form of interrupting the lecture with inappropriate questions and comments. Could this be related to the disability?

Yes, there are some conditions such as Asperger’s (high functioning Autism), Tourette’s and some psychiatric diagnosis that may result in atypical behavior in the classroom. While the impairment may help us to understand why the behavior is occurring, we are not required to tolerate the disruption under the ADA. If you are experiencing difficulty with a student, please contact either the ADA Coordinator or the Director of Student Services immediately.

What if a student misses more classes than permitted because of their disability?

Please include a clear policy on attendance and its role in your grading scheme, if any. This is helpful for all students to know and understand at the beginning of the semester. If a student misses class due to his/her disability and it is beyond the number of absences allowed, (as clearly outlined in the syllabus) then it is recommended that there be a discussion between the faculty member, the student and DSS. Generally, if a student with a disability has missed more than three classes it is advised that a meeting like this take place as soon as possible. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) suggests considering the following questions when determining whether or not attendance is essential for a course:

  1. Are there classroom interactions between the instructor and the students and among students?
  2. Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  3. Does the functional nature of the course rely on student participation as an essential method for learning?
  4. To what degree does a student’s failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of the other students in the course?
  5. What do the course descriptions and syllabus say about attendance?
  6. What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?

If the answers to the questions above are such that additional absences do not threaten the integrity or essential requirements of the course, please do not penalize the student for additional absences. However, if additional absences become excessive then the faculty member, DSS and the student will review options for continuing in the class.

What is the responsibility of faculty/staff if a student requests exam accommodations?

It is the students responsibility to notify DSS of an upcoming test or exam. The Testing Coordinator will email you with a request for a copy of the exam and any specific instructions regarding the administration of the test. Disability Support Services has developed a systematic and secure procedure for receiving exams from faculty and returning them once the student has taken the exam. There is a check in procedure for exams, and no student is allowed to bring backpacks or cell phones into the exam room. Additionally, the testing coordinator checks to make sure students only have materials in the exam room that were approved by their professors. As students are taking the exams, they are monitored. Any inappropriate behaviors are reported back to the instructor.

Is disability information confidential?

Yes. Disability information is confidential and should never be discussed or referred to in front of classmates or other individuals. When disclosing their disabilities, students expect that confidentiality will be maintained. Any information regarding the disability will be housed in a client file in the Disability Support Services office. Disability Support Services cannot provide documentation to anyone. If you have a concern about an accommodation please call Disability Support Services and ask to speak to a DSS staff member.